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Teaching Activities


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Signal processing and earthquake triggering
Jackie Caplan-Auerbach, Western Washington University
In this exercise, written for an undergraduate seismology class, students use MATLAB to analyze waveforms from the 2004 Sumatra M9.0 earthquake, as they were recorded on three seismic stations in Alaska. Two of ...

MATLAB Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the Teaching Computation in the Sciences Using MATLAB Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Earthquake Hazards: The next big one?
John Taber, IRIS Consortium
In this activity, students explore of the concept of probability and the distribution of earthquake sizes, and then work to understand how earthquake hazards are described by probabilities. Students then work in ...

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Role playing the 2009 L'Aquila Earthquake and trial to debate responsibility for communicating and understanding risks and natural hazards
Amber Kumpf, Muskegon Community College
In this activity, students reenact key events leading up to and following the 2009 L'Aquila Earthquake and trial. This leads into a debate on responsibility for communicating and understanding risks and natural hazards.

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Earthquake Compare and Contrast Paper
Sarah "Sally" Zellers, University of Central Missouri
Students will write a research paper comparing the Sumatran (2004) and Tohoku (2011) tsunami generating earthquakes.

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Determining Earthquake Recurrence Intervals from Trench Logs
Patricia Cashman, University of Nevada-Reno
Trench logs of the San Andreas Fault at Pallett Creek, CA are the data base for a lab or homework assignment that teaches about relative dating, radiometric dating, fault recurrence intervals and the reasons for uncertainty in predicting geologic phenomena. Students are given a trench log that includes several fault strands and dated stratigraphic horizons. They estimate the times of faulting based on bracketing ages of faulted and unfaulted strata. They compile a table with the faulting events from the trench log and additional events recognized in nearby trenches, then calculate maximum, minimum and average earthquake recurrence intervals for the San Andreas Fault in this area. They conclude by making their own prediction for the timing of the next earthquake.

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Global Earthquakes: Teaching about Earthquakes with Data and 3D Visualizations
Cara Harwood, University of California-Davis
In this series of visualizations and accompanying activities, students visualize the distribution and magnitude of earthquakes and explore their distribution at plate boundaries. Earthquakes are visualized on a 3D ...

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Visualizing Global Earthquakes – Where and Why do Earthquakes Occur?
Cara Harwood, University of California-Davis
In this activity students visualize the distribution and magnitude of earthquakes at and below the surface of Earth and how their distribution is related to plate boundaries. Earthquakes are visualized on a 3D ...

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Cascadia Great Earthquake and Tsunami Suite
Michael Mayhew, National Science Foundation;
Michael Mayhew and Michelle Hall, Science Education Solutions Summary The Cascadia Earthquakes and Tsunami Suite contains five case studies organized around understanding the potential for large earthquakes and ...

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Northridge: A Case Study of an Urban Earthquake
Michael Mayhew, National Science Foundation;
Michael Mayhew and Michelle Hall, Science Education Solutions Summary The 1994 Northridge Earthquake Case Study explores the mystery of how such a major fault could have been missed within a tectonic basin that is ...

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Is the New Madrid Seismic Zone at risk for a large earthquake?
Eliza Richardson, Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus
In this lesson we discuss the controversy regarding the extent of seismic risk in the central United States today. We learn how to estimate earthquake recurrence interval using a variety of methods. This lesson ...

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The Boxing Day Tsunami
Glenn Richard, SUNY at Stony Brook
Undergraduate students map data from the National Geophysical Data Center and the United States Geological Survey on Google Earth and study visualizations in order to explore the causes and effects of the Tsunami ...

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Earthquake Epicenter Location Exercise using Google Earth and OneNote
Jeffrey Nunn, Louisiana State University
Students are provided with data from 4 seismograms which are used to plot the epicenter of an earthquake using OneNote to pick the P-S wave arrival gap and Google Earth to plot the circles which intersect at the ...

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Downloading Earthquake Data from the USGS Earthquake Hazards Site for Anywhere in the World and Studying it Using ArcGIS
Barb Tewksbury, Hamilton College
Students download earthquake data from the USGS Earthquake Hazards website and plot and anlyze the earthquakes using ArcMap and ArcScene.

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Earthquake Case Study
Kaatje Kraft, Whatcom Community College
This activity is a multiple case study analysis of different earthquakes that leads to student interpretation of claims, evidence and prediction/recommendations.

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Earthquake Location
Larry Braile, Purdue University-Main Campus
Earthquake location is an interesting and significant aspect of seismology. A number of methods that vary from simple to complex are available for learning about earthquake location. The methods also allow ...

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