Earthquakes are some of the more dramatic expressions of the dynamics of our planet. The sudden release of stress built up slowly by tectonic or volcanic processes often has far-reaching consequences, and can be measured (in classrooms) around the world. This is one reason why different versions of “seismometer in schools” projects thrive around the world. Our New Zealand network is named “Ru” after the Maori God of Earthquakes and Volcanoes.
Ru uses a cheap, robust and easy-to-build seismometer — called the TC1 — to measure seismic displacements in the vertical direction. Assembling and running the system naturally introduces students to a number of concepts in physics and engineering, while we hope that upon completion seismic recordings trigger discussions about the dynamics and internal structure of the Earth.
Ludmila Adam, Daniel Hikuroa and Kasper van Wijk