A Three-Day Seismic Experiment in an Urban Setting: An Introduction to Seismology for Minority Students

Juan M. Lorenzo, Laurie C. Anderson, Philip J. Bart, Ray E. Ferrell, Jonathan H. Tomkin

Department of Geology and Geophysics,  Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803-4101, e-mail gllore@lsu.edu

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Course Outline



DAY 1 Field Trip to the Baton Rouge Fault

Goals: to incorporate basic geological knowledge of faults through group discussion, reading maps, GPS co-ordinates and interpreting an urban landscape

 9:00 a.m. Introduction to Fault types and their association with different Plate Tectonic Margins. Case Study of a faulting continental margin: northern Gulf of Mexico Coast - Slide  PRESENTATION in ROOM E207 or equivalent.

10.00 a.m. Traverse Baton Rouge using LiDAR, USGS topographic maps and GPS instrument to locate fault-line scarp

Noon-1.00 p.m. Lunch in town adjacent to College Drive fault line scarp


Goals: By the next morning, the students will need to design a field experiment for detecting a fault. Each student group must bring a cleanly illustrated design of a 24-channel geophone detector and source array justified by ½ page of written text explanation.

Content: Principles of reflection and refraction seismic method. Students will set up a sample seismic experiment. Students will set off small seismic charges, hit aluminum striker plates with a sledge hammer, a steel I-beam, and an accelerated ram mounted on an all-terrain vehicle. Students will lay out phones on steel sleds on the southern side of Howe-Russell Building near the loading dock.

10 points Participation in discussion

DAY 2 Field Day (weather permitting)

Goals: Discussion of experiment design and Data collection (everyone) Implementation of experiment in the field

6.00 a.m. TA’s and instructor start loading vehicles. A truck will be used to tow trailer and seismic equipment. Another field vehicle will carry students.

8.00 a.m. (SHARP) Depart Howe-Russell Building

Lunch in the field

6.00 p.m. return to Howe-Russell Building

Teaching Assistants and instructor unload vehicle

10 points - Participation in discussion and data collection –

30 points - Field design


DAY 3 Seismological theory for analysis of seismic data

Goals: Associate seismic data with the geological problem by studying data collected the previous day through classical geometric techniques, internal group interpretation and intra-group presentation and analysis of results

8.30 a.m. TA’s and Instructor meet to make paper copies of previous day’s field work.

9.30 a.m. Analysis of seismic data (I) - Overview of Refraction Techniques

10.30 a.m. Exercise using seismic data collected by students (pencil, paper, and calculator LAB) Individual students turn in the results of their exercise

Noon-1.00 p.m. lunch

1.30 p.m. Analysis of seismic data (II)- Overview Reflection Techniques

2.30 p.m. Exercise of seismic data collected by students (pencil, paper, and calculator LAB) Individual students turn in the results of their exercise

3.30 p.m. Tour of Subsurface Lab and seismic software tools

4.00 p.m. Break-up into groups. Group discussion of key findings – 5 minutes each

4.30 p.m. Group presentation (5 minutes each)

10 points Exercises

20 points Group presentation

20 points Tidy, legible, notes on all the work they have done – DUE the following morning