A seismogram is a graph output by a seismograph. It is a record of the ground motion at a measuring station as a function of time. Seismograms typically record motions in three cartesian axes (x, y, and z), with the z axis perpendicular to the Earth's surface and the x- and y- axes parallel to the surface. The energy measured in a seismogram may result from an earthquake
An earthquake is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves. The seismicity, seismism or seismic activity of an area refers to the frequency, type and size of earthquakes experienced over a period of time...

 or from some other source, such as an explosion
An explosion is a rapid increase in volume and release of energy in an extreme manner, usually with the generation of high temperatures and the release of gases. An explosion creates a shock wave. If the shock wave is a supersonic detonation, then the source of the blast is called a "high explosive"...

Historically, seismograms were recorded on paper attached to rotating drums. Some used pens on ordinary paper, while others used light beams to expose photosensitive paper. Today, practically all seismograms are recorded digitally to make analysis by computer easier. Some drum seismometers are still found, though, especially when used for public display. Seismograms are essential for finding the location and magnitude of earthquakes.

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