Subject: Natural Hazards
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Unit 2: Earthquakes, GPS, and Plate Movement
GPS data can measure bedrock motion in response to deformation of the ground near plate boundaries because of plate tectonics. In this module, students will learn how to read GPS data to interpret how the bedrock ...
Volcano Monitoring with GPS: Westdahl Volcano Alaska
Learners use graphs of GPS position data to determine how the shape of Westdahl Volcano, Alaska is changing. If the flanks of a volcano swell or recede, it is a potential indication of magma movement and changing ...
Rocks are Elastic!! Seeing is Believing
This activity helps learners see the elastic properties of rocks by actually bending marble. How rocks respond to stress is a fundamental concept, critical to forming explanatory models in the geosciences (e.g., elastic rebound theory). Whereas learners are likely to have lots of experience with rocks, few will have directly experienced them behaving elastically. As a result of this "missed experience", most learners conceptualize rocks as rigid solids; a concept which generally serves students well in everyday life but impedes learning about particular geologic concepts.
Human Wave: Modeling P and S Waves
Lined up shoulder-to-shoulder, learners are the medium that P and S waves travel through in this simple, but effective demonstration. Once "performed", the principles of P and S waves will not be easily forgotten. This demonstration explores two of the four main ways energy propagates from the hypocenter of an earthquake as P and S seismic waves. The physical nature of the Human Wave demonstration makes it a highly engaging kinesthetic learning activity that helps students grasp, internalize and retain abstract information.
Seismic Slinky: Modeling P and S waves
Students will produce P and S waves using a Slinky© to understand how seismic waves transfer energy as they travel through solids. All types of waves transmit energy, including beach waves, sound, light, and more. When an earthquake occurs it generates four different types of seismic waves. We will focus on two of these: Compressional-P (longitudinal) and shearing-S (transverse) "body waves." These travel through the Earth with distinct particle motion and predictable speed.
Earthquake Location: With real seismogram data
Students use real seismograms to determine the arrival times for P and S waves and use these times to determine the distance of the seismic station from the earthquake. Seismograms from three stations are provided to determine the epicenter using the S – P (S minus P) method. Because real seismograms contain some "noise" with resultant uncertainty in locating arrival times of P and S waves, this activity promotes appreciation for uncertainties in interpretation of real scientific data.
Base Isolation for Earthquake Resistance
This document includes two activities related to earthquake base isolation. Learners explore earthquake hazards and damage to buildings by constructing model buildings and subjecting the buildings to ground vibration (shaking similar to earthquake vibrations) on a small shake table. Base isolation a powerful tool for earthquake engineering. It is meant to enable a building to survive a potentially devastating seismic impact through a proper initial design or subsequent modifications. The buildings are constructed by two- or three-person learner teams.
Fault Models for Teaching About Plate Tectonics
This short interactive activity has learners to manipulate fault blocks to better understand different types of earthquake-generating faults in different tectonic settings--extensional, convergent, and strike-slip. Fault models aid in visualizing and understanding faulting and plate motions because the instructor and their students can manipulate a three-dimensional model for a true hands-on experience.
In this activity, learners work collaboratively in small groups to explore the earthquake cycle by using a physical model. Attention is captured through several short video clips illustrating the awe-inspiring power of ground shaking resulting from earthquakes. To make students' prior knowledge explicit and activate their thinking about the topic of earthquakes, each student writes their definition of an earthquake on a sticky note. Next, through a collaborative process, small groups of students combine their individual definitions to create a consensus definition for an earthquake.
Seismic Geohazards & Earthquake Hazard Maps: Alaska emphasis
Ground shaking is the primary cause of earthquake damage to man-made structures. This exercise combines three related activities on the topic of shaking-induced ground instability: a ground shaking amplification demonstration, a seismic landslides demonstration, and a liquefaction experiment. The amplitude of ground shaking is affected by the type of near-surface rocks and soil. Earthquake ground shaking can cause even gently sloping areas to slide when those same areas would be stable under normal conditions. Liquefaction is a phenomenon where water-saturated sand and silt take on the characteristics of a dense liquid during the intense ground shaking of an earthquake and deform. Includes Alaska and San Francisco examples.
Build a Better Wall
How can we design buildings to withstand an earthquake? This activity uses simple materials and gives learners a chance to experiment with structures that can withstand an earthquake. Two optional activities explore building damage by subjecting models to ground vibration on a small shake table.
Earthquake Hazard Inventory & Mitigation Planning
In this two-part activity, students/participants first: - Complete a Hazard Inventory for their city or area of interest in the event of a magnitude 7 or larger earthquake and tsunami. - Identify what critical structures and infrastructure will be affected. Then: - Write a summary statement assessing strengths and vulnerabilities of essential services or infrastructure. - Propose actions for mitigating vulnerabilities. - Create an Action Plan to address identified needs.
Tsunami Vertical Evacuation Structures (TVES)
Students learn about tsunami vertical evacuation structures (TVES) as a viable solution for communities with high ground too far away for rapid evacuation. Students then apply basic design principles for TVES and make their own scale model that they think would fit will in their target community. Activity has great scope for both technical and creative design as well as practical application of math skills. Examples are from the Pacific Northwest, USA's most tsunami-vulnerable communities away from high ground, but it could be adapted to any region with similar vulnerability.
Unit 1: Slip-sliding away: case study landslides in Italy and Peru
How have mass-wasting events affected communities, and what lessons have we learned from these natural disasters that might help us mitigate future hazards? In this unit, students answer these questions by being ...
Unit 5: Mitigating future disasters: developing a mass-wasting hazard map
This unit serves as the summative assessment of the Surface Process Hazards module. In September 2013, the Boulder area of Colorado experienced an extreme rain event that led to mass wasting in many areas. This has ...
Unit 3: Understanding landslide factors
How do slope characteristics and magnitude of forces dictate whether or not a slope will fail? Can environmental and built characteristics change the magnitude of these forces? In this unit, students qualitatively ...
Unit 4: Anatomy of a tragic slide: Oso Landslide case study
Landslides can have profound societal consequences, such as did the slide that occurred near Oso, Washington in 2014. Forty-three people were killed and entire rural neighborhood was destroyed. In this unit, ...
Unit 1: Foundational Concepts
Unit 1 introduces foundational concepts in geoscience, emergency management, and political science that are critical for developing a systems thinking approach and for achieving the learning objectives in the storm ...
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Unit 2: Application of Concepts to Case Studies
In Unit 2, students apply and evaluate foundational concepts about storm hazards and risk in the context of two cases studies: Superstorm Sandy (2012) and the Storm of the Century (1993). Through different ...
Unit 3: Culmination of Module in Town Hall Meeting
Over the course of one week, students will apply and evaluate concepts in the context of their local community, culminating in the formulation and evaluation of Hazard Mitigation Plan recommendations presented in ...
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