This animation illustrates how seismic waves travel through the earth to a single seismic station. Scale and movement of the seismic station are greatly exaggerated to depict the relative motion recorded by the seismogram as P, S, and surface waves arrive.
This animation illustrates the movement of the three basic waves associated with an earthquake and the effects of these waves on various locations. By measuring the travel time of the P and S waves, distances from the epicenter can be calculated.
Students read two descriptions of Earth's interior structure and summarize similarities and differences between the two and answer a series on analysis questions.
Students work collaboratively in small groups to investigate the earthquake cycle using a mechanical model. Students' attention is captured through several short video clips illustrating the awe-inspiring power of ground shaking resulting from earthquakes. To make students' prior knowledge explicit and activate their thinking about the topic of earthquakes, each student develops a definition for an earthquake. Next, small groups of students combine their individual definitions through a collaborative process to create a consensus definition for an earthquake. Using an open-inquiry approach, students then investigate the Earthquake Machine model and compare their group's definition of an earthquake to the behavior of the model. Through this inquiry process students are asked to map the construct of an earthquake to the elements of the mechanical model. A whole-class discussion exploring the ways the model is both like and unlike the actual phenomena of an earthquake follows, while the flow of energy through the mechanical model is emphasized. This explicit mapping process is an important component of the instruction and offers opportunities for students to summarize their findings. All materials needed for the activity can be downloaded from this page.
In this role play activity, students are preparing to be interviewed by the local media about a recent newsworthy quake. The student worksheet walks students through a series of questions to help them prepare. Answering the questions requires making use of the event specific details and the background information provided. However, all answers must be combined with a broader geologic understanding to truly prepare. The activity as provided uses the May 12, 2008 - Sichuan Earthquake as an example. However, the activity could be updated by providing students with similar information from a more recent quake.
Students examine seismic evidence to determine that the Earth must have a layered internal structure and to estimate the size of Earth's core. Note that lesson plan and supporting documents must be downloaded from this website.
Students will explore seismic hazards for various regions, which can be described by the likelihood of a certain level of ground shaking for a particular region. Once the seismic hazard is quantified, the seismic risk can be estimated by determining the potential effects of the shaking on buildings and other structures. Students begin by finding the probability of an earthquake of a particular magnitude occurring during different periods in different regions, and comparing these results. Next, students investigate the probability that the ground in each region will shake by a certain amount, during a given length of time and compare those results. Finally, students consider the societal implications of these hazards and how this seismic hazard information might be used to improve community resilience.
Students review their prior knowledge about various types of plate boundaries. Next students use the IRIS Earthquake Browser to investigate well-known examples of some of these boundaries. Students are asked to pay particular attention to the spatial distribution, rate of seismicity, and depth of quakes in each area. Students then point IEB to a new region and are asked to use the â€œtemplatesâ€ of seismic evidence they have previously constructed for the primary plate boundaries to argue for what is occurring within the mystery region.
Students explore the rate of earthquake occurrence for areas of Earth they choose to explore. Data is accessed through the simple interface of the IRIS Earthquake Browser. After compiling their data for various sized earthquakes, students calculate reoccurrence intervals for each magnitude and plot the data on a semi-log graph for interpretation. Discussions of the collected data touches on strengths and limitations of their data set, possible societal implications (e.g. building codes etc), as well as concepts related to earthquake prediction and forecasting.
This brief video lecture demonstrates the use of foam blocks to demonstrate faults, and a deck of cards to demonstrate folds and fabrics in rock layers.
This video shows the parts and tools needed to build an effective foam fault model for the demo "Faulting Folding." This brief video lecture demonstrates the use of foam blocks to demonstrate faults, and a deck of cards to demonstrate folds and fabrics in rock layers.
Students describe Earth's internal structure (concentric layers of different density and composition) and summarize how this is inferred through the analysis of seismic data in this lab. In Activity 1, students "become" solids or liquids to experience how body waves move through materials in each state of matter. In Activity 2, students test the hypothesis that Earth is composed of homogeneous rock. They then interpret seismic data from a recent earthquake and compare their observations with predicted arrival times from the homogeneous model. In Activity 3, students transfer the observed data to a scale model to help visualize the details of Earth's interior and measure the diameter of Earth's outer core. They then compare their findings to accepted measurements. In Activity 4, students apply their understanding of body wave propagation to another seismic record section and ray path model of Earth to infer whether these two layers are solid or liquid. Finally, in activity 5, students examine a graph of viscosities of common materials to develop the idea that the asthenosphere is a solid, that it deforms more easily than the lithosphere, and that the boundary between the two varies with depth and is a broad transition rather than a sharp change.
Students explore the processes involved in unconventional oil and gas resource production (hydraulic fracturing), how we monitor seismic activity and draw correlations (or lack thereof) between fluid injection (related to hydrofracking or from wastewater disposal) and earthquake activity, and ways that we might establish a better understanding of correlations between the two. Lastly, geothermal activity at the Geysers in California will also be investigated to illustrate the difficulty in assessing natural versus induced seismicity in such a geologically complex region.
At the end of this lesson, students should be able to describe the methods used to find hydrocarbons, describe the 5 main play elements needed for success, and interpret whether a fictional location has all of the necessary play elements.
In this comprehensive inquiry-based lesson, students work collaboratively using a physical model (the earthquake machine) to examine the occurrence of earthquakes and the inputs and outputs of fault systems. Their task is to design and carry out an investigation(s) to explore the three elements of earthquake prediction: When? Where? How Big? and the challenges to making such predictions. Following a Argument-Driven Inquiry (ADI) instructional approach students analyze data collected through their investigation and collectively develop a tentative argument to address the guiding questions. Their claim, evidence and justification are sketched out on whiteboards for a class poster session. Following this, a teacher led discussion of their investigations and resulting data helps students to connect their investigations to broader Earth science concepts and ensures core content is addressed. The instruction is wrapped up through an individual writing assignment and double-blind peer review process.
Students work in small groups to analyze and interpret GPS and seismic data related to mysterious motions from the northern California coastline. These motions are known as Episodic Tremor and Slip (ETS). This activity emphasizes the analysis and synthesis of multiple types of data and introduces a recently discovered mode of fault behavior.
Students will learn how to download .sac files from the DMC and load those files into Matlab for examination. The activity focuses on enabling students to locate the event based on P arrivals and then calculate the magnitude of the event.