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Nancy R. Martin
Contributed by Nancy Martin, Bloomington H.S. North
Students apply their skills in identifying patterns (shape, symmetry, etc...)
found in wave forms to determine if a seismogram represents a small earthquake
or quarry blast.
- Categorize wave forms by shape,
symmetry, duration, time of day, etc...
- Interpret seismograms to develop a strategy to identify which wave forms
represent small earthquakes vs. quarry blasts.
Bloomington Indiana is located in
limestone country and many of the small "earthquake like" wave forms registered
by our seismometer are quarry blasts. This exercise allows the student to use
and develop their skills in pattern recognition, categorization, and interpretation
to develop a strategy/hypothesis.
Materials: (for each group of two persons)
- -2 sets of seismographs of small
- -Tracing paper
- -Paper and pencil
- -2 sets of quarry blasting schedules.
- Study the first set of seismograph
records and trace the outer shape of the wave forms.
- Record the day of the week and
time of each seismograph record.
- Categorize the tracings by shape,
symmetry and time of day. Record the information in a data table.
- Repeat steps 1 thru 3 for all
of the available seismographs.
- Compare the information to the
available quarry blasting schedule.
- Separate the small earthquakes
from the quarry blasts.
- What are the differences between
the shape, symmetry and time of day for small earthquakes and quarry blasts?
- Create a strategy to identify quarry blasts from small earthquakes.
- Repeats steps 1-4 for the second
set of seismographs.
- Apply your strategy for determining
if this wave form is a quarry blast.
- Verify your results to the second
quarry blast schedule.
- Is it possible to identify the
quarry blasts without the blasting schedule?
- Describe how well your strategy worked in identifying quarry blasts.
- What are the problems encountered while developing your strategy?
- What adjustments should you make to your strategy or collection of data?
Possible Extension Activities:
- Do a collaborative evaluation
of events with another school in southern Indiana and compare seismographs
for the same events. Try to determine which quarry is the origin of the blasts
and the distance the blasts waves travel.
- Do a study over time (months) of quarry blasts wave forms. This might work
as a science fair project. Enlist the help of limestone quarries to provide
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