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Earthquakes
What "Seis" Shake?



What "Seis" Shake?
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.9

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    earthquake-prone, epicenter, seises, seismic, seismo, seismogram, seismograph, seismologists, seismology, transverse, origin, estimate, intensity, outer, material, displace


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What "Seis" Shake?
By Trista L. Pollard
  

1     Keeping track of the earth as it rotates, revolves, shakes, erupts, and erodes is a tough job. So when there is rumbling and rolling below the earth's surface, you don't just call any earth scientist. You need the experts. This is when a voice must call out, "Is there a seismologist near the plates?"
 
2     First of all, seismology is the study of earthquakes and their causes. Seismologists are responsible for monitoring earthquakes and other seismic activity. In case you are curious, seismo is the Greek word for earthquakes. Now keep in mind, seismologists may not be near the actual plates when they monitor seismic activity. However, they have the tools to help them locate earthquakes and fault zones. They also have the data from these tools or instruments to build models of fault zones to predict where and when future quakes will occur.
 
3     These scientists use seismographs, which are instruments that record and measure seismic waves and vibrations. When these waves travel through the earth or along the earth's surface, the seismograph records a "zigzag" line called a seismogram. The lines on the seismogram show the changing intensity (power) of the vibrations as the ground surface is moving beneath the seismograph. Seismologists use the measurements to determine the time, the epicenter, the focus, and type of fault where the earthquake is occurring. Scientists can also estimate the amount of energy being released by the earthquake and the speed of the seismic waves. Let's roll away from the "seises" for a moment and get more acquainted with the waves.

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