Living in California, earthquakes are a part of life. Sooner or later, you'll feel one, and the first time can be pretty scary! If it's a small earthquake, which thankfully most are, it's actually hard to know for sure until you check the news later on. Sometimes a painting shakes on the wall, or a hanging lamp starts swinging, or you hear a rumbling sound - most small earthquakes are much more difficult to notice than you would expect.

In order to detect low magnitude earthquakes, we wanted to build a very sensitive Seismometer. This project was quite easy, mostly some carpentry, and the detector was a PocketLab sensor, using the magnetometer function. An iPad was used for data collection.

Materials used:

-wooden frame: one 8' 1x4 and one 8' 2x6

(I was able to get all this scrap lumber from 1 pallet)

- About a dozen assorted screws and metal straps

- Medium size magnet (about 0.1Kg)

- PocketLab sensor (www.thepocketlab.com)

- iPad or other smart phone for wireless connection to the sensor

Step 1: Making the pendulum

Finding a design was easy, the very first google search produced a diagram straight from the USGS site. There are many other designs, but this one looked the easiest. It is basically a pendulum.

We happened to have an old pallet in the back yard from a shipment received long ago. We tore it apart and salvaged enough lumber to make a base, pole, and beam.

We bought about $15 worth of screws and metal straps at Home Depot to fasten the wood and brace it.

<p>This is the first time I've encountered Pocketlab - how easy is it to use?</p>
<p>In full disclosure, I found out about PocketLab because I am advising the founders. So I am biased. But with that out of the way, it is designed for &quot;one button&quot; operation, and it's very easy to pair with a smart phone (iOS, Android, or Chromebook) using Bluetooth LE (low energy). I think it's very easy to set up.</p>
<p>Cool. I have a little mad-money, so I've ordered one to play with.</p>
<p>how does it tackle with high winds</p>
<p>haha great question - I suspect it would be terrible in any wind. I think seismometers in general are kept in very &quot;quiet&quot; environments, but I'm not an expert. We noticed if we put it on the floor of the house, which is on a raised foundation, it's really easy to pick up someone walking in the room. We had to leave it on the garage floor, which is concrete to get it to settle.</p>
<p>Very cool! I must send this to my maker son, lately come to science. Think he'll like it! I grew up in CA, now live in Portland OR...of course now we're hearing that the Cascadia fault may let 'er rip anytime now...Thanks for this!</p>
<p>Cool project.</p>

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More by drbakker:A Wireless Controller for Scratch! PocketLab based Seismograph 
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