Local man detects seismic waves in Huntsville from CA earthquake

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)– Amateur seismologist, Steve Jones, has made a hobby of studying earthquakes. He tells us he has made a seismometer of his own, and it’s been up and running for years.

“I can, with something I built in my garage, pick up earthquakes on the other side of the world,” Jones told WHNT News 19.

After the Napa Valley earthquake in California, Jones says he detected seismic waves in Huntsville. The first round of body waves (or underground waves) came 6 minutes after the quake hit, and the second surface waves came around 11 minutes in. Measuring the time between these waves is how seismologists determine where an earthquake hit, he says.

He explained the impact of these waves on Huntsville: “We saw a total peak ground movement of about 75 micrometers, [a] very small amount. But the seismograph could detect it,” Jones said.

Jones is an electrical engineer at NASA. While he’s not formally educated in Geology, it fascinates him and he has spent long hours studying it. He’s hoping his findings also intrigue North Alabamians.

“I’m looking for other budding seismologists. I enjoy talking to the kids in school about amateur seismology. It’s a cool scientific endeavor,” he said.

To connect with Jones about a mutual interest or learn more about his work with earthquakes, click here.

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