Teach the Earth > Undergraduate Research > 2014 Workshop > Activities > Earthquake Hazards: The next big one?

Earthquake Hazards: The next big one?

John Taber, IRIS Consortium
Author Profile

This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Collection

Resources in this top level collection a) must have scored Exemplary or Very Good in all five review categories, and must also rate as “Exemplary” in at least three of the five categories. The five categories included in the peer review process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
  • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
  • Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.

This activity has benefited from input from faculty educators beyond the author through a review and suggestion process. This review took place as a part of a faculty professional development workshop where groups of faculty reviewed each others' activities and offered feedback and ideas for improvements. To learn more about the process On the Cutting Edge uses for activity review, see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.

This page first made public: Aug 11, 2014


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, and then work to understand how earthquake hazards are described by probabilities.



non-major intro geology

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Basic understanding of what an earthquake is, basic understanding of plate tectonics, ability to plot on a log-plot

How the activity is situated in the course

This can be used in the earthquakes section of an intro geology course


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Students will be able to:
- Calculate the probability of an earthquake occurring
- Explain in a written essay how a region can have a high seismic hazard but have a low seismic risk.
- Describe at least three factors that affect the intensity of an earthquake at a given location.
- Differentiate between earthquake magnitude and intensity.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

analysis of data, relating a physical model to a real Earth system

Other skills goals for this activity

Description and Teaching Materials

Student handout for hazards activity (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 2.9MB Aug11 14)
Instructor's guide for hazards activity (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 538kB Aug11 14)

Teaching Notes and Tips


References and Resources

See more Activities »