How to Build an Easy Seismometer

Below is an instruction of how to build an easy seismometer. There is a difference between a seismograph and a seismometer. Below is how to build an easy homebuilt seismometer, not seismograph. Building a seismometer can also be a fun and educational game. Although you can build your own seismometer, you may want to ask an adult or a friend to help you with building one.

What can a homebuilt seismometer do?

A homebuilt seismometer can help measure the motions of an earthquake. To actually measure the motions of an earthquake, you need three seismometers. Two of the three seismometers are of the same type. You will need: 

  1. two seismometers that measure the horizontal motions both front and back and left and right.
  2. a seismometer to measure the vertical or up and down motions of the earth’s surface.
Instructions of how to build an easy seismometer
How to make an easy seismometer

To build an easy, homemade seismometer, you will need: 

  • two large cereal boxes
  • two sheets of cardboard about the size of the cereal box
  • two plastic cups with covers
  • two pencils
  • a pair of scissors
  • two strips of paper about 50mm (2 inches) wide by 600mm (2 ft) long
  • a piece of string
  • a few rubber bands
  • two small sticks (match sticks)
  • some sand

To build an easy seismometer that measures the horizontal motions of the earths surface: 

  1. cut a large rectangle out of both large sides of a cereal box, leaving 25mm (1 inch) wide edges
  2. cut in the middle of the bottom edges to narrow horizontal slots a little more than 50mm (2 inches) wide.
  3. slide one of the paper strips through the cereal box.
  4. pierce a hole at the center of the top cover and another one at the bottom of a cup

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