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In this activity, students work in teams to locate the epicenter of an earthquake using the time travel difference between the primary (P) and the secondary (S) waves. Teams work out that the time difference between the wave arrival times depends upon the distance of the monitoring station from the epicenter. To locate the earthquake they draw circles of the appropriate (scaled) radius from the monitoring ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12)
Resource type: Classroom activity
Subject: Geophysics
 
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National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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In this activity, students use magnetic field data and a map of the ocean floor around Iceland to observe how the direction of magnetization of the ocean floor varies. This links the magnetization of rocks with the theory of tectonic plates. As students complete the worksheet they will discover that the magnetic field of the Earth has flipped (the N pole becoming the S pole, and vice versa) many times ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12)
Resource type: Classroom activity
Subject: Geophysics
 
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National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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This demonstration shows how the Earth's magnetic field has flipped (the N pole becoming the S pole, and vice versa) many times through geological time. It also demonstrates that as tectonic plates move apart, new rock is formed and locks in the direction of the magnetic field at the time. Students should realize that the discovery of stripes of alternately normal and reversed-magnetized rocks forming ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12)
Resource type: Presentation / Demo
Subject: Geophysics
 
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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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National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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Recordings on this site present 164 aftershocks as they were heard at one seismic recording station. They occurred after an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.2 beneath and near New Zealand. All events are heard in rapid sequence, without the true time intervals between them. The main shock was at a depth of 30 kilometers, 10 kilometers below the interface between the subducting Pacific Plate and the ... Full description.
Grade level: Graduate / Professional
Resource type: Ref. material, Sound
Subject: Geophysics
 
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In this activity, students use simple calculations of the travel times of seismic waves in a constant velocity spherical Earth and compare these with observations for the real Earth. They find that the Earth's interior is not homogeneous. The exercise provides suggestions about the actual nature of the Earth's interior structure. This activity will provide experience with graphing, calculations and ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12), College (13-14)
Resource type: Classroom activity, Guide for instructor
Subject: Geophysics
 
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National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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In this activity, students examine a seismogram display called a seismic record section in which each trace is a seismogram recorded at a specific seismograph station. The seismograms are plotted according to the distance (in degrees, geocentric angle) from the earthquake location and time from the earthquake origin. The traces are of the vertical component of ground motion, and have been filtered ... Full description.
Grade level: High (9-12)
Resource type: Problem set
Subject: Geophysics
 
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National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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In this activity, students construct a model that will allow them to experiment with thermal convection, illustrating how thermal energy can generate a flowing motion in a fluid. The thermal convection in this model is similar to the convection that is inferred for the Earth's mantle and can produce horizontal flow that can cause or is related to plate motions. Students will investigate the viscosity ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12), College (13-14)
Resource type: Lab activity
Subject: Geophysics
 
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National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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Users can access the array of seismometers operated by the the University of California at Berkeley's Seismological Laboratory in northern and central California. The Berkeley Digital Seismic Network is an array of high-dynamic range, broadband seismometers. Data from these instruments are transmitted continuously to UC Berkeley for processing and analysis. Using the interface, visitors may create ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12), College (13-14)
Resource type: Remotely sensed dataset
Subject: Geophysics
 
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This radio broadcast explains how the North Pole is constantly moving due to the rotation of the Earth, which in turn is determined by any changes in the mass distribution of the Earth. The clip is 2 minutes in length. Full description.
Grade level: General public
Resource type: Radio broadcast
Subject: Geophysics
 
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