L.E.O Seismic Station

Earthquakes and volcanoes are constant reminders that we live on a dynamic planet. Earthquakes cause millions of dollars in damage and tragic loss of life, yet they also provide key insights into earth structure and active tectonic processes. Seismology is a quantitative discipline that records and studies the generation and propagation of elastic energy in the earth. Studying earthquakes is important for understanding seismic hazards in urban areas and developing appropriate responses. Seismic networks and arrays are the primary tools used to monitor compliance with the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Earthquakes are also essential to understanding motion and deformation of the earth's crust and mantle.

We have established a broadband seismic station on South Mountain, Lehigh University, to monitor local, regional, and global seismic activity. Data collected from the seismic station provides information on active seismicity in northeastern Pennsylvania, including the Lancaster Seismic Zone and the Reading Earthquake Sequence. Our station is a part of the Northeastern Regional Seismic Network, which monitors earthquake activity in the eastern U.S. The information collected links to the GSN (Global Seismic Network) maintained and operated jointly by IRIS (Incorporated Research Institutes in Seismology) and the US Geological Survey.Lehigh University is an IRIS member


Students participated in all aspects of this project, from the initial planning stage including site evaluation and selection to the installation and development phase. Since the station is up and running, students maintain and operate the seismic station on a day-to-day basis, analyze earthquake data, and serve as a resource in the Lehigh Valley and Eastern Pennsylvania for information about earthquakes locally as well as globally. A student list has been compiled and contains the names of all interns who worked on LEO's seismic station.