The presentation about earthquakes is divided into 2 separate discussions: The first covers the basics of earthquakes and seismology. The second presentation covers earthquake hazards and tsunamis.
Earthquake Basics - reviews the basics about earthquakes and the science of seismology.
PowerPoint Click to download the MS Powerpoint file (10.9 Mbytes)
PDF Click to view or download the presentation in PDF (5.5 Mbytes)
Online Lecture. Click here to view a streaming lecture discussing the earthquakes and seismology (~45 minutes).
Earthquake Hazards - reviews earthquake prediction, early warning system, direct and indirect earthquake hazards, and tsunamis.
PowerPoint Click to download the MS Powerpoint file (39 Mbytes)
PDF Click to view or download the presentation in PDF (28 Mbytes)
Online Lecture. Click here to view a streaming lecture discussing earthquake and tsunami hazards (~35 minutes).
How Do I Make My Own P and S waves? This simple demonstration uses a slinky to demonstrate the differences between P and S seismic waves. This activity permits students to use a model to describe phenomena. PDF
Virtual Earthquake. In this online activity, students determine the epicenter (by triangulation) and Richter magnitude (using a nomogram) of an earthquake. This is a great interactive resource that explains difficult concepts. The focus of the activity is instruction (not assessment) since it requires students to reattempt analysis of data when a mistake is made.
Rate the Risk. In this activity, students examine historic data for large earthquakes (M>6.0) in the United States. On a map, they plot the earthquake occurrunces and consider how these data could be used to estimate the earthquake risk and why certain states have a higher risk of larger earthquakes in terms of tectonic environment. PDF Word Document
Calculating the Speed of Tsunamis. In this activity, students calculate the propagation rate of tsunamis as a function of water depth and the amount of time for tsunamis to travel to different shorelines. More infomation about calculating the propagation rate of tsunamis is here. This activity permits students to apply mathematical concepts (e.g. rate) to a scientific question about the propagation rates and travel times of tsunamis.
Where Did Pinnacles National Park Come From? In this activity, students examine movement of the Neenach volcanic rocks in Pinnacles National Park northward along the San Andreas fault. This activity permits students to apply mathematical concepts (e.g. rate) to a scientific question about the rate of motion along the San Andreas fault and predicting future movement.
Online Media Resources
The New Bay Bridge: Earthquake Makeover This video discusses the design and building of the new Bay Bridge after it was damaged in the Loma Prieta earthquake. KQED Quest
Earthquake! When Plates Collide This video discussess the relationship between plate tectonics and the occurrence of earthquakes. WGBH Educational Foundation
Scary Tsunami This video looks at the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and how scientists are attempting to understand the generation of tsunamis and the development of a warning system. KQED Quest
Earthquakes: Breaking New Ground This video reviews the SAFOD experiment in Parkfield, CA that is aimed at developing a better understanding of the nature of earthquakes and the San Adndreas fault system. KQED Quest
Earthquakes: The Seismograph This video reveiws the development of the seismograph and how an earthquake may be measured and quantified. WGBH Educational Foundation
Quest Northwest: Megathrust Earthquakes This video discusses large earthquakes called megathrust earthquakes associated with subductions zones. KCTS and KQED
Earthquakes: The Prehistoric Record This video discusses evidence of past earthquakes preserved in rocks and surface features. WGBH Educational Foundation
Earthquakes: San Francisco This video reviews the historic occurrence of earthquakes in the Bayarea and predictions for the future. WGBH Educational Foundation
Earthquake Videos Be careful since some of these can be disturbing - not necessarily for student eyes.
Katmandu 2015 Earthquake. This video was recorded by a surveillance camera and shows a street scene in Katmandu during the magnitude 8 earthquake in Nepal.
Tokyo Skyscrapers Swaying. This video shows skyscrapers swaying during the magnitude 9 Tohoku earthquake in 2011. The buildings are designed to accommodate ground motion during an earthquake and this video is evidence of the effectiveness of seismic engineering.
Loma Prieta Earthquake. This compilation of videos shows shaking and the results of the earthquake in San Francisco form the magnitude 6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989.
Japanese Earthquake Warning System. This YouTube video shows the Japanese early warning system. In the video, a Japanese broadcast show is interrupted by an automated alert warning and then shows a newscaster issuing the warning.
Tsunami Videos Be careful since some of these videos are disturbing - not necessarily for student eyes.
