Listen to Earthquakes

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Detailed Description

Seismometers record vibrations from a wide assortment of ground motion events. Each event type has a distinctive ground-motion signal with unique frequency and amplitude—its own seismic signature. Seismologists are trained to identify the source of seismic events seen on a webicorder based on its ‘seismic signature’. Although most ground vibrations have a frequency too low for human hearing, we can speed up the signal and make it audible. Listen to the sound of an earthquake and match it with the event that created it using the spectrogram/seismogram to help. Is the sound from:

  • The 2001 Nisqually earthquake recorded in Sequim, Washington?
  • A rock avalanche at Mount Rainier?
  • Lava spine extrusion at Mount St. Helens?
  • An eruption, gliding tremor and explosion at Mount Redoubt, Alaska?
     

Details

Date Taken:

Length: 00:03:16

Location Taken: Vacouver, WA, US

Video Credits: Sound files by Kate Allstadt and Alicia Hotovec

Transcript

Listen to Earthquakes

Seismometers record vibrations from a wide assortment of ground motion events.  A helicopter landing near station.  People walking near station.

Each event type has a distinctive ground-motion signal with unique frequency and amplitude—its own seismic signature.  Continuous tremor:  continuous movement of fluids or gases.  Short-period earthquake: slip on a fault or rock breakage.

Seismologists are trained to identify the source of seismic events seen on a webicorder based on its ‘seismic signature’.

VALT EHZ CC [webicorder] shows helicopter, earthquakes, wind.

Although most ground vibrations have a frequency too low for human hearing, we can speed up the signal and make it audible.

Listen to the sound of an earthquake and match it with the event that created it using the spectrogram/seismogram to help.

Ready?

Again?

Which one is it?

Nisqually Earthquake: 2001 Nisqually earthquake recorded in Sequim, WA

Mount Rainier Rockfall: June 2011 rock avalanche at Mount Rainier

Mount St. Helens Drumbeats: October 16, 2004 drumbeats from lava spine extrusion

Mount Redoubt Scream: 2009 Redoubt eruption, gliding tremor and explosion

Too easy!

Good job!

For more information: 

USGS Volcano Hazards Program volcanoes.usgs.gov/vhp/earthquakes.html

USGS Earthquake Hazards Program earthquake.usgs.gov/

Pacific Northwest Seismic Network www.pnsn.org/

Sound files by Kate Allstadt and Alicia Hotovec

Sound file of Redoubt from Kilb, D., Peng, Z., Simpson, D., Michael, A., Fisher, M., Rohrlick, D., 2012, Listen, Watch, Learn: SeisSound Video Products: Seismological Research Letters

Music Inspiring Corporate by Scott Holmes (freemusicarchive.org)

Video by Liz Westby

2017