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Table-Top Earthquakes: Learn How Earthquakes Really Work
This easily built classroom apparatus is ideal for gaining a better understanding of how earthquakes work and how they are recorded. The apparatus consists of a heavy object that is dragged steadily with an elastic cord. Although pulled with a constant velocity, the heavy object repeatedly slides and then stops. A small vibration sensor, attached to a computer display, graphically monitors this motion, which mimics the intermittent fault slippage that characterizes earthquake fault zones. Slides from a talk given at the Geological Society of America's Cordilleran Section Centennial meeting on June 2, 1999, show how this table-top demonstration can be used to help meet many of the K-12 teaching goals described in Benchmarks for Science Literacy (American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1993).
Intended for grade levels:
  • Middle (6-8)
  • High (9-12)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Presentation / Demo
Subject:
  • Geological Sciences:
    • Geophysics
Technical requirements:
No specific technical requirements, just a browser required
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
This is a US Government publication and does not have any copyright.
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-004-052
Educational standards:
  • National Science Education Standards (NSES):
    • 5-8:
      • Unifying concepts and processes:
        • Change, constancy, and measurement
      • B - Physical science:
        • Motion and forces
        • Transfer of energy
      • D - Earth and space science:
        • Earth's history
        • Structure of the earth system
      • F - Science in personal / social perspectives:
        • Natural hazards
        • Risks and benefits
        • Sci. / tech. in society
    • 9-12:
      • B - Physical science:
        • Conservation of energy and increase in disorder
        • Interactions of energy and matter
        • Motions and forces
      • E - Science and technology:
        • Understandings about science and technology
      • F - Science in personal / social perspectives:
        • Natural and human-induced hazards
  • National Geography Standards:
    • Environment and society:
      • How physical systems affect human systems
    • Physical systems:
      • The physical processes that shape the patterns of Earth's surface
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Author: Dr John C. Lahr
U.S. Geological Survey