Seismometers are instruments that measure motion of the ground caused by earthquakes and other seismic events. IUP's seismometer is part of Penn State University's PASEIS network and one of about 42 stations installed across the state to help identify the magnitude, location and timing of earthquakes in the area.
Although Pennsylvania has never been a hotspot for earthquakes, several hundreds of small events, most much too small to be felt by humans, occur each year. Many of these are related to underground mining or blasting activity, and some are associated with movement along deeper faults caused by plate tectonic movement. More recently, development of shale gas resources have raised concerns about induced seismicity cause by waste-water disposal well injections and hydraulic fracturing. All of our seismic data is sent directly to PSU and linked to a public website where it will be available for anyone to view in real-time.
The Thanksgiving Day 7.0 Earthquake off of the West coast of El Salvador was even recorded on our seismometer.
Using seismic data, researchers will be better equipped to understand Pennsylvania’s long history of low-magnitude earthquakes, monitor for man-made activities that might cause seismicity, and to provide clearer information about the geology beneath us.
A listing of all the seismic stations in the Pennsylvania State Seismic Network can be found at the PASEIS website and a recent summary of Pennsylvania seismic events can also be found mapped there.