Mapping Earthquakes


This one is GREAT! I got the idea from a workshop I went to sponsored by Exxon! Yep, Exxon!

If you need a primer on Earthquake waves and such, see my Earthquake Waves, the story about P, S, Love and Raleigh Waves!
Prep :
  1. Obtain a map of the world that can be reproduced for the kids. It needn't have a tremendous amount of detail on it as long as longitude and latitude can at least be estimated on it.
  2. Give a lesson or two on longitude and latitude. I don't! I prefer to have the kids learn it on their own as they do this activity, but...
  3. Go to the USGS site, Current Earthquakes for a listing of the most recent earthquakes around the world. Print this list. It's amazing how many earthquakes there are each day... There are links to maps so you have the answers... Try World Quake Map.
Activity : I allow the kids to work in groups of two or three. Have the kids plot the locations of the most current earthquakes according to the USGS. I have them plot at least the most recent 100! All they have to do is locate the longitude and latitude of the quake and place a dot on the map.

Findings ? Invariably, the kids will map the specific and recognizable boundaries of the main tectonic plates of the earth's crust! By mapping about 100 earthquakes, the kids will note immediately the famous "Ring of Fire" that outlines most of the Pacific Ocean where most of the world's volcanic action is. Have them "connect the dots" if you want. Then you can lead into the correlations between earthquakes and volcanoes and such. Pretty cool!


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