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Exploring Seismology Using USGS Earthquake Hazards Program Data
This guide instructs educators on the classroom use of earthquake data from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Earthquake Hazards Program. The data consist of locations, magnitudes, and times of earthquakes around the world. It is used by emergency response organizations and by scientists seeking to determine how earthquakes effect an area and whether seismic data can be used to predict future earthquakes. Classroom topics include natural hazards, the solid earth, and seismic networks. Students will learn to understand the collection and transmission of seismic data; interpret earthquake data parameters; use seismic data to map plate boundaries; use the data to determine areas of high risk for earthquakes; and examine relationships between earthquakes and the underlying rock structure. Instructions and a set of links for accessing the data are provided. Links are also provided to scientific and educational resources that use this dataset and to websites with related information.
Intended for grade levels:
  • High (9-12)
  • College (13-14)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Classroom activity
    • Computer activity
    • Guide for instructor
  • Educational theory and practice
  • Geological Sciences:
    • Geology
    • Geophysics
  • Natural hazards
Technical requirements:
Raw data requires Microsoft Excel or other spreadsheet application
Real-time data requires Google Earth or other mapping application
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
We encourage the reuse and dissemination of the material on this site for educational, noncommercial purposes as long as attribution is retained. To this end the material on this site is offered under a Creative Commons license. Authors of original works submitted to SERC retain their copyright. But in volunteering the works they agree to offer it under this license allowing for reuse and redistribuition with attribuition. Authors are responsible for obtaining copywrite permission for all materials that they distribute within their work.
DLESE Catalog ID: DATA-CLASS-000-000-000-010
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Publisher: Carleton College
Science Education Resource Center (SERC)