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This lesson on earthquakes is based on naturalist John Muir's experiences with two significant earthquakes, the 1872 earthquake on the east side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. Students will learn to explain that earthquakes are sudden motions along breaks in the crust called faults, and list the major geologic events including earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and mountain building, which are the result of crustal plate motions. A downloadable, printable version (PDF) of the lesson plan is available.
Intended for grade levels:
  • Middle (6-8)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Guide for instructor
    • Lesson plan
  • Geological Sciences:
    • Geology
    • Structural geology
  • Natural hazards
Technical requirements:
Some documents require Adobe Acrobat
Some versions of slides require Powerpoint
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
Copyright 2004 by Sierra Club. Permission to reprint for school purposes is granted to all public and private school teachers. All other rights reserved.
DLESE Catalog ID: EARTHQUAKE-000-000-012-542
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Publisher: Sierra Club