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how does a seismograph work?
- Stephanie (age 9)
Jim Thorpe, Santa Ana, CA
A seismograph is a device that detects movements in the Earth's surface, like earthquakes. The most important part of a seismograph is a pencil, loosely suspended over a roll of paper. If the ground starts shaking, the pencil will shake too. Since the pencil is being held over paper, it will make a line as it moves. So the more of a line you get, the more the pencil is moving, and the more the ground is shaking.
Another important thing in a good seismograph is its use of Mechanical Advantage
. By using the right sort of construction, a seismograph can be built that will be very
sensitive to the shaking of the ground, so that even a small shake can create a large line on the paper.
(published on 10/22/2007)
Follow-Up #1: Building a Seismograph
How do you build a seismograph at home?
- Gregory Caldwell (age 11)
Founders Memorial School, Essex, Vermont, USA
Here’s a simple diagram that I found on the net of a build-it-yourself seismograph:
You can also try looking at this Build Your Own Seismograph
link... they have some really good explanations, instructions, pictures, etc.
(republished on 07/19/06)
Follow-up on this answer.