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Others Like “Soil and Earthquakes”

Project Idea
Did you know that waves travel through the Earth’s crust all the time? One major source of these waves is earthquakes, although ground motion can also be caused by something man-made, such as a mine blast or nuclear explosion, or other natural events, such as landslides or volcanic activity. How does an earthquake cause these waves? The entire outer shell of the Earth, known as the lithosphere, is made up of tectonic plates that are constantly moving. There are seven or eight large… Read more
Geo_p007
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites Familiarity with software and instruments used to collect and analyze data from sound waves is helpful.
Material Availability A sound generator and amplifier that can connect to a loudspeaker are required. An accelerometer is also needed that can interface with computer software to measure the amplitude of sound waves.
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
Earthquake damage can be intensified in areas that are subject to soil liquefaction. For example, in these areas, soil movement may cause foundations to collapse, while structures in nearby areas built on more stable soil or bedrock may escape relatively unscathed. This project uses readily available materials to determine whether soil additives can reduce the tendency to soil liquefaction. Read more
Geo_p002
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever been in an earthquake? What did it feel like? Did you jiggle back and forth? Up and down? Was there a jolt? Or a rolling motion? Come build a house Hansel and Gretel would love to eat, a special table to shake it on, and see how different soil types can amplify shaking. Read more
CE_p023
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Children who are allergic to peanuts should substitute a safe alternative for the peanut butter.
Project Idea
How is geology important for our energy resources? Coal, oil, and natural gas are formed by geological processes over millions of years. Certain geological formations can indicate a reservoir of coal, oil, or natural gas. Also, geothermal processes can be used as an energy resource. How are these formations identified? How are the resources extracted? You can use the to access, view, and download information from geospatial databases containing a broad spectrum of data produced by the… Read more
Geo_p025
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Project Idea
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?… Read more
Geo_p030
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Project Idea
What variables contribute to the properties of the soil in an area? Investigate the role of climate, weather, topography, time, parent material, vegetation, and biological and chemical agents on soil formation. How are soils characterized? There are 3 basic particle sizes which create three basic soil types: sand, silt, and clay. Investigate the properties of the three different types of soil by observing grain size, shape, hardness, color, chemical composition, pore space, aeration,… Read more
Geo_p034
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever noticed an old stone wall and wondered how long it has been there? If there is lichen growing on the wall, the lichen has most likely been living there since the time the wall was made, so if you could figure out how old the lichen is then you could deduce the age of the wall. Geologies use this method, called lichenometry, and other methods to establish dates and temporal sequences as they seek to construct a history from the available evidence. In this geology science project,… Read more
Geo_p009
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Local lichen species with suitable growth patterns for use in dating.
Material Availability Availability of suitable lichen species can depend on geographic area.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail What covers less than 10% of the Earth's surface, yet is a vital natural resource for terrestrial life? What filters ground water and supports most of our food production, not to mention the production of building materials and paper? The answer, often overlooked, is: soil. With this project you can get all the dirt on soil formation, soil horizons, and the composition of different soils. Read more
EnvSci_p011
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Minor injury possible
Project Idea
Soils are made of particles of different types and sizes. The space between particles is called pore space. Pore space determines the amount of water that a given volume of soil can hold. Porosity is the percentage of the total volume of soil that consists of pore space. Compare the porosity of different types of soil. Which types of soil hold the most water? Can you see this under a microscope? Read more
Geo_p035
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Project Idea
thumbnail When an earthquake happens, how are scientists able to determine the original location of the quake? In this project, you'll use archived data from a