Visualizing Global Earthquakes – Where and Why do Earthquakes Occur?
This activity is part of the Global Earthquakes: Teaching about Earthquakes with Data and 3D Visualizations series.
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 page first made public: Aug 23, 2011
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
How the activity is situated in the course
Content/concepts goals for this activity
- The lithosphere is broken into plates of different and uneven sizes and shapes, and these plates fit together like a puzzle that covers the entire surface of Earth.
- Earthquakes are not distributed randomly, and most earthquakes occur in distinct narrow belts.
- These belts of earthquakes define the boundaries of tectonic plates because earthquakes happen in places where rocks break and move, so earthquakes occur where movement of the crust is taking place, which happens the most at plate boundaries.
- Most earthquakes are concentrated along boundaries between major tectonic plates, especially in subduction zones and along transform faults, with fewer occurring along spreading ridges.
- Earthquakes only occur on the thin veneer on the surface of the earth.
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
- Synthesize large data sets to recognize naturally occurring patterns
- Use patterns in data sets to make predictions about the distribution and characteristics of earthquakes
- Visualize data in 3D that is traditionally represented in 2D
Other skills goals for this activity
Description of the activity/assignment
Determining whether students have met the goals
Download teaching materials and tips
- Instructors Notes (Acrobat (PDF) 98kB Jul27 11): This document includes detailed description of the visualization and how it should be used in class, talking points that are linked to specific times in the visualization, and 'quakes questions' for evaluation during playback of the visualization.
- Visualization Video ( 31.1MB Jul27 11): Playback time 3 minutes 13 seconds. MPEG-4 movie. Includes overview of plate boundaries, earthquake distribution, and distribution at types of plate boundaries.
Please contact the author (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like a higher resolution video.