Q:

# How Do You Make a Simple Seismograph?

A:

Seismographs are mechanisms that measure the strength of earthquakes. Simple seismographs can be made at home with a pencil, string and a moderately heavy weight. The weight is suspended above a surface such as a table.

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1. ### Attach your weight to a string

Find a weight that can easily be affixed to a string. Attach your weight to a long string that is not elastic. Hold the string so that the weight dangles. The weight should be heavy enough the string long enough that the end doesn't move very quickly even when the hand holding the string moves quickly laterally.

Find a place to hang your weight where the weight will not rub against any walls. Ceiling hooks, door frames and the undersides of tables work well. Hang your weight so it's a few inches up from a movable surface, such as a chair or table. Secure the top of your string.

3. ### Attach a pencil to the weight

Place a piece of paper on the surface below the weight. Tape a pencil to the weight so that its writing tip is touching the paper and is pointing straight down. The pencil shouldn't be supporting any weight.

4. ### Test it

Shake the table or chair under the pencil. The pencil should create marks in the same direction as the motion of the surface under it.

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