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History of the TC1 Seismometer

How it Began

About 6 years ago, when Dr. Kasper van Wijk moved to Boise, Idaho, he was contacted by Ted and Linda Channel asking him if he would like to participate in their adventures in seismology. Ted had already built a horizontal pendulum seismometer for the local Idaho Museum of Mining and Geology, where Linda volunteered.

Ted and Linda Channel

The seismometer worked well, and is still recording earthquakes today. After Dr. van Wijk learned about Ted and Linda’s wonderful skills and passion, he began to incorporate the building of seismometers into his sophomore class Geophy201 – Seeing the Unseen.

Soon thereafter, Ted starting testing a vertical sensor based on a Slinky. Together, Kasper and Ted mused over the optimal design. They created and tested several versions and are currently on version 9 (TC1 Seismometer, fka Slinky Seismometer).

Until last year, they struggled the interface between sensor and computer. Martin Smith heard about their efforts and wanted a Slinky for the Science Museum in Vermont, where he volunteers. His long experience with hardware for geophysical applications allowed him and his colleague Chris Knudsen from New England Research to build the NERdaq, based on the awesome Arduino boards.

Now, fully equipped with NERdaq and Slinky VII, they have built around 25 units for schools and museums. Many are in schools as close as Boise, but others are as far away as The Netherlands and Australia. These units are on top of the many units of various stages between the first Slinkies and now. Some of the “live” stations can be viewed on the IRIS site.