Teaching Activities

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Episodic tremor and slip: The Case of the Mystery Earthquakes | Lessons on Plate Tectonics
Shelley Olds, UNAVCO
Earthquakes in western Washington and Oregon are to be expected—the region lies in the Cascadia Subduction Zone. Offshore, the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate subducts under the North American plate, from northern California to British Columbia. The region, however, also experiences exotic seismicity— Episodic Tremor and Slip (ETS).In this lesson, your students study seismic and GPS data from the region to recognize a pattern in which unusual tremors--with no surface earthquakes--coincide with jumps of GPS stations. This is ETS. Students model ductile and brittle behavior of the crust with lasagna noodles to understand how properties of materials depend on physical conditions. Finally, they assemble their knowledge of the data and models into an understanding of ETS in subduction zones and its relevance to the millions of residents in Cascadia.

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Making Community Connections to Co-learn about Earthquakes
Jennifer Pickering
Many people live in regions prone to earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions, but the hazards and risks inherent in our communities may be very different. Making connections with learners from another location is a great way to share knowledge and practice science communication skills. Video conferencing applications like Zoom and Skype make it possible to connect with learners anywhere in the world. This activity provides a simple protocol, and a form for submitting a request to connect with a classroom teacher in Anchorage, Alaska.

Flooding, flood risks, and what populations are impacted
Kaatje van der Hoeven Kraft, Whatcom Community College
In this lab, students learn about four different types of flood: flash floods, regional floods, storm surges, and tsunami. They then explore the human experience of flooding and who is impacted the most by flooding ...

Tsunami Vertical Evacuation Structures (TVES)
Bonnie Magura (Portland Public Schools), Roger Groom (Mt Tabor Middle School), and CEETEP (Cascadia EarthScope Earthquake and Tsunami Education Program)
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.

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Alaska Earthquake Hazard Inventory & Mitigation Planning
Bonnie Magura (Portland Public Schools), CEETEP (Cascadia EarthScope Earthquake and Tsunami Education Program), and ANGLE Project
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.

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Identifying Tsunami Sand in Salt Marsh Stratigraphy
Erin Peck, Oregon State University
Through a hands-on activity using salt marsh sediment cores from Pacific Northwest estuaries, students will learn how these environments record the history of earthquakes and tsunami. Students will analyze the ...

Investigating Factors That Affect Tsunami Inundation
Bonnie Magura (Portland Public Schools), Roger Groom (Mt Tabor Middle School), and CEETEP (Cascadia EarthScope Earthquake and Tsunami Education Program)
Learners modify elements of a tsunami wave tank to investigate the affect that near-coast bathymetry (submarine topography) and coastal landforms have on how far a tsunami can travel inland. Damaging tsunami are most commonly produced by subduction zone earthquakes, such as those that occur in Alaska.

Be Smart, Be Prepared! Planning an Emergency Backpack
Bonnie Magura (Portland Public Schools), CEETEP (Cascadia EarthScope Earthquake and Tsunami Education Program), and ANGLE Project
Participants learn what to do before, during, and after a potentially damaging earthquake. They brainstorm valuable components for an emergency supplies backpack and then present on their ideas. The primary resource is the booklet Are you prepared for the next big EARTHQUAKE in Alaska?

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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Tsunami and the Depth of the Ocean
Martin Farley, University of North Carolina at Pembroke
An inquiry approach to using the celerity (=velocity) of a tsunami to measure the depth of the ocean along its path. Tsunami are shallow-water waves, because their wavelengths are so long relative to ocean depth. ...

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Tsunami of the North Atlantic Ocean
Susan Riggins, California State University-Chico
In this assignment students plot the tectonic setting, major cities, and economic centers of the Atlantic Ocean. They consider tsunami triggers and whether they are relevant. Students are presented with three ...

Natural Hazards on the Island of Hawaii
Andrew Greene, Hawaii Pacific University
In this jigsaw activity, students discover four different aspects of natural hazards on the Island of Hawaii. The goal for students is to design a hazard zone map that combines these four topics and that could be ...

Tsunami Travel Time Approximation
Eric Grosfils, Pomona College
Eric Grosfils, Pomona College Summary Students are asked to calculate approximate tsunami travel times across the Pacific basin. The assignment builds off of a lab introducing students to Spatial Analyst, and ...

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Exercise 6: The human impact of sea level changes, plus extensions to impacts of other natural events on human populations
Barb Tewksbury, Hamilton College
Barbara and David Tewksbury, Hamilton College Summary In this nine-part exercise, students download NOAA high resolution bathy/topo DEMs and TIGER census data to predict the location of shorelines, the extent of ...

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NanTroSEIZE in 3-D
Donald Reed, San Jose State University
We have developed a web-based virtual expedition, NanTroSEIZE in 3-D, based on a seismic survey associated with the NanTroSEIZE program of NSF-MARGINS and IODP to study the properties of the plate boundary fault ...

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