Living in Earthquake Country (6-12)
Lesson 5: A Whole Lot of Shakin’ Goin’ On!

A Whole Lot of Shakin’ Goin’ On!

This lesson consists of two activities. Students gather data about the 1906 and 1989 earthquakes, make comparisons between the two, and determine the factors that influence the amount of shaking that occurs in an area due to an earthquake.

Concepts and learning outcomes

The students will understand that:

  • The shaking that is felt (the intensity) depends on three factors; magnitude, location (distance and depth), and rock type.
  • Scientists measure both the amount of energy released in earthquakes (magnitude) and the severity of shaking at particular locations (intensity).
    • Higher magnitude earthquakes result in greater intensity shaking.
    • The closer you are to an earthquake, the greater the intensity.
    • Distance is measured both horizontally and vertically (because earthquakes occur at depth).
    • Soft rocks amplify shaking, while locations on hard bedrock shake less.


Time requirements


Two to three 50-minute class periods


Vocabulary


Magnitude,Richter Scale, intensity, topography, Holocene, Quaternary, alluvium
Extension vocabulary: Mercalli Intensity scale, contour lines, isoseismal maps


Background for teachers


Rating the Size of Earthquakes is a website that provides a short discussion of earthquake magnitude and Charles Richter. The website, Magnitude vs. Intensity describes both magnitude and intensity. For even greater detail, visit What is Richter Magnitude?


Activities


1. 1906 vs. 1989: A comparison of two major earthquakes: A comparison of two major earthquakes: Students gather data and compare the 1906 and 1989 earthquakes.
2. Determining the Intensity: Students discover that magnitude, distance to the epicenter, and rock type are key factors that influence the amount of shaking that occurs in an area due to an earthquake.


Extensions


See Lesson 5, Activity 2


Resources used

up