*Note: This is an abbreviated Project Idea, without notes to start your background research, a specific list of materials, or a procedure for how to do the experiment. You can identify abbreviated Project Ideas by the asterisk at the end of the title. If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk.
Visit the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program to find out about global patterns of earthquake incidents (USGS, 2006). Can mapping earthquakes help identify fault lines? They also have a list of science fair project ideas. Another great resource for earthquake-oriented science fair projects is by Jeffery Barker (Barker, 1994). Build a model to study the forces of an earthquake using sandpaper-covered blocks. What are the forces involved? How are stress and friction in balance along a fault line? How would changing the grit of the sandpaper affect your model? You can also use a slinky to investigate the difference between P and S seismic waves. How do they compare? You can also do an experiment to test different building designs for earthquake stability. Which designs are most stable? (Barker, 1994; USGS, 2006)
Barker,J., 1994. "Demonstrations of Geophysical Principles Applicable to the Properties and Processes of the Earth's Interior," Presented at the NE Section GSA Meeting, Binghamton, NY, March 28-30, 1994.
[access 1/27/10] http://bingweb.binghamton.edu/~jbarker/demos.html.
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If you like this project, you might enjoy exploring these related careers:
Just as a doctor uses tools and techniques, like X-rays and stethoscopes, to look inside the human body, geoscientists explore deep inside a much bigger patient—planet Earth. Geoscientists seek to better understand our planet, and to discover natural resources, like water, minerals, and petroleum oil, which are used in everything from shoes, fabrics, roads, roofs, and lotions to fertilizers, food packaging, ink, and CD's. The work of geoscientists affects everyone and everything.
When you hear the word geography, you might think of maps and names of state capitals, but the work of geographers is much more than creating maps and identifying places. Geographers look at how people, places, and Earth are connected. They study the economy, social conditions, climate, and topography of a region to help answer questions in urban and regional planning, business, agriculture, and medicine.
Cartographers & Photogrammetrists
Maps can give us much more information than ways to get from A to B. Maps can give us topographic, climate, and even political information. Cartographers and photogrammetrists collect a vast amount of data, such as aerial data and survey data to produce accurate maps and models. For example, by collecting rainfall data, a cartographer can make an accurate model of how rainfall can affect an area's watershed. The maps and models can then be used by policy makers to make informed decisions.
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