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Teaching Activities


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Investigating Earthquakes: GIS Mapping and Analysis (College Level)
Brian Welch, Saint Olaf College
This is a college-level adaptation of a chapter from the Earth Exploration Toolbook. The students download global quake data over a time range and use GIS to interpret the tectonic context. -

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Whose Fault Is It Anyway?
Eric Muller
This game has students simulate the propagation of P and S waves after an earthquake and to use the lag between these to determine where in the simulation the earthquake occurred. -

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Earthquake Shaking and Damage
Eric Baer, Highline Community College
This student homework and problem set has students quantitatively earthquake hazard, shaking and damage.

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Determining Earthquake Recurrence Intervals from Trench Logs
Patricia Cashman, University of Nevada-Reno
Trench logs of the San Andreas Fault at Pallett Creek, CA are the data base for a lab or homework assignment that teaches about relative dating, radiometric dating, fault recurrence intervals and the reasons for uncertainty in predicting geologic phenomena. Students are given a trench log that includes several fault strands and dated stratigraphic horizons. They estimate the times of faulting based on bracketing ages of faulted and unfaulted strata. They compile a table with the faulting events from the trench log and additional events recognized in nearby trenches, then calculate maximum, minimum and average earthquake recurrence intervals for the San Andreas Fault in this area. They conclude by making their own prediction for the timing of the next earthquake.

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2004 Asian Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster Project
Char Bezanson
Students are employees of a unit of the United Nations responsible for coordinating disaster relief after a major disaster (the 2004 Asian Earthquake and Tsunami) occurs. The agency needs to understand the ...

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Is the New Madrid Seismic Zone at risk for a large earthquake?
Eliza Richardson, Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus
In this lesson we discuss the controversy regarding the extent of seismic risk in the central United States today. We learn how to estimate earthquake recurrence interval using a variety of methods. This lesson ...

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Downloading Earthquake Data from the USGS Earthquake Hazards Site for Anywhere in the World and Studying it Using ArcGIS
Barb Tewksbury, Hamilton College
Students download earthquake data from the USGS Earthquake Hazards website and plot and anlyze the earthquakes using ArcMap and ArcScene.

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Earthquake Case Study
Kaatje Kraft, Whatcom Community College
This activity is a multiple case study analysis of different earthquakes that leads to student interpretation of claims, evidence and prediction/recommendations.

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Earthquake Hazards: The next big one?
John Taber, IRIS Consortium
Students work in small groups or individually to investigate the earthquake hazards in California, Missouri, and their own location. Students begin the activity with an exploration of the concept of probability, ...

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Earthquake Compare and Contrast Paper
Sarah "Sally" Zellers, University of Central Missouri
Students will write a research paper comparing the Sumatran (2004) and Tohoku (2011) tsunami generating earthquakes.

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Global Earthquakes: Teaching about Earthquakes with Data and 3D Visualizations
Cara Harwood, University of California-Davis
In this series of visualizations and accompanying activities, students visualize the distribution and magnitude of earthquakes and explore their distribution at plate boundaries. Earthquakes are visualized on a 3D ...

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Visualizing Global Earthquakes – Where and Why do Earthquakes Occur?
Cara Harwood, University of California-Davis
In this activity students visualize the distribution and magnitude of earthquakes at and below the surface of Earth and how their distribution is related to plate boundaries. Earthquakes are visualized on a 3D ...

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Role playing the 2009 L'Aquila Earthquake and trial to debate responsibility for communicating and understanding risks and natural hazards
Amber Kumpf, Muskegon Community College
In this activity, students reenact key events leading up to and following the 2009 L'Aquila Earthquake and trial. This leads into a debate on responsibility for communicating and understanding risks and natural hazards.

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2004 Asian Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster Project
Char Bezanson, Eastview High School, Apple Valley, Minnesota
Students are employees of a unit of the United Nations responsible for coordinating disaster relief after a major disaster (the 2004 Asian Earthquake and Tsunami) occurs. The agency needs to understand the ...

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Earthquake Epicenter Location Exercise using Google Earth and OneNote
Jeffrey Nunn, Louisiana State University
Students are provided with data from 4 seismograms which are used to plot the epicenter of an earthquake using OneNote to pick the P-S wave arrival gap and Google Earth to plot the circles which intersect at the ...

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