Virtual Earthquake

Standard Assignment

In this assignment, you will be visiting an interactive Internet web site to examine seismograms of an earthquake of your choosing. Using the tools provided at the web site, you will;

  1. Estimate the distance to the earthquake from three locations.
  2. Use these three distances to find the epicenter of the earthquake.
  3. Use the distances and amplitude readings from the seismograms to estimate the Richter Scale reading for the earthquake.
  4. When you have successfully completed the task, you may fill out a form on the web site and print (or e-mail) the certificate declaring you a virtual seismologist and turn in this certificate to the instructor.

Don't Panic ! It's exactly what we have been doing in class. Everything you need is on the web site. The web site guides you step by step. You can always use your web browser to go back one or several steps.

The web site Address is

You can access this site from any computer with Internet connection such as the ones in the A-wing PC lab, the OHHS library, or from your home if you have Internet access. Type the address carefully, pay attention to which letters are capitalized.

On each page to submit your answers or move on to the next page, go to the bottom of the page and click the garish green and red icon.


Remember you will turn in (or e-mail) a print out of your virtual seismologist certificate.

Enhanced Assignment - for the brave

Our Class Activity Code=2188989

  1. Access the Virtual Earthquake java applet external arrow
  2. You may have to click yes to numerous Java applet security warnings from your browser.
  3. Under the tutorial section:
    1. Do the SP lag time tutorial for both the one and two-station examples
    2. Do Latitude/longitude
  4. Under the Main Activities section
    1. Step through the Demonstration: both the Time Travel and Epi & Mag sections.
    2. Step through the Time Travel demo
      1. Drag stations to the map and trigger the explosion
      2. Use the S-P tool to measure the S-P lag time
      3. use the Distance tool to measure the distance to the explosion
      4. Plot the points on the graph
      5. Drag a line and move it on the graph to get the smallest error sum.
      6. Use Travel Time tool to answer the questions.
    3. Step through the Epi & Mag
      1. Drag three stations to map
      2. Find the S-P lag time for each station
      3. Use the travel time curve to find the distance
      4. Use the graphing tool to find the epicenter
      5. Call up the grid to estimate the latitude and longitude
      6. Print out your certificatecertificate