IRIS is an Educational Partner on the InSight Mission, with the goal of engaging students with seismic data from Mars. Working with the IRIS Data Managment Center, IRIS Education and Public Outreach expect data from the seismometer to be available in the spring of 2019 to students and the public!  Classrooms will be able to stream Martian seismic data, allowing students to watch for marsquakes and meteorite impacts with us!  Learn more about the mission on NASA's InSight page.

On May 5, 2018, we recorded the first seismic signal from InSight!  Below is a seismogram of the Mars InSight launch recorded at two seismic stations near Vandenberg Air Force Base, displayed by jAmaSeis.

Seismic Data in the Classroom 

While we wait for seismic data, now is the time to help students learn about earthquakes and seismic data! Once they understand the basics on Earth, they are prepared to become Martian scientists!  IRIS offers lessons, software, and tutorials to help you and your students prepare for the mission!


jAmaSeis - jAmaSeis is a free, java-based program that allows users to obtain and display seismic data in real-time from either a local instrument or from remote stations.


Station Monitor - Explore earthquakes near you or from around the globe using the new IRIS Station Monitor app! Select from hundreds of seismic stations throughout the world. View up-to-the-minute recorded ground motions or see recordings from previous days and past events. Get information about recent events and choose to annotate wave arrivals.


Earthquake Machine - Students collaborate in small groups to investigate how energy is stored elastically in rocks and released suddenly as an earthquake (the earthquake cycle). This activity emphasizes the role of mechanical models in understanding and testing ideas in science.

Build a Seismometer - In small groups of 3-4 students, design and construct a seismograph using common household and craft materials provided. Students will demonstrate to the class (by shaking their table) how their seismographs record motion (and if possible, the time of the disturbances).

Teachable Moments - IRIS Teachable Moments presentations capture that unplanned opportunity to bring knowledge, insight, and critical thinking to the classroom following a newsworthy earthquake.

Seismic Slinky - Students will produce P and S waves using a Slinky© to understand how seismic waves transfer energy as they travel through solids. All types of waves transmit energy, including beach waves, sound, light, and more. The velocity difference between the faster compressive P wave and the slower shearing S wave helps seismologists locate an earthquake’s epicenter.

Seismic Waves - Seismic Waves is a browser-based tool to visualize the propagation of seismic waves from historic earthquakes through Earth’s interior and around its surface. Easy-to-use controls speed-up, slow-down, or reverse the wave propagation. By carefully examining these seismic wave fronts and their propagation, the Seismic Waves tool illustrates how earthquakes can provide evidence that allows us to infer Earth’s interior structure.

IRIS Earthquake Browser - The IRIS Earthquake Browser (IEB) is an interactive map for exploring millions of seismic event epicenters (normally earthquakes) on a map of the world. Selections of up to 5000 events can also be viewed in 3D and freely rotated with the 3D Viewer companion tool.

Animations - IRIS has over 100 animations to help teach Earth science fundamentals from plate tectonics to seismic wave propogation. Content level ranges from non-scientists to those with college-level understanding of geology. Check out a general comparison of Mars vs Earth!


Recognizing Patterns in Seismograms

Installing jAmaSeis

Locating Earthquakes