Video of the Day: seismic waves sweep across the US

Yesterday's magnitude 5.9 earthquake cause quite a stir on the East Coast. The video below shows an animation of the seismic waves as they moved across the country. But before you check it out, read on for a description:

What you're seeing here are vertical displacement measurements from an array of detectors that are part of the USArray/EarthScope facility (you can read more about the array and the animation on the IRIS website). These are very sensitive instruments; note the scale on the lower graph showing the motion is only about 40 microns top-to-bottom! That's less than the thickness of a human hair.

Red dots represent upward motion, and blue downward. The intensity of the color represents the amplitude (height) of the wave. Animations like this make it very easy to see the waves moving across the country; the arc even gives you a rough idea of where the epicenter was.

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Via Discover

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