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Understanding Earthquakes
This article provides a brief description of the recent earthquakes in Pakistan and Sumatra and continues with an investigation of earthquakes and their causes. Topics include the relationship of earthquakes to plate tectonics and the structure of the Earth, especially faults; factors that contribute to the strength (magnitude) of earthquakes; and the uncertainties of earthquake prediction. There is also an overview of a research project to drill into the San Andreas fault, and a history of the development of the theory of plate tectonics. A bibliography and links to additional information are also provided.
Intended for grade levels:
  • Intermediate (3-5)
  • Middle (6-8)
  • High (9-12)
  • General public
Type of resource:
  • Visual:
    • Illustration - scientific
    • Visualization - scientific
  • Text:
    • Report
  • Geological Sciences:
    • Geology
  • Natural hazards
Technical requirements:
No specific technical requirements, just a browser required
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
Copyright 2005, University of Wisconsin, Board of Regents.
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-001-063
Educational standards:
  • National Science Education Standards (NSES):
    • 5-8:
      • D - Earth and space science:
        • Structure of the earth system
      • F - Science in personal / social perspectives:
        • Natural hazards
    • 9-12:
      • D - Earth and space science:
        • Energy in the earth system
        • Origin and evolution of the earth system
      • F - Science in personal / social perspectives:
        • Natural and human-induced hazards
        • Sci. / tech. in local, national, and global challenges
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Author: David Tenenbaum
The Why Files

Editor: Terry Devitt
The Why Files

Contributor: S. V. Medaris
The Why Files

Contributor: Amy Toburen
The Why Files

Contributor: Eric G. E. Zuelow
The Why Files

Publisher: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Graduate School