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Teaching Activities


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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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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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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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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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The Boxing Day Tsunami
Glenn Richard, SUNY at Stony Brook
Undergraduate students map data from the National Geophysical Data Center and the United States Geological Survey on Google Earth and study visualizations in order to explore the causes and effects of the Tsunami ...

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Introduction to Moment Magnitude
John Jasbinsek, California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo
This activity reviews body-wave magnitude, and takes a closer look at its merits. Then moment magnitude is defined and contrasted with body-wave magnitude. The 2004 Parkfield earthquake is used to illustrate moment ...

Earthquake Machine Demonstration
David Steer, The University of Akron
This classroom activity is a demonstration where students predict what will happen under various conditions. The "Earthquake Machine" shows relationships between stress, strain, friction along the fault ...

Earthquake resistant design
Lawrence L. Malinconico, Lafayette College
In groups of two, the students design and build a three-story building to be as earthquake resistant as possible. Using an in-house designed and built shaker table, we load each floor of the building based on area ...

Earthquakes
Achim Herrmann, George Washington University
This activity uses geoinformatics to understand the world around us with an emphasis on earthquakes.

Mercalli Earthquake Activity
Kaatje Kraft, Mesa Community College
A jigsaw process that allows students to analyze first person descriptions of earthquakes and assess several earthquake features.

Introduction to Earthquake Seismology Methods
Bruce Rueger, Colby College
This lab introduces students of aspects of earthquake seismology methods. These include analysis of p-wave amplitude, location of an earthquake epicenter and determining the time of occurrence of an earthquake. ...

Subduction Zone Earthquakes
David Steer, The University of Akron;
While working in groups to facilitate peer tutoring, students manipulate a hands-on, physical model to better comprehend several characteristics of subduction zone earthquakes. -

The Epicenter of a Southwestern Earthquake
Steven Semken, Arizona State University at the Tempe Campus; Tracy Perkins, South Mountain Community College
This activity guides students to use the measured difference in P and S wave velocities to locate the epicenter of a minor earthquake in the Southwestern United States. Click here to view the full activity on the ...

Walking Field Trip to the San Andreas Fault
Fred Winkler, California State University-San Bernardino
Due to our University's unique location approximately one mile from the nearest trace of the San Andreas Fault, we are able to take students on a walking field trip to the San Andreas. On the trip we set the ...


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