Cause of the Mogul, Nevada, Earthquake Swarm, Spring 2008
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
How the activity is situated in the course
Content/concepts goals for this activity
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Other skills goals for this activity
Description of the activity/assignment
(1) a typical fault-generated earthquake sequence, the February, 2008 Wells earthquake, and
(2) a typical volcanic-generated earthquake sequence at Mt. St. Helens.
For each of these, students describe the distribution of earthquakes on the ground surface and at depth in the earth, and look for characteristics that are unique to each kind of earthquake. They also look for distinctive patterns in the size or depth of the earthquakes with time, again to establish criteria for determining the cause of seismicity.
Students then look at seismic records from the "Mogul earthquake swarm" in Spring 2008, and determine whether it looks like it was generated by faulting or by volcanic activity. They conclude with the reason(s) the Mogul earthquake swarm was unusual.
Determining whether students have met the goals
Download teaching materials and tips
- Student Handout (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 138kB Nov21 08)
The students also get figures with this text (below).
M 6.0 Wells earthquake data from the Nevada Seismological Laboratory
3D animation of this event (AVI file, 4.7 MB)
Mogul-Somersett Earthquake Sequence; West Reno, Nevada from the Nevada Seismological Laboratory
Animation of 2008 Mogul sequence (AVI file, 23 MB)
USGS data from Mt. St. Helens