iOS and OS X Apps for Exploring Earthquake Activity
Monday, 14 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
The U.S. Geological Survey and many other agencies rapidly provide information following earthquakes. This timely information garners great public interest and provides a rich opportunity to engage students in discussion and analysis of earthquakes and tectonics. In this presentation I will describe a suite of iOS and Mac OS X apps that I use for teaching and that Penn State employs in outreach efforts in a small museum run by the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. The iOS apps include a simple, global overview of earthquake activity, epicentral, designed for a quick review or event lookup. A more full-featured iPad app, epicentral-plus, includes a simple global overview along with views that allow a more detailed exploration of geographic regions of interest. In addition, epicentral-plus allows the user to monitor ground motions using seismic channel lists compatible with the IRIS web services. Some limited seismogram processing features are included to allow focus on appropriate signal bandwidths. A companion web site, which includes background material on earthquakes, and a blog that includes sample images and channel lists appropriate for monitoring earthquakes in regions of recent earthquake activity can be accessed through the a third panel in the app. I use epicentral-plus at the beginning of each earthquake seismology class to review recent earthquake activity and to stimulate students to formulate and to ask questions that lead to discussions of earthquake and tectonic processes. Less interactive OS X versions of the apps are used to display a global map of earthquake activity and seismograms in near real time in a small museum on the ground floor of the building hosting Penn State’s Geoscience Department.