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What is an Earthquake?: Revealing A Fault Plane with Hypocenters
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, allowing subsurface determination of dip. They will also understand that obtaining this much data for a single fault usually requires a large aftershock sequence. A materials list and procedures are included: links are also provided to printable versions of the required map of hypocenters and the graphing template.
Intended for grade levels:
  • Middle (6-8)
  • High (9-12)
  • College (13-14)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Classroom activity
Subject:
  • Geological Sciences:
    • Geology
    • Geophysics
    • Structural geology
Technical requirements:
No specific technical requirements, just a browser required
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
Copyright 2003 Southern California Earthquake Center at the University of Southern California. All Rights Reserved.
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-006-676
Educational standards:
  • National Science Education Standards (NSES):
    • 5-8:
      • Unifying concepts and processes:
        • Evidence, models, and explanation
      • A - Science as inquiry:
        • Understanding about scientific inquiry
      • D - Earth and space science:
        • Structure of the earth system
    • 9-12:
      • Unifying concepts and processes:
        • Evidence, models, and explanation
      • A - Science as inquiry:
        • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
      • D - Earth and space science:
        • Energy in the earth system
        • Origin and evolution of the earth system
  • National Geography Standards:
    • Physical systems:
      • The physical processes that shape the patterns of Earth's surface
    • The world in spatial terms:
      • How to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information
Related resources:
This resource is part of 'SCEC Education Module: Investigating Earthquakes through Regional Seismicity'
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Publisher: Southern California Earthquake Center
http://www.data.scec.org/