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Twelve-Channel Seismic Refraction Recorder

Geophysics · Physics

A sturdy grey-painted box with metal handles on either side contains several related pieces of apparatus. The inside of the box is subdivided into three main compartments.

The box contains the following pieces:

One white and blue console with controls for up to twelve channels. These controls include input plugs from geophone sensors, which are not included in the box. A large black plug attaches the console to the recording box.

A grey-coloured recording box featuring twelve galvanometer elements to record the readout from twelve channels onto photosensitive paper. A roll of paper is mounted inside the box. A panel on the back opens to reveal the replaceable bulb.

One grey-coloured amplifier bank power converter. This appears to be mounted inside the wooden box. One cord, consisting of red and blue wire joined, at intervals, with yellow shrink wrap, connects the amplifier to the recorder unit.

Two grey-coloured GC680 6 volt rechargeable batteries.

Three loose wires, one red, one white, one black, each terminating in alligator clips.

A small flat-head screwdriver with a transparent yellow-tinted handle is stuck into the foam lining.

A glass fuse is stuck into the foam lining.

A short green pencil is loose inside the case.

Accession Number:

Alternative Name:

Primary Materials: Wood, Metal, Plastic.


The console unit has writing in pencil on the top surface. These messages read: “Input amp 11 grounded 1984” and “Please Repair! 1985”

Red writing on the top surface of the console unit reads: “CHECK GEOPHONE Ω ON ‘IN’ TERMINALS WITH AMP. OFF”

A masking tape label on the battery marked “402 B” reads “[Part?] OK (taken out of rec) June 1985”

A masking tape label on the battery marked “305 B” reads “OK June 1985”

Dimensions (cm):


This instrument was created to represent an important technology used in mineral prospecting.

It was linked to an array of geophones in order to detect and record the refraction of seismic waves resulting from an explosion. The nature of these refraction reveals geologic structures within the earth.


Good: This apparatus appears is in good cosmetic condition. The exterior surface of its carrying case is kicked and damaged. It does not include the geophones that would originally have been used with the instrument.

Associated Instruments:


Date of Manufacture: c. 1970s.


This apparatus was created for use in University of Toronto geophysics field camps in order to demonstrate seismic methods used in exploration geophysics.

This artifact was acquired by the University of Toronto Scientific Instruments Collection on August 25th, 2014 from a storage room in the McLennan Physical Laboratory building.

Additional Information and References:

Historical Notes:


  • Donated to UTSIC