An Inexpensive Vertical Seismometer

(for Classroom Demonstrations )


Developed for the Mid America Earthquake Center Teachers' Workshop

at Georgia Tech, June 22-25, 1998




The Teachers Workshops at Georgia Tech were designed to help grade 7-12 teachers use earthquakes and seismometers to enhance the teaching of Earth Science, Computers, and Physics. An integral part of the teaching exercises is dedicated to the use and understanding of the earthquake seismometer. Building a model seismometer turned out to be both an interesting activity and an instructional tool. Construction of similar seismometers by students has also been a common science fair project for talented high school students. Our PEPP sponsored workshop in June 1996 and our Eisenhower grant sponsored workshop in June 1997 constructed the traditional swinging door seismometer. Our Mid America Earthquake Center sponsored workshop in June 1998 constructed a vertical component demonstration seismometer. This document describes the theory and construction of the vertical instrument. Our teachers each received a kit as described in this document. Sufficient detail is given for similar systems to be fabricated by teachers or students.

Picture of Long Period Vertical.



Chapter 1, Theory of Operation

Chapter 2, A Low Cost Model

Chapter 3, Step by Step Construction

Chapter 4, Parts List

Chapter 5, Example Experiments




Traditional Horizontal Component Seismometer