Lesson 4: Data Collection Instruments (3)

Lesson 4: Instruments That Measure Seafloor Changes (3)
Building a Seismometer and Investigating Bottom Pressure Tilt Instruments


Build a Seismometer Model

Scientists from the University of Washington and the Regional Cabled Array  have installed an array of seismometers on the Cascadia Margin, abyssal plain at the base of the margin, and at Axial Seamount. The instruments provide data in real time, at the speed of light, to the science community, which allows them to investigate deformation at the plate boundaries, and how, when, and where earthquakes occur. It also provides new insights into magma movement within Axial Seamount and volcanic eruption processes, as well as the impacts that earthquakes have on fluid flow, chemistry, and life on the seafloor.

Today, you will build a model of a seismometer to help you understand how these instruments work.

Use the directions found at: Model Seismograph

Check for Understanding (formative assessment)

Use the Exit Slip  for Bottom Pressure and Tilt Model with these questions:

  • Which components of your model are similar to those found on the seismometers used on the Regional Cabled Array?
  • Which components of your model are different to those found on the seismometers used on the Regional Cabled Array?
  • What scientific principle explains how your seismograph works?

Explain: Axial Eruption and Forecasting

Analyze the bottom pressure and tilt data from the OOI Data Portal (Axial Eruption and Forecasting – Bottom Pressure) from August, 2015. Using the Claim-Evidence-Reasoning format, write an argument that answers this question: Is there a correlation between earthquakes and volcanic eruptions at Axial Seamount?


Build a model for another Regional Cabled Array instrument or design a new instrument.


Students should answer the questions below found on the exit slip at:

Exit Slip for Instruments that Measure Sea Floor Changes

Why is it important for scientists to collect data on sea floor changes?

What do engineers have to consider when designing instruments for Regional Cabled Array?



Location of Regional Cabled Array and Seismometers
Location of Seismometers at the Summit of Axial Seamount
Model Seismograph
Axial Eruption and Forcasting - Bottom Pressure
Exit Slip For Instruments That Measure Seafloor Change