TEACHING MOMENT #2 : Where Did All the Cowboys, Err, Earthquakes, Go??

How many strong earthquakes (M>6.0) will we **NOT** record today??  Assume that approximately 1000+ earthquakes with a magnitude M>5.0 occur per year.

This week Station E1TX, operated by Texas Educational Seismic Project (TXESP), did **not** record teleseismic waves from several strong global earthquakes.  For example, E1TX didn’t record the M6.0 Philippine earthquake at 03:06hrs UTC on March 8th, nor did E1TX record two more strong M>6.0 earthquakes in Fiji and Papua New Guinea today, March 10, 2019.  Why might that be?

Shown below are two screen captures – March 8 and 10th – and it is marked with black arrows of when these three earthquakes occurred.  Note that none of the global earthquakes were recorded.  The “missing” earthquake seismograms are not actually “missing”, they simply not recorded at our location. No observations actually bring quite a bit of information to us regarding our instruments’ sensitivities, Earth’s heterogeneities, and re-affirm / challenge theories relative to wave theory.

SOOOO, where have all the “cowboys”, er, earthquakes, gone?? 🙂


March 8, 2019 at 03:06hrs UTC
March 10, 2019 at 08:12 and 12:48 hrs UTC.
USGS March 8, 2019 earthquake catalog
USGS March 10, 2019 earthquake catalog



Remote Learning & Sharing – Missouri

TXESP had the grand opportunity to spend time with #WillardIntermediateSchool students in Willard, MO a few weeks ago.  We spent time asking questions and sharing information about what type of science a Geophysicist does in the “real world”.  This program, #SkypeWithAScientist, is just one element of TXESP’s program to reach beyond our local community and help rural communities with limited opportunities to reach STEM Professionals.  It is a humbling and intriguing experience – we very much enjoyed our time with Ms. Rasco’s classes ().



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This Will Blow Your Mind…Coming Soon

Last week I completed my first round of “Ready To Learn” training with Twin Cities Public Television (TPT).  Along with the other participants, we were honored to be selected as the pilot group of Trainers for TPT’s new science education project – Hero Elementary!  Hero Elementary is an expansive educational media initiative focused on improving school readiness in science and literacy for children grades K-2 nationwide, with an emphasis on Latino communities, English Language Learners, youth with disabilities, and children from low-income households.  Hero Elementary’s transmedia universe integrates science and literacy to ignite children’s natural curiosity and broaden their understanding of how the world works and empower them to make a positive difference in their communities. All materials are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards.

Kids are going to really embrace this new structure of science digital learning, and I am very proud to be part of that team!  It will be released soon… 2020 is the set launch date – and you are going to be amazed and intrigued!

Would you like to partner with TPT and be the first to implement Hero Elementary at your informal educational organization/program??  Learn more HERE >> https://www.tpt.org/hero-elementary/

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Electrified! Expanding Your Horizons…


Your feet shuffle, shuffle across the floor and then you reach out to turn the light on – ZAP! Static electricity just zapped you!  A basic physics concept, learning about static electricity is really electrifying! ha! TXESP spent last weekend exploring this part of physics with 6, 7, 8th grade girls at Expanding Your Horizons – Houston.  Students spent the day rotating through different STEM hands-on activities with STEM Professionals and volunteers.  In our classroom, we gathered “extra” electrons using a balloon and rubbing our hair – we then (1) made water BEND and WIGGLE while dripping from the sink; (2) attract glitter onto the balloon and make patterns; and lastly (3) we made cheerios dance!  What a great time – we are eager for the EYH’s event 2020 🙂

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We can “see” you…

Did you realize that seismographs are used as “sleuthing” tools too?  Mostly used to monitor nuclear explosions and arms testing, remember that seismographs are actually a simple tool – they measure ground motion.  Nothing too fancy with that concept, but the measurements themselves can lead to fantastic interpretations of why the ground moved. Today’s example demonstrates how I monitor my husband’s physical activity goals, specifically running for a set amount of time each day.  The challenge, for me, is that he wakes up VERY early and runs on the treadmill; I sleep at least two hours later and choose not to wake up and “check” on his diligence.  But that’s ok because my competent and consistent Raspberry Shake seismograph is so sensitive to ground motion, it can actually detect and record! those minutes my husband spends on the treadmill.  See the attached figure – it’s much easier to see the beginning of his run on the spectrogram than the wave extraction….do you see the continuous and parallel lines from ~11:00 hrs to 11:35 hrs?  He ran about half an hour.  And, I didn’t have to leave the warm, cozy bed to keep him in check with his own goals!

What do you think the short bursts of bright amplitudes at ~11:08 and 11:30 hours represent?





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‘SO SWEET’ Shout Outs Requested!

As St. Valentines Day approaches, TXESP remembers all of the kindness, support, and accolades from our clients and donors.  WHO DO YOU APPRECIATE?  SHARE YOUR STORY OR THEIR NAME WITH US!!

THANK YOU to all the organizations who work over-time to promote STEM and it’s cross disciplines!  THANK YOU to our donors who elevate our inspiration to move forward! THANK YOU to our partners who deliver excellence to **all** students they can reach!  And, THANK YOU to Boston College’s Educational Seismology Project who leads by a phenomenal example of service!

Your generous financial support facilitates our #scienceeducational programs and ongoing solid earth geophysics >>> CLICK HERE!






COMPARING TECHNOLOGY: Recordings from an EQ1 and Raspberry Shake Seismographs (JUST RECORDED)

COMPARING TECHNOLOGY:  Recorded in the past hour, shown are two Indonesian earthquakes recorded on an EQ1 and Raspberry Shake seismographs. Both earthquakes had a magnitude M5.9 and occurred with 2 minutes of each other today, 02/02/2019, at 10:59 and 11:01hrs UTC and had depths of 10kms. The images compare two different seismographs – the #EQ1 and the #RaspberryShake.  On both seismograms we easily observe the first arrival (body) waves denoted by the yellow arrows.

A very fascinating wave phase, the PKP wave, was detected at our location in Spring, TX more than 148 polar degrees away.  This wave is unique because it is a wave which has propagated from the epicenter, through the mantle and outer core, and continued travelling back through the mantle towards Texas.  Can you see it? Can you see it on both seismograms?

Overall, a relatively good correlation between both the EQ1 and RS seismographs.  NOTE: the RS seismograph also detected the secondary (body) waves, the “S” waves.  This is not shown, due to scaling issues, on this slide.

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