Finding the Epicenter of an Earthquake

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Seismogrph monitoring

ERN Item Type: 

  • Classroom Activities


American Geosciences Institute (AGI)


In this investigation, participants will understand that S and P waves are used to find the epicenter of an earthquake by using seismograph data to triangulate an epicenter. Earthquakes occur every day all over the United States and all over the world. Most of these earthquakes are small tremors that can’t be felt by people, but occasionally an earthquake occurs on a large magnitude that causes millions of dollars in property damage and kills hundreds to thousands of people. Earthquakes can also cause tsunamis, which are very large waves that can damage coastlines and put coastal residents in danger.

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