Introduction to Earthquake Data

Last week, we began our unit on plate tectonics. Unlike all the other years I have taught this unit, I am now teaching it digitally. This was a little challenging for me as I knew what I wanted the students to uncover but would not be alongside them to guide them. Instead, I created this quick assignment to get them looking at data from USGS about earthquakes and then, hopefully, making some connections. I created a quick video to show them how to use the website and then gave them these prompts:

Watch this video I made to help you navigate the following website:

In a Google Doc (or other document type of your choice), answer the following questions:

1. What was the highest magnitude earthquake in the world in the last 7 days? Where did it happen?

2. Where have most of the earthquakes in the US happened in the last 30 days (remember to include Alaska and Hawaii)? What was the highest magnitude earthquake in the US in the last 7 days? Where did it happen?

3. What do you think the red lines on the world map represent? Look at all the earthquakes 2.5+ in the world over the last 30 days. What do you notice about the occurrence of earthquakes in the world and their relationship with the red lines? How can you explain this?

4. Explore the map a little. What did you decide to look at? What did you find out?

5. Finally, can you find an earthquake that occurred in the last 30 days in the US that triggered a tsunami (or prompted a tsunami warning)? Tell me about it.


I hope you find this useful. If you do not teach, please check out the USGS website. It is really cool to see how active our planet is everyday!


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