This lesson on earthquakes is based on naturalist John Muir's experiences with two significant earthquakes, the 1872 earthquake on the east side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. Students will learn to explain that earthquakes are sudden motions along breaks in the crust called faults, and list the major geologic events including earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and mountain building, which are the result of crustal plate motions. A downloadable, printable version (PDF) of the lesson plan is available.
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These materials are designed to accompany the television program 'Journey to Planet Earth: Urban Explosion'. As the 21st century dawns, the question is how to balance economic growth with the health of Earth's large metropolitan cities. How do these cities shelter and sustain their residents without destroying the delicate balance of the environment? The four mega-cities (cities with populations of over ten million people) profiled in the video segments are Mexico City, Shanghai, Istanbul, and New York City. Through the segments and the activities found at the end of this lesson, students will learn more about the problems facing the world's mega-cities, possible solutions to those problems, and the need for urban planning.
This virtual field trip features a clickable map that shows stops along the San Andreas Fault from the Salton Sea to Point Reyes National Seashore. Each stop along the trip is marked by a photo showing features associated with the fault: fault gouge, sag ponds, deformed and titled rock strata, cultural features (roads, buildings) offset by the fault, and others. There is also a collection of videos archived from live webcasts from the original trip, a set of hands-on activities, and a set of links to additional material on seismic activity in California.
In this activity, students will learn how rock layers are folded and faulted and how to represent these structures in maps and cross sections. They will use playdough to represent layers of rock and make cuts in varying orientations to represent faults and other structures.
The EERC at the University of Bristol has developed an Earthquake Engineering Competition that challenges secondary school students to design and make small scale models of buildings that can withstand strong earthquakes. Provided on the website are tips for model design and construction, load testing advice, and a gallery of models organized by various characteristics.
This classroom activity uses a cake to demonstrate geologic processes and introduce geologic terms. Students will learn how folds and faults occur, recognize the difference in behavior between brittle and ductile rocks, and attempt to predict structures likely to result from application of various forces to layered rocks. They will also attempt to interpret 'core samples' to determine subsurface rock structure.
This article describes the occurrence of listric normal faults (those which gradually flatten out with depth) in the continental shelf offshore Oregon and Washington, as seen in seismic reflection profiles. There is also a discussion of the faulting mechanics, the timing of uplift on the continental shelf, and the separation of compressional and extensional tectonic regimes on the lower and upper slopes of the shelf. A link to a downloadable version of the complete article is provided.
This module introduces students to minerals, crystals, and gems by using pictures and discussions of some of the extraordinary specimens residing in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution. It includes three lessons in which they draw pictures of specimens, grow their own crystals of magnesium sulfate, and perform a scavenger hunt in which they look for minerals in commonly used objects and products.
This quiz for younger students asks them 10 questions about plate motions, rock types in continental and oceanic crust, crustal formation and mountain building, the supercontinent Pangea, and the theory of continental drift. A link to a page on continental drift provides information to answer the questions.
In this activity, students use their observational skills to explore the makeup of various samples of rocks. They will recognize that the rocks are made up of one or more minerals.
This virtual tour takes users across the Golden Gate Bridge. They can walk forwards or backwards, and look up or down and to the left or right. There is also a view from the top of the South Tower.