SeismicWaves Viewer & SeismicEruption Software
This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection
This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the 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 https://serc.carleton.edu/teachearth/activity_review.html.
This page first made public: May 24, 2018
Seismic Waves is a browser-based tool to visualize the propagation of seismic waves from historic earthquakes through Earth's interior and around its surface. By carefully examining these seismic wave fronts and their propagation, the Seismic Waves tool illustrates how earthquakes provide evidence that allows us to infer Earth's interior structure. Students investigate how seismic waves travel through Earth's internal layers and bounce and bend at internal boundaries between mantle, outer core, and inner core.
Seismic Eruption shows seismicity (earthquakes) and volcanic activity in space and time from 1960 to present. When the program is running, the user sees lights, which represent earthquakes, flashing on the screen in speeded-up time. The user can control the speed of the action. In addition, the program can show seismicity under Earth's surface in three-dimensional and cross-sectional views. Earthquakes can be selected by magnitude and volcanic eruptions can be selected by volcanic explosivity index.
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
How the activity is situated in the course
It could also be done as part of a physical science unit as an applied example of wave types and characteristics.
Content/concepts goals for this activity
- Describe how seismic P, S, and surface waves travel through different parts of the Earth.
- Interpret a earthquake seismogram and correctly identify which parts correspond to P, S, and surface waves.
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
- Analyze seismic data and find relationships between
- Seismicity and volcanism
- Main earthquakes and aftershocks
- Locations of earthquakes and volcanoes and plate boundaries
Other skills goals for this activity
Description and Teaching Materials
Seismic Waves Viewer and SeismicEruption Software Activity (Acrobat (PDF) 563kB May17 18)
Teaching Notes and Tips
The student exercise serves as the summative assessment for the activity. Some questions have clearly correct answers. Teachers can develop a simple grading scheme for open ended questions such as two points for thorough and correct answer, one point for partially correct, and zero for incorrect.