pointing finger animation


Locating Earthquake Epicenters

By Eric Muller

Topic:
Earth Science

Type of Web activity:
Using data from the Web

Materials / Software needed:
Web browser.

Poster-sized map of world (like from National Geographic)

Grade Level:
5-12

Time involved:

Several Weeks to Several Months

Created on:
July 26, 1996

Updated:
  August  2005


The Web Science Workshop lessons were created in cooperation with the Exploratorium Teacher Institute.

 

This site developed and maintained by Deborah Hunt and Eric Muller.

3601 Lyon St.
San Francisco, CA 94123

©The Exploratorium


 

seismograph readout

Create a map of earthquake epicenters and define plate boundaries around the world. This lesson may take a few months to complete, so be patient.


Below are two variations of this lesson: the classroom version and the individual version.

Classroom version:
1) Buy a large map of the world and a box of push pins.
2) Go to the IRIS Web site and check out earthquake that have occured Mag. 4 and above for the last 30 days
(IRIS stands for: Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology).http://www.iris.edu/seismon/last30days.phtml

This page only presents earthquake information in text only.

3) Stick a tack in the map where an earthquake has occurred.
4) Return to the IRIS earthquake page every week and stick new pins in the map. Repeat this until a distinct pattern begins to appear.

Dynamic Earth
Image from the USGS showing years worth of epicenter locations.

5) Optional:

  • Use different colored pins for different earthquake magnitudes.
  • Use different colored pins to represent earthquake depth (0-100 km, 100-200 km, 200-300 km, >300km). The pattern of colors will eventually show where there are subduction zones.

Individual lessons:
1) Print a map from the link below.
Exploratorium Map information page.
2) Mark latitude and longitude coordinates on this map.
3) Go to the IRIS earthquake page.
4) Make a mark on your map whereever an earthquake has occured.
5) Repeat this every week until a distinct pattern begins to appear.
6) Optional:

  • Use different colored pins for different earthquake magnitudes.
  • Use different colored pins to represent earthquake depth (0-100 km, 100-200 km, 200-300 km, >300km). The pattern of colors will eventually show where there are subduction zones.

For more information:

  • To see what your map will eventually look like, click here.
  • For a map of earthquake for the last 7 days, 1 month or year, click here.
  • For more information on maps, click here.
  • To find out why earthquakes happen in certain locations, click here.
  • For even more information on earthquakes, click here.

and is used with permission.

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