GETSI Teaching Materials >Imaging Active Tectonics > Module Overview
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This module is part of a growing collection of classroom-tested materials developed by GETSI. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
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Instructor Materials: Overview of Imaging Active Tectonics Module

Module Goals

  1. Students will be able to predict and evaluate the societal impacts (risk) of fault motion (e.g. damage to buildings and infrastructure) based on an understanding of the fault type and specific characteristics of a fault (orientation, area of potential slip, fault displacement vector).
  2. Students will be able to recognize and categorize active faults using LiDAR, InSAR, or other imagery and recommend geodetic data set(s) for a given scenario considering the strengths/weaknesses/capabilities to find characteristic features for different fault types.
  3. Students will be able to synthesize the longer-term behavior of faults (i.e. from the landscape) and the short-term behavior of individual earthquakes to determine recurrence intervals, potential magnitudes of future earthquakes, and hence forecast seismic hazards.
    Supports Earth Science Big Ideas ESBI-1: Earth scientists use repeatable observations and testable ideas to understand and explain our planet, ESBI-3: Earth is a complex system of interacting rock, water, air, and life, ESBI-4: Earth is continuously changing, and ESBI-8: Natural hazards pose risks to humans. (link opens in new window)
Summative Assessment
The Unit 5 project report, along with an exam question, is the summative assessment for the module. Students apply their knowledge of LiDAR, InSAR, and societal vulnerability analyses from the first four units of this module to a new earthquake area. Learn more about assessing student learning in this module.

Outline

The module covers material sequentially, but the units can also often be taught as stand-alone lessons. For instructors who do not wish to use the module in its entirety, suggested pairings are included in the "Context for Use" section on each unit's page.

Unit 1 "If an earthquake happens in the desert and no one lives there, should we care about it?" [How are man-made infrastructure lifelines affected by earthquakes?]

This unit initiates a discussion about the importance of recognizing faults in relation to modern societal infrastructure. Students consider the types of infrastructure necessary to support modern lifestyle, especially for those living in population centers. Students also explore how key infrastructure such as aqueducts, power lines, or oil/gas pipelines, which traverse large distances, may also be susceptible to damage by earthquakes well away from the population centers.

Unit 2 Fault type identification through analysis of geomorphic characteristics

Students predict the most reliable geomorphic features that can be used to identify active faults. Students identify similarities and differences between their spatial predictions, LiDAR images, and Google Earth satellite image observations and propose reasons for any differences or overlaps observed. They consider that the images represent a form of time series that can be used to evaluate the relationship of the earthquake cycle and landscape evolution.

Unit 3 How to see an earthquake from space

In this unit, students will learn the basis for how space geodesy allows the measurement of movements of Earth's surface over wide areas without the need to visit the region in question, and demonstrate the various Earth processes that we are able to measure and monitor in this way. Specifically, we will learn the basics of a technique known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR), and its application to measure where, over what spatial extent, how far, and in what direction, earthquakes have caused the ground to move.

Unit 4 Phenomenology of earthquakes from InSAR data

In this unit, students use the Visible Earthquake interactive InSAR modeling tool to generate plausible fault slip parameters given InSAR data from real earthquakes.

Unit 5 How do earthquakes affect society?

Unit 5 is intended to be a synthesis of the different techniques and concepts covered in the module, as applied to a real-world scenario, emphasizing potential societal impacts. It serves as the module summative assessment.

Making the Module Work

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This module is part of a growing collection of classroom-tested materials developed by GETSI. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
Explore the Collection »