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Discovering Plate Boundaries is based on 5 world maps containing earthquake, volcano, topography, satellite gravity, and seafloor age data. The novel aspect of the exercise is the "jigsaw" manner in which student groups access the maps and use them to discover, classify, and describe plate boundary types. The exercise is based only on observation and description, which makes it useful at a wide variety ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12), College (13-14), College (15-16)
Resource type: Classroom activity, Map, In-situ dataset, Modeled dataset, Remotely sensed dataset
Subject: Physical geography, Geologic time, Geology, Geophysics, Structural geology, Natural hazards
 
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National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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This report describes how the work of K. Wadati, Charles F. Richter, Harry O. Wood, and Beno Gutenberg resulted in a way of rating earthquakes in southern California according to an instrumental analysis of the amount of energy they released in the form of seismic waves. This work resulted in the first use of the term "magnitude" for describing the amount of energy released by an earthquake, and in ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12), College (13-14)
Resource type: Ref. material, Modeled dataset
Subject: Geophysics
 
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Educational standards associated with this resource:
National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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This tutorial provides information on the four types of wave motion seen in earthquakes (S, P, Love, and Rayleigh waves). A table accompanied by text describes their particle motion, typical veolcity, and other characteristics. The four animations show a rectangular block of material with outlined with grid lines and a filled-in grid square to highlight the particle motion and direction of propagation. ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12), College (13-14)
Resource type: Tutorial, Illustration - scientific
Subject: Geophysics
 
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In this exercise, students will use two shake intensity maps with Modified Mercalli Intensity values, one of the New Madrid Earthquake and the other of Southern California, to determine the location of earthquake epicenters. They will draw curves that enclose areas of similar intensity (as given by the numerical values representing the reports of witnesses), look for patterns or closures in the isoseismal ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12)
Resource type: Classroom activity
Subject: Geophysics
 
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In this activity, students plot earthquake hypocenters along a cross-section in an attempt to create an image of a fault deep beneath the surface. The hypocenters they will be using come from the aftershock sequence of the magnitude 5.6 North Palm Springs earthquake that occurred in 1986. The students will learn that accurate positioning of earthquake hypocenters can produce a rough image of a fault, ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12), College (13-14)
Resource type: Classroom activity
Subject: Geology, Geophysics, Structural geology
 
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National Science Education Standards (NSES), National Geography Standards: Read
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In this activity, students observe what happens to filled land when an earthquake shakes it up. They will fill a pan with sand, add water and place a brick in it to simulate a building, then tap the pan with a mallet and see what happens. A materials list, instructions, and background information are included. Full description.
Grade level: Intermediate (3-5), Middle (6-8), High (9-12)
Resource type: Classroom activity
Subject: Geology, Geophysics, Natural hazards
 
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This homework exercise, which was designed for an undergraduate level geology class at Tulane University, asks the student to make evaluations about the Loma Prieta Earthquake and other earthquakes using seismograms, time travel curves, maps and other information. Full description.
Grade level: High (9-12), College (13-14)
Resource type: Problem set
Subject: Geophysics, Natural hazards
 
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National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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This page provides an overview of the role of plate tectonics in the generation of earthquakes. It provides a map of plate locations and figures that illustrate fault types and tectonic environments (extensional, transform, and compressional). Examples of surface features in the Pacific Northwest, Nevada, Indonesia, the San Andreas Fault, the Red Sea, the Zagoros Mountains in Iran, and on the planet ... Full description.
Grade level: College (13-14)
Resource type: Ref. material
Subject: Geology, Geophysics
 
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This website contains class notes from part of a Geology 101 (physical geology) course. It describes the Richter scale, and how it measures the magnitude of an earthquake by expressing the seismic energy released. The site discusses the properties of seismic waves, mathematical equations used to help determine magnitude, and how seismographs work. Full description.
Grade level: College (13-14), College (15-16)
Resource type: Ref. material
Subject: Geophysics, Mathematics
 
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This site provides access to Community Internet Intensity Maps (CIIM), made from citizen reports of ground shaking following significant earthquakes. CIIMs are available for the 50 United States and territories, as well as for some significant events outside the U.S. Intensity maps are also available for some historic earthquakes. There is also information on fast moment tensor solutions, PAGER (Prompt ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12), College (13-14), College (15-16), Graduate / Professional
Resource type: Map, Ref. material, In-situ dataset
Subject: Geophysics, Natural hazards
 
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