Japanese 2011 Tsunami. This video footage shows the tsunami that resulted from the magnitude 9 Tohoku earthquake in Japan in 2011.
Japanese Tsunami in Emeryville. This video footage shows the tsunami that resulted from the magnitude 9 Tohoku earthquake in Japan in 2011 as it entered San Francisco Bay. The video was shot in Emeryville, CA. The wave height is very small since the Golden Gate only permitted a small portion of hte energy to pass.
Japanese Tsunami in Santa Cruz. This video footage shows the tsunami that resulted from the magnitude 9 Tohoku earthquake in Japan in 2011 as it entered yacht harbor in Santa Cruz, CA.
Tsunami Scene from San Andreas. OK, this is stupid but it is always amusing when they destroy the Golden Gate Bridge in disaster movies. This clip from the movie San Andreas shows a huge tsunami in San Francisco Bay. There are several things wrong with this scenario: First, the size of the tsunami (due to an earthquake) is too large. Second, tsunamis are generally formed at convergent boundaries (subduction) and the San Andreas fault system is a strike slip (tranform) fault. Strike slip faults do not generally for tsunamies. Lastly, the Golden Gate inlet to San Francisco Bay is narrow enough to prevent the passage of a significant tsunami into the bay interior.
USGS Earthquake Hazards Program earthquake.usgs.gov/ This USGS site is the main entry point for information on earthquakes including realtime earthquake maps.
Realtime Global Earthquake Map http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/map/ This is an interactive map showing the occurrence of earthquakes. Please note that you can zoom into any location for more detail and change the map options to display different magnitude earthquakes.
United States Geological Survey (USGS) www.usgs.gov/ The USGS is a federal agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior and has primary responsibility for geological (hazards, resources, etc.) and environmental issues of national and regional importance.
The Educational Multimedia Visualization Center emvc.geol.ucsb.edu/ This website contains terrific animations illustrating tectonic plate motion. UCSB
Teachers on the Leading Edge orgs.up.edu/totle/ There are many resources and activities developed by this professional development program for middle school science teachers.
NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas
ESS1.C: The History of Planet Earth. Some events happen very quickly; others occur very slowly, over a time period much longer than one can observe.
ESS1.C: The History of Planet Earth. Local, regional, and global patterns of rock formations reveal changes over time due to earh forces, such as earthquakes. The presence and location of certain fossil types indicate the order in which rock layers were formed.
ESS2.B: Plate Tectonics and Large-Scale System Interactions. The locations of mountain ranges, deep ocean trenches, ocean floor structures, earthquakes, and volcanoes occur in patterns. Most earthquakes and volcanoes occur in bands that are often along boundaries between continents and oceans. Major mountain chains form inside continents or near their edges. Maps can help locate the different land and water features areas of the Earth.
ESS3.B: Nature Hazards. A variety of hazards result from natural processes (e.g., earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions). Humans cannot eliminate the hazards but can take steps to reduce their impacts.
ESS2.B: Plate Tectonics and Large-Scale System Interactions Maps of ancient land and water patterns, based on investigations of rocks and fossils, make clear how Earth's plates have moved great distances, collided, and spread apart.
ESS3.B: Natural Hazards Mapping the history of natural hazards in a region, combined with an understanding of related geologic forces can help forecast the locations and likelhoods of future events.
ESS3.B: Natural Hazards Natural hazards and other geologic events have shpated the course of human history; [they] have significantly altered the sizes of human populations and have driven human migrations.
Common Scientific Misconceptions
Earthquakes are rare events (media coverage of earthquakes is limited and biased to U.S. area or high death tolls)
The ground cracks opens during an earthquake to swallow people and buildings (common to Hollywood movies and popular literature like 'Clan of the Cave Bear' and Shogun', etc.).
Earth shaking is deadly (as opposed to building collapse, tsunamis, landslides, fire, etc.)
Seismic waves involve the long distance net motion of particles.
S-waves (shear waves) do not reach the other side of Earth from where earthquake originated because they cannot pass through oceans (or cannot reach islands).
Wind blowing through subterranean passages causes earthquakes (Aristotle's hypothesis, tied with older cosmology of hollow passages through earth)
Earthquakes occur from collapse of subterranean hollow spaces (tie to older cosmologies).
The biggest earthquake is a magnitude 10.
Earthquakes are controlled by meteorological events and that there is such a thing as "earthquake weather."
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