Earthquake Hazards: The next big one?
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
How the activity is situated in the course
Content/concepts goals for this activity
- Compare and contrast the probability of an earthquake occurring in different regions and relate that probability to the seismic hazard of the regions.
- Explain in a written essay how a region can have a high seismic hazard but have a low seismic risk.
- Describe at least three factors that affect the intensity of an earthquake at a given location.
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Other skills goals for this activity
Description and Teaching Materials
1. Students first review basic probability and investigate the earthquake machine model.
2. Then arrange the students in groups of 3 and provide them with the materials and instructions to setup their EQ machine.
4. Provide an opportunity for students to freely investigate the model. Challenge them to consider the following... "How this might this model represent the earthquake process?" Discuss student ideas. Help students see the mapping between the model (analog) and Earth materials (target), and discuss how the model is like and unlike fault rupture on Earth.
5. Assign students to complete Part II of the lab, calculating earthquake probabilities with the earthquake machine. Review and discuss student responses.
6. Assign students to complete Part III of the Lab, investigating seismic hazard, and Part IV, relating earthquake probabilities to ground shaking hazard. Review and discuss student responses.
- Student worksheets (color copies of figures are helpful)
- Computer with internet access for each group
- Calculator or computer for simple calculations
- One Earthquake Machine setup for every 3 students
- Earthquake Machine slide set – Hazards_EQ_machine.ppt
- Access to Google Earth or Google Maps via the internet
This IRIS (Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology) activity is part of a collection of activities based on questions that identify promising research directions on the frontiers of seismology as outlined in the Seismological Grand Challenges in Understanding Earth's Dynamic System. The collection has been developed to engage students in the analysis of real data and to bring examples of frontier research topics into the undergraduate classroom. Further information about the activity including links to related resources is available on the IRIS website at http://www.iris.edu/hq/inclass/lesson/earthquake_hazards_next_big_one
Instructor's guide for hazards activity (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 419kB Jun14 17)
Student handout for hazards activity (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 1.8MB Jun14 17)
Student worksheet KEY Seismic Hazards (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 1.8MB Jun14 17)
Seismic Hazards earthquake machine slides (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 9.9MB Jun14 17)
Teaching Notes and Tips
References and Resources
Earthquake Machine Animations (illustrating model behavior)
Understanding Intensity: http://www.iris.edu/hq/inclass/animation/517
Moment Magnitude: http://www.iris.edu/hq/inclass/animation/205
USGS Earthquake Hazards 101 https://earthquake.usgs.gov/hazards/learn/basics.php
Earthquake rates in the US
Grand Challenge #2 - How does the Near-Surface Environment Affect Natural Hazards and Resources?