Seismo @ school

          Being a seismologist is not just doing research, it is also sharing experience and teaching the next generation.
          As early career scientists, we are used to share ‘our science’ during open days and career days at university. Another peculiar moment for Science outreach is the National Science week, where researchers can set up experiments and exhibitions to draw the attention of the general public (both children and adults). During this week, you’d probably get the chance to see the building response to an earthquake, the ground motion recorded by a seismometer, the inner structure of the Earth…
          In addition to these actions, a seismologist can also be of help in teaching Earth Sciences and Seismology at school. That’s what we call educational seismology. We provide accessible materials (instruments, lecture notes and practical examples) to guide high school teachers during their Earth Sciences courses.



Ever heard of a LEGO seismometer?

Figure 1. BGS Lego seismometer


In the UK, the educational seismology is driven by the British Geological Survey which recently proposed to build a LEGO seismometer (figure 1).


If you’re skeptic and wondering whether this instrument could actually detect an earthquake, let’s have a look at the seismic trace (in blue) recorded at the bottom!


Figure 2. M6.9 earthquake in Japan recorded by the Lego seismometer in a school (



But what is educational seismology?


          Educational seismology aims at explaining to students of all ages how seismologists interpret a seismogram and locate an earthquake, the concept of earthquake magnitude, the seismic cycle and the seismic risk, and so on.
          Another key point of the educational seismology is to provide seismic instruments for teaching purpose [Virieux, 2000; Zollo et al. 2014]. For example, “SISMOS à l’École” in France [Courboulex et al. 2012; Berenguer et al. 2013 and 2014], which celebrated in 2016 its 20th year anniversary, managed to install 75 seismometers in several schools (figure 3). It is a good opportunity for students to see what a seismometer looks like and to observe earthquakes recorded by a seismometer. Moreover, the data recorded by the instruments are useful for the seismic community and available for research purpose on the IRIS database.


Figure 3. At the top: location of seismic instruments of SISMOS à l’École ( At the bottom: distribution of seismic stations in France. Green triangles show instruments currently active. Red triangles show inactive instruments.




Useful material for practical purpose


Figure 4. Simulation of a seismic wave generated by the mass motion on a rough surface and recorded by an accelerometer.

          In the beginning of July, Michelle Salmon from the Australian Seismometers in Schools [Balfour et al. 2014] gave a short workshop at the annual conference of the Australian Science Teacher Association (ASTA) and provided materials for high school teachers. At the end of the session, the small group of 15 teachers left with news ideas for their students and some useful materials for practical purpose (figure 4).
          Another useful tool for teaching seismology is the IRIS earthquake browser. From this interface, you can select a list of earthquakes and plot them on a map showing plate boundaries. In addition, you can produce 3D cross section for a selected region and see the distribution in depth of earthquakes located along subduction zones or mid-oceanic ridges (figure 5).

Figure 5. Location of earthquakes in Central America. Colour scale shows the depth of these events. At the bottom right, the 3D cross section associated with this region with a domain of mid-oceanic ridge in the western part and the subduction zone beneath the central/South America in the eastern part.





          Educational resources for high school teachers are available on different websites (IRIS, AuSiS, Edusismo) and free to access. If you are interested to help the community, or you have some ideas and want to teach the next generation, do not hesitate to make contact with one of the members working in the field.
Upcoming events




Balfour, N.,Salmon, M, Sambridge, M. (2014). The Australian Seismometers in Schools network: Education outreach, research and monitoring, SRL, 85, 5,1063-1068.
Berenguer, J. L. , Courboulex, F., Balestra, J., Nolet, G., Lognonne, P. (2014). Innovative Resources for seismology@school with the French educational seismological network. AGU Fall meeting abstract.
Berenguer, J. L., Courboulex, F., Tocheport, A., Bouin, M.P. (2013). Tuned in to the Earth from the school Edusismo: The French educational seismological network. Bulletin de la société géologique de France, 184,1-2,183-187.
Courboulex, F., Berenguer, J. L., Tocheport A., Bouin, M. P., Calais, E., Esnault Y., Larroque, C., Nolet, G., Virieux, J., Sismos à l’École (2012): A worldwide network of real-time seismometers in Schools, SRL, 83,5, 870-873.
Virieux, J. (2000). Educational seismological project : EDUSEIS, SRL, 71, 5, 530-535.
Zollo, A., Bobbio, A., Berenguer, J. L., Courboulex, F. Denton, P., Festa, G., Sauron, A., Solarino, S. Haslinger, F., Giardini, D. (2014) The European experience of educational seismology. Geoscience research and outreach, 145-170.




