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Roger Weller, geology instructor

by Joseph Villasenor
Physical Geology
Spring 2016



There are any different aspects that make the world of geology an interesting field of study. Whether you are pursuing an education or just looking for some good factual knowledge to show off to your friends while you’re on that big camping trip you’ve been planning for the past ten years; geology never fails to live up to the expectations. One of the great things about this particular field is that it branches of into different subsectors that could be of high use. The particular section that I will be focusing on is “Seismology”, with this very informative but laid back explanation of what it is, interesting facts, and even how to get a job as a seismologist.


What is Seismology?

To put it short, simple and sweet seismology is the study of earthquakes. However, we don’t want to say that, it sounds too boring, what we want to do is add some pizzazz to that phrase.  Go up to the woman you like and say something like “excuse me miss, but I just wanted to inform you that I am one of the very few intellectuals that can explain and identify what body waves, P waves, S waves, Surface waves, and Rayleigh waves are and how they affect our very own mother earth” once she is interested give her the facts!


Body waves are of a high frequency that travel through the earth’s interior and arrive before surface waves do.

body wave

 P waves also known as primary waves, these waves can move through fluids and solid rock and is the fastest kind of seismic wave.

 S waves also known as Secondary waves a considerably slower than its predecessor the P wave, even though this wave is strong enough to move through solid rock, it cannot move through a liquid medium.

 Surface waves are the ones that are the prime suspect for causing all the chaos and demolition that most people would associate with earthquakes, even though they have a lower frequency compared to the body waves. Rayleigh waves are the ones that are mainly responsible for the shaking sensation that occurs during earthquakes, this is because this particular wave rolls, in doing so this causes the ground to move up and down and from side to side.

 Once she is shaken up (see what I did there) with all the new information she’ll be begging to hear more. If all else fails make sure to mention the love wave, because you have to let her know that you are a romantic even if you didn’t come up with the name.

 Inform her that love waves is the first kind of surface wave as well as the fastest surface wave that is confined to the crust and moves the ground horizontally. Don’t just stop there, you need to keep her interested and how else than introducing her to some interesting facts


Interesting Facts

A fun fact is that the Rayleigh wave was named after Lord Rayleigh in 1885 because he was able to mathematically predict the existence of this wave.

John William Strutt.jpg

 Another fun fact about the love wave is that it was named after a British mathematician named  A.E.H Love because he was the one who came up with a mathematical model for this particular wave.

 Now all these waves you mentioned have to have happened for a reason let her know that this is because of plate tectonics and the strain and stress within the earth’s interior.

Plate tectonics

 One of the first seismographs  was believed to be invented by a Chinese scientist by the name of Chang Heng around A.D. 132 which determined the presence of a seismic wave and which direction it was coming from, but he ended up just throwing it away. If you want to impress family members, friends, significant others seismology is the way to go, I’ll even help you get started to achieve your dream job!


Becoming a Seismologist


Everything up to this point has been a piece of cake per say, however achieving this type of career is no walk in the park, you have to make sure you absolutely want to go through with this, because the education required is tough! One of the most efficient ways is to go through an undergraduate course in geophysics, however taking a geology course is a very good first step, this will allow to gain access to the knowledge which is the foundational structure you will need to help get through your graduate courses, since most places require a master’s degree in geophysics to achieve employment (would you look at that you are already taking the first step, and I know you’re taking a geology course otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this now would you). Good luck to all of those who proceed on with this choice hopefully you found this informative and it makes you a little more educated on what seismology is and how to pursue a career in it.

college, diploma, hat

P.S. the man/woman that is right for you isn’t going to care about what you do just as long as you both can make a connection that one no else can, as well as your personality. Also if you’re wondering how I came to write a term paper like this, I had a fairly similar conversation with one of my best friends down at a bar in Mexico.