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Earth Exploration Toolbook Chapter: Investigating Earthquakes: GIS Mapping and Analysis
This activity describes the technique of preparing "GIS-ready" data and shows how to map that data and conduct basic analyses using a geographic information system (GIS). First, you will download and format near real-time and historical earthquake data from the USGS. Using latitude and longitude fields, you will then plot these data in a GIS. Next, you will analyze patterns by querying records and overlaying datasets. Finally, you will examine earthquake distributions, monitor current earthquake activity, and try to predict where the next big earthquake will occur on Earth.
Intended for grade levels:
  • Middle (6-8)
  • High (9-12)
  • Graduate / Professional
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Computer activity
  • Visual:
    • Map
    • Visualization - scientific
Subject:
  • Geological Sciences:
    • Geology
    • Geophysics
  • Natural hazards
  • Technology
Technical requirements:
Excel spreadsheet
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
Original, creative works created for the Earth Exploration Toolbook website remain the intellectual property of that program and may be used freely for any non-commercial, educational purpose with appropriate attribution.
DLESE Catalog ID: SERC-EET-000-000-000-013
Educational standards:
  • National Science Education Standards (NSES):
    • 5-8:
      • Unifying concepts and processes:
        • Systems, order, and organization
      • A - Science as inquiry:
        • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
      • F - Science in personal / social perspectives:
        • Natural hazards
    • 9-12:
      • Unifying concepts and processes:
        • Systems, order, and organization
      • A - Science as inquiry:
        • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
      • D - Earth and space science:
        • Energy in the earth system
      • E - Science and technology:
        • Abilities of technological design
      • 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
    • The uses of geography:
      • How to apply geography to interpret the past
      • How to apply geography to interpret the present and plan for the future
    • 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 requires
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Author: Carla McAuliffe
TERC - Center for Earth and Space Science Education