This post was written by Walid Ben Mansour, with revisions from Marina Corradini



Walid Ben Mansour is a post-doctoral research fellow at Macquarie University. He works on multi-observable probabilistic tomography for different targets (mining, seismic hazard). You can reach him at walid.benmansour[at]

4th TIDES Advanced Training School

The 4th TIDES Advanced Training School was held in Prague, Czech Republic, from 2nd to 6th July 2018. If you missed it, take a look at Michaela and Eric’s short report:


Eric Loeberich

It’s the first Sunday of July. It could have been a calm sunny noon in Vienna, but that’s not my plan for today, I’ve to catch a train in 45 minutes! I check the room, take my luggage, ready to start my journey. The next week will be pretty interesting, TIDES (Time Dependent Seismology), an action supported by the COST Association (European funded framework aiming at an enhanced transnational cooperation within the science community), organizes an advanced training school in Prague. What a great opportunity to widen my knowledge and to establish contacts with other early career scientists (ECS) and seismic experts! I’m sure to meet familiar faces… One of them is Michaela. We already attended some workshops together and since this year we are both part of the ECS-representatives team.


Michaela Wenner

After a turbulent week of fieldwork, my journey continues to Prague to attend the TIDES training school. This year’s topic is ‘near surface processes’, which perfectly fits my current research project. Near surface processes often include a lot of  fieldwork, as does my PhD, but during this week I hope to sit back and listen to the most experienced people in the community. An airport full of ryan-air tourists makes me saying goodbye to my city quite easy and I’m curious what Prague has to offer. As Eric, I am happy to see some of the people I had the pleasure to meet during my short career but haven’t seen in a while.



Sunset in Prague – © Eric Loeberich




      The kind of creepy forest – especially by night without lights – leading up to the hotel sets a beautiful scenery for the conference. Many nights of networking on the terrace lie ahead of us – after a dense scientific program, of course. Indeed, the expert talks about earthquakes, volcanoes, glaciers, landslides, reservoirs, cities and other near surface processes gave a good overview on current knowledge and advances in these fields.


      Cutting edge science – mostly by ECS – was then presented in the afternoons in short talks and posters. And after work follows the fun – at TIDES 2018 in the form of concerts, drinks and tango lessons. We have the impression that even though we heard many interesting talks and discussed our research, the training school was mostly based on networking. One attempt to include the trainees better into the discussions was conducted via a question hour after lunch. Basically groups of four trainees had to discuss the morning talks over lunch and come up with questions. This was at first met with not too much enthusiasm amongst the trainees, but turned out to be quite interesting with many answered questions.


      All in all, we had a great time in Prague and are sad to see that this was the last training school within the TIDES action. We hope that there will be similar programmes soon, that allow ECS to get a better idea of what is going on within the community and to network with potential collaborators.




This post was written by Michaela Wenner and Eric Loeberich, with revisions from Marina Corradini



Michaela Wenner is a PhD student at ETH Zurich. She works on seismic signals of mass movements, such as rockfalls, debris flows and ice avalanches. You can reach her at wenner[at]

Eric Loeberich is a PhD student at the University of Vienna. He works on seismic anisotropy in the upper mantle, as produced by lattice-preferred orientation of olivine in lithosphere and asthenosphere. You can reach him at: eric.loeberich[at]

The new ECS-reps team of the Seismology Division!

