Concept

Seismology

Summary
Seismology (saɪzˈmɒlədʒi,_saɪs-; from Ancient Greek σεισμός (seismós) meaning "earthquake" and -λογία (-logía) meaning "study of") is the scientific study of earthquakes (or generally, quakes) and the propagation of elastic waves through the Earth or other planetary bodies. It also includes studies of earthquake environmental effects such as tsunamis as well as diverse seismic sources such as volcanic, tectonic, glacial, fluvial, oceanic, atmospheric, and artificial processes such as explosions. A related field that uses geology to infer information regarding past earthquakes is paleoseismology. A recording of Earth motion as a function of time is called a seismogram. A seismologist is a scientist who does research in seismology. Scholarly interest in earthquakes can be traced back to antiquity. Early speculations on the natural causes of earthquakes were included in the writings of Thales of Miletus (c. 585 BCE), Anaximenes of Miletus (c. 550 BCE), Aristotle (c. 340 BCE), and Zhang Heng (132 CE). In 132 CE, Zhang Heng of China's Han dynasty designed the first known seismoscope. In the 17th century, Athanasius Kircher argued that earthquakes were caused by the movement of fire within a system of channels inside the Earth. Martin Lister (1638–1712) and Nicolas Lemery (1645–1715) proposed that earthquakes were caused by chemical explosions within the earth. The Lisbon earthquake of 1755, coinciding with the general flowering of science in Europe, set in motion intensified scientific attempts to understand the behaviour and causation of earthquakes. The earliest responses include work by John Bevis (1757) and John Michell (1761). Michell determined that earthquakes originate within the Earth and were waves of movement caused by "shifting masses of rock miles below the surface". In response to a series of earthquakes near Comrie in Scotland in 1839, a committee was formed in the United Kingdom in order to produce better detection methods for earthquakes.
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