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ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - In a rather plain room on the campus of Saint Louis University, things are always rolling.

"I have been studying earthquakes for at least since 1965," says Dr. Robert Herrmann, Professor of Geophysics at Saint Louis University.

He's in charge of the Saint Louis University Earthquake Center.

"Well, what we want is a continuous record of how the ground moves and it's just a pen and ink recording, Dr. Herrmann explains.

They've had instruments to record such a thing for more than 100 years.

"The big instrument we have in the corner was a mechanical recorder state of the art in 1909 it was manufactured in Germany and shipped here and that was the first instrument on campus," he points out.

Of course, the seismograph is just part of the equation.

"The richter scale would be to look at the seismogram and to look at how much the motion and to use that amplitude to estimate how big the earthquake was," Dr. Herrmann goes on to say.

The instruments these days are sensitive enough to pick up other things.

"So trains going down the railroad track by an instrument, the automobile traffic, explosions," Dr. Herrmann says.

But thunder that's another story.

"Typically we don't see thunder and lightning storms because that's sound going through the air and it doesn't really cause the ground to move much," Dr. Herrmann points out.

So thunder might shake you up, but it's not something that will show up on the richter scale.

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