Find a
Select grade level(s) Select resource type(s) Select collection(s) Select standard(s) Skip navigation Digital Library for Earth System Education
Digital Library for Earth System Education
Search tips
Virtual Courseware: Earthquake DLESE Reviewed Collection
Virtual Earthquake is an interactive web-based program designed to introduce the concepts of how an earthquake epicenter is located and how the Richter magnitude of an earthquake is determined. Virtual Earthquake shows the recordings of an earthquake's seismic waves detected by instruments far away from the earthquake. The instrument recording the seismic waves is called a seismograph and the recording is a seismogram. The point of origin of an earthquake is called its focus and the point on the earth's surface directly above the focus is the epicenter. You are to locate the epicenter of an earthquake by making simple measurements on three seismograms that are generated by the Virtual Earthquake program. Additionally, you will be required to determine the Richter Magnitude of that quake from the same recordings. Richter Magnitude is an estimate of the amount of energy released during an earthquake.
Intended for grade levels:
  • High (9-12)
  • College (13-14)
  • College (15-16)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Computer activity
    • Lab activity
  • Visual:
    • Visualization - scientific
  • Geological Sciences:
    • Geophysics
Technical requirements:
No specific technical requirements, just a browser required
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
Copyright 1996, 1999 Geology Labs On-Line. This work was supported in part by grants from the US National Science Foundation. All opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NSF.
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-000-050
Educational standards:
  • National Science Education Standards (NSES):
    • 9-12:
      • Unifying concepts and processes:
        • Change, constancy, and measurement
        • Evidence, models, and explanation
      • A - Science as inquiry:
        • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
        • Understandings about scientific inquiry
      • F - Science in personal / social perspectives:
        • Sci. / tech. in local, national, and global challenges
Related resources:
This resource is part of 'Virtual Courseware for Earth and Environmental Sciences'
This resource is a version of
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Author: Dr Gary A. Novak
Geology Labs On-Line

Contact: Dr David Mayo
Department of Geology
California State University

Publisher: Geology Labs On-Line