by Dr. Wendy Bohon, IRIS
Seismometers are instruments that measure the motion of the ground and they are most commonly used to measure earthquakes. However, they can detect ground motion caused by just about anything that makes the ground, or the structure where they’re located, move and shake.
There are lots of different types of seismometers, from expensive, complex seismometers used by scientists, to seismometers that you can build yourself, to tiny, relatively inexpensive seismometers that can be set up in a home, school or office!
The neat thing about seismometers is that they detect all sorts of amazing things, from earthquakes and explosions to thunder and rain to washing machines and trains! Check out this list of “wiggles” that have been caught on seismometers around the world.
Thunder overhead recorded on @raspishake RAD67 in Cornwall at 23:08:18UTC. There is a second spike 9.5s later, which I think is an echo, probably from a valley side 1600m away. d=vxt=340x9.5=3230m. The sound travels there and back, so distance = 1615m. pic.twitter.com/dAr5L9czF0— Mark Vanstone (@wmvanstone) August 21, 2020
At 16,283 km away, almost on the other side of the world, and still picked up the M 6.0 #EasterIsland region earthquake on both seismographs in #Bangkok #Thailand #WhatsTheWigglehttps://t.co/RRWIiuLOZN@IRIS_EPO @raspishake @raspishakEQ pic.twitter.com/ykl3Slqcuv— Michael ���� (@KMIDSSeismology) October 10, 2020
M7.5 earthquake off the coast of Alaska occurred yesterday at 20:54:40 (UTC), and detected on my @raspishake. The event was detected ~7800 km's away without any filtering of the seismogram. Several M5.0+ aftershocks have also occurred since this event. #WhatsTheWiggle #earthquake pic.twitter.com/MDN5WW8ykc— Alex Rutson (@ARutson) October 20, 2020
#Earthquake M4.1 at 10km depth at SE of São Miguel Island, felt with Intensity IV in the nearest settlements I#RaspberryShake #CitizenScience @raspishake #ShakeNet @EarthSensing @IRIS_EPO #WhatsTheWiggle pic.twitter.com/lhkshkcu5P— João Fontiela (@joaofontiela) February 27, 2021
#Earthquake in Arabian Sea recorded on the #RaspberryShake #CitizenScience seismic network in #Aberdeen, UK. See what's shaking near you with the @raspishake #ShakeNet #whatsthewiggle pic.twitter.com/NYRR7W1uVK— Simon Marland (@sludgebeast) April 25, 2021
Seismometer testing results for Lego, Slinky, and RS1D in the lab conditions. The plot shows background noise variation during day and night. @raspishake @IRIS_EPO #WhatsTheWiggle! pic.twitter.com/xUyPh7YZR4— Seismology-at-school in Nepal (@AtSeismo) October 1, 2020
One of our microseismic networks has a train line snaking through it. The emergent signals with symmetrical coda are long freight trains that rumble for 2 or more minutes, whereas passenger trains speed past for only 10-20 seconds �� #WhatsTheWiggle pic.twitter.com/gcshcxSP4a— Adam Pascale (@SeisLOLogist) April 7, 2021
Nice to see I can already distinguish between a bus stopping at the busstop versus just driving by without stopping (last one) ��. #legoseismometer @IRIS_EPO @mindsets_uk #whatsthewiggle pic.twitter.com/9Q8e3sWZ2t— Ruhrpottjung⚒ (@Zersorger) April 20, 2021
Well... they are building some new houses down the street, and the neighbourhood is shaking (slightly) from the excavation and construction. You can see that the workers start at about 7:30 a.m. (14:30 UTC). They don't appear to take a lunch break...#WhatsTheWiggle@raspishake pic.twitter.com/zwdO0vLikC— John Cassidy (@earthquakeguy) October 1, 2020
What I think is a quarry blast, at 2020-10-12 13:02:02.95 UTC recorded on the @raspishake network and @BGSseismology CCA1 in Cornwall, UK. Thanks to @obspy and @matplotlib for software libraries & @uniteddownsgeo for supplying the school seismometers. #WhatsTheWiggle pic.twitter.com/h296tZq3H9— Mark Vanstone (@wmvanstone) October 15, 2020
Our washing machine spin cycle on @raspishake RAD67 in Cornwall, which convinced me to move the seismometer to the end of the garden, so not a recent capture. #WhatsTheWiggle. pic.twitter.com/eciL9QAzbw— Mark Vanstone (@wmvanstone) October 15, 2020
These seismic recordings were generously supplied by Twitter users around the world using the hashtag #WhatsTheWiggle and were detected on many different kinds of seismometers, including Raspberry Shakes, Slinky seismometers and Lego seismometers. Join the seismic revolution and build or buy a seismometer of your own!