Mysterious motions along the Pacific Northwest Coast
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
How the activity is situated in the course
Content/concepts goals for this activity
1. Describe the process of Episodic Tremor and Slip and contrast this with the traditional earthquake cycle or Elastic Rebound Theory.
2. Demonstrate how GPS and seismic observations support our understanding of Episodic Tremor and Slip
3. Describe the seismic hazard created as the Juan de Fuca plate subducts beneath the North American plate.
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Other skills goals for this activity
Description and Teaching Materials
In this lab, students investigate mysterious ground motions along the Pacific Northwest Coast. The investigation begins as students familiarize themselves with the tectonic setting of the Pacific Northwest coastal region . Next, students explore and explain the movement of the Cape Mendocino, CA region that occurred on April 25th, 1992 using data (vector) from high-precision Global Positioning System (GPS) stations and earthquake location data. This case is contrasted with movement recorded by GPS (time-series) in British Columbia from 2004 to 2011. Finally, students investigate the episodic tremor and slip model to explain the GPS time series data for the British Columbia region.
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/investigating_episodic_tremor_and_slip_mysterious_motions_along_the_california_coast.
Student worksheet for ETS activity (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 2.2MB Jun1 17)
Student worksheet KEY for ETS activity (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 2.2MB Jun1 17)
Teaching Notes and Tips
References and Resources
Animations specific to the Pacific Northwest:
The use of GPS to monitor plate motion near subduction boundaries: www.iris.edu/hq/inclass/animation/208
Episodic Tremor and Slip in cross section recorded on graph.: www.iris.edu/hq/inclass/animation/92
Overview of the Pacific Northwest tectonic regime: www.iris.edu/hq/inclass/animation/376
Brudzinski, M. (2011). Episodic Tremor and Slip: Potential Clues to the Earthquake Process and How Faults Slip. The Earth Scientist, 27(1), 7-12.
EarthScope. (2011). Episodic Tremor and Slip. http://www.usarray.org/files/docs/pubs/EpisodicTremorandSlip_final.pdf
Grand Challenge #1 – How do Faults Slip