At the EGU General Assembly 2018, a new team of Seismology Early Career Scientist representatives was introduced and installed. With more than half of the EGU membership consisting of Early Career Scientists, the team represent an important part of the community and want to be approachable for all. They will be responsible for the Seismology blog, organize the yearly short course “Seismology for non-seismologists” at the General Assembly, and organize outreach and career events. Next to that, they plan to get in touch with industry (where do those seismologists end up who do not continue in academia?), and integrate the short course with similar courses organized by the Geodynamics and Tectonics division. Hopefully they will update you on this here in the next months!

You can reach the team on, and for all those who didn’t make it to the meeting (including some of the new team!) we here give a brief introduction of the new team.


Nienke Blom

Nienke is a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Cambridge and works on seismic waveform tomography, with a specific interest in developing methods to image density. She enjoys reading a good book, hiking, cycling, and cooking. As ECS rep, she will mostly be involved with the EGU blog and the EGU short course “Seismology for non-seismologists”, which she’s already helped organise for the past couple of years. Nienke is the EGU point of contact for the ECS rep team. You can reach her at nienke.blom[at]






Marina Corradini

Marina is an Italian PhD Candidate at the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris. In her work she investigates the relation between the rupture complexity and the high-frequency seismic radiation through the use of a back-projection technique. When she is not in her office, she works as a scientific divulgator at ‘Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie’ of Paris. As ECS-reps she would like to promote gender equality in geoscience and explore how the society currently supports postgraduate and postdoctoral female researchers in their career progression. You can reach her at corradini[at]






Eric Loeberich

Since 2.5 years Eric is a PhD student at the University of Vienna, working in the field of seismic anisotropy in the upper mantle, as produced by lattice-preferred orientation of olivine in lithosphere and asthenosphere and detectable by shear-wave splitting measurements. During his ECS-reps  time, Eric tries to establish relations between the Seismology Division and the industry together with Michaela, Andrea and Walid and will help Lucile taking care of the Seismology Twitter account (@EGU_Seismo). In his leisure time, Eric plays basketball and football, discovers Vienna or enjoys a coffee (or one more). You can reach him at: eric.loeberich[at]





Michaela Wenner

Michaela just recently started her PhD at ETH Zurich on seismic signals of mass movements, such as rockfalls, debris flows and ice avalanches. Whenever she is not occupied with seismology or fieldwork, she loves to meet up with friends and go to the mountains. Michaela will mostly be involved in the industry connections the ECS team wants to establish. She will also help organizing the EGU short course “seismology for non-seismologists” at the general assembly, where she already participated as a speaker this year. You can reach her at wenner[at]




Maria Tsekhmistrenko

Maria is currently a PhD student at the University of Oxford. She is focused on the seismic imaging of the western Indian Ocean. More specifically the velocity structures beneath the La Reunion Island from the surface to the core mantle boundary. Maria is also interested in data processing and visualization since she believes it makes research more accessible to a wider range of scientists as well as non-scientists. In her spare time she enjoys a good book, photography, rowing and good food. As an ECS rep she will be engaged in the EGU blog and the EGU short course “Seismology for non-seismologists”. You can reach her at mariat[at]





Walid Ben Mansour

Walid is a post-doctoral research fellow at Macquarie University and works on multi-observable probabilistic tomography for different targets (mining, seismic hazard) in the Macquarie’s Geophysics and Geodynamic group. In parallel of his work, Walid practices judo, long distance running and organises every year local events for the festival Pint of Science.  As ECS rep, he will work on the bridge between academic and industry field and also on short courses for non-seismologists with the team. You can reach him at walid.benmansour[at]






Lucile Bruhat

Lucile is currently a visiting researcher at the Earthquake Research Institute in Tokyo, Japan. Starting July 2018, she will be a post-doctoral researcher at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS) in Paris, France. Her work aims at improving the description and understanding of the physical processes that underlie the earthquake cycle, through a combination of geodetic/seismological data analysis and numerical modeling of the earthquake rupture. She is originally from Versailles, France, and after an initial training in Paris, went to Stanford University for her PhD. With Eric, she’ll be in charge of the Twitter and Facebook accounts of the Seismology Division. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, cooking, working out at the gym, and discovering new craft beers. You can reach her on Twitter at @seismolucy.




Andrea Berbellini

Andrea is an Italian Post Doc at the University College London. He works on different projects, such as a new method for source characterization from second-order moments and crustal tomography from ellipticity of Rayeligh waves. In his free time he likes to binge-watch tv series, eat too much and go to the beach (if available). You can reach him at: a.berbellini[at]

Some Seismology reminders for EGU2018 General Assembly

Some Seismology reminders for EGU2018 General Assembly

With only 2 days left for the kick off of the annual European Geosciences Union General Assembly (2018), here is a quick-list to go through in time for EGU.

First, read this page for information concerning activities for Early Career Scientists at the GA:

EGU2018 mobile app
The EGU2018 mobile app is now available. Go to to download the app. 

Short Courses
With an ever increasing number of short courses held at the GA,  probably there is one good course for you. The full list is here:

Medal Lectures
Get the opportunity to listen to world class experts in various geosciences. Medal Lectures are special sessions that give merit to distinguished scientists. They are usually followed by insightful (and thought provoking)  presentations. These lectures are well attended and seats are quickly taken. Note for seismologists: the Beno Gutenberg Medal Lecture by Haruo Sato on Thursday 12th April 19:00–20:00 / Room G1! 

Sunday 8th April: The Opening Reception, 18.30-21.00 in Foyer E.
Mingle and tingle with the crowd, old, not so old, and young scientists, all in one place. A perfect place for a cheer and networking. A gathering point for early career scientists provides the opportunity to meet like-minded fellows, especially if it is your first time at the General Assembly or you are coming alone.

A quick look on the Seismology Program:

Monday 9/04: Consider attending our yearly own Short Course: Seismology for non-seismologistsMonday 09th April, 13:30-15:00, Room -2.91. A dedicated short course directed to non-seismologists or early career seismologists, with a particular focus how to integrate seismology within your own research. Every year this short course has been a success. We likely won’t turn you into the next Charles Richter in 90 minutes, but will rather make you aware how seismological techniques can help you in geoscience.

Tuesday 10/04 – Thursday 12/04: Meet the EGU Division President and new representatives in Seismology
Get a unique opportunity to meet with P. Martin Mai, the current president for the Seismology Division, and the new ECS representative team of the Seismology Division. You are invited to stop at the EGU booth to ask EGU related questions or discuss ways you would like EGU to improve. Martin will be available on Tuesday and Thursday before lunch: 11:15-12:45 / Room EGU Booth

Wednesday 11/04Division Meeting for Seismology – 12:15
In the Division Meeting for Seismology (SM), the division president will present the latest information on the state of the division, statistics for abstracts and sessions in 2017, and the news related to the various divisional activities. All members are invited, and encouraged to actively participate in the meeting. Lunch is provided.  Wed, 11 Apr, 12:15–13:15 / Room G1

Wednesday 11/04: 20h: SEISMOLOGY SOCIAL EVENT: Meet us for an informal dinner at upstairs in the Bermuda Brau! We pre-booked 30 places for those who wish to attend. After dinner we will move downstairs in the Bermuda Brau for a joint TS – GD – SM division social drink. Interdisciplinary fun assured!

Early Career Scientists’ LoungeIn the Red Level of the conference centre you can find a place to take a break, grab a free coffee or soft drink and gather your thoughts away from the buzz of the Assembly. The lounge is also a great place to catch up with colleagues you haven’t seen in a while and perhaps strike up a new collaboration. On the notice boards you can find information about cultural activities on offer in Vienna. There is also the opportunity to provide feedback via suggestion boards.

By Koen Van Noten

Koen Van Noten is an earthquake geologist at the Geological Survey of Belgium. He investigates the influence of site effects on intraplate earthquake ground motions by Did You Feel It?” macroseismic data and near-surface geophysical techniques. Koen’s role as ECS is to encourage students to promote their results in seismology, geology and near-surface geophysics in various ways.