Posted August 24, 2011

Temple Ambler Campus seismometer records Aug. 23 quake

Seismometer Installed on Temple's Ambler Campus

A seismometer at Temple University's Ambler Campus approximately 20 miles north of Philadelphia was part of a network of monitoring equipment that recorded the Aug. 23 earthquake with an epicenter in Virginia.

Installed in May 2010 by the university’s Department of Earth and Environmental Science, the broadband seismometer records seismic activity along the East Coast of the United States. Resembling a miniature “R2-D2” Star Wars figure, the instrument is located in the wooded area east of Loop Road, behind the campus’s student parking area.

Jonathan Nyquist, the Weeks Chair in Environmental Geology at Temple, coordinated the installation project for the university. Following the Aug. 23 event, Nyquist discussed the quake with media outlets throughout greater Philadelphia.

"Despite what many people believe, earthquakes are common in our part of the country, but most are too small to be noticed except by people within a few miles of the epicenter," said Nyquist. "When we do get a moderately large earthquake, the older and colder crust in the eastern U.S. transmits the energy more efficiently than in the west and the earthquake is felt over an area roughly 10-times larger than if the same event took place in California."

"Temple's seismograph is part of the east coast cooperative network and contributes important data needed to help understand the mechanism of earthquakes that occur here far from tectonic boundaries."