Document Type


Publication Date

June 2013

Publication Title

ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

First Page


Last Page



As part of a national consortium of universities practicing and doing research in earthquake engineering, our site has developed several videos for use in outreach and education. Visualization tools are extremely useful when teaching about how earthquakes shake the ground and the response of buildings to that shaking. Here we present videos that are targeted to specific audiences: (1) Animations of the response of two model buildings to two earthquakes are targeted at grade 6-16 students. The videos were created with data recorded on these test structures from the two earthquakes. The two events were both located directly below the site and had magnitudes M3.1 and M3.6. Animation of the structures was created with Blender (, an open source 3D content creation suite. The animation shows distinct resonances of the structures and seismic wave arrivals are clearly visible. (2) One of the model buildings has a shaker mounted on the underside of its roof. This shaker is a live experiment that runs nightly. We present animation of the vibration of the model building to the shaker experiment (more on this, below). (3) Visualization Services group at the San Diego Supercomputer Center created an animation of the ground excitation at the site from a M4.1 earthquake. Using data recorded in boreholes, the animation clearly shows the amplification of the earthquake signal as it approaches the ground surface. These visualizations created from actual earthquake data provide new insight into ground and structural response to strong shaking. The animations are available on the consortium website and are used as teaching tools for practitioners, K-12 students, and college-level engineering courses. (4) In the summer of 2012, three student interns produced “A Case Study of Earthquake Damage and Repair.” This is a film of the earthquake history a small city in California. In the film, original photographs of earthquake damage are shown along with contemporary views of these buildings. Earth science is part of the 6th grade framework for curriculum in California. This video is available to 6th-grade teachers in California, along with a student workbook. (5) We also present a demonstration of a teaching module for freshman-level college physics and earthquake engineering students. Students are able to log on live to an earthquake site and run the shaker experiment on the model building. After the completion of the experiment, the data from the experiment is stored for the students’ use in homework assignments. The presentation is a demonstration of the live experiment that runs over the internet.


© 2013 American Society for Engineering Education. This article originally appeared in the proceedings of the 2013 ASEE Annual Conference, and can also be found online at this link.
Conference SessionCEIII WrapupPaper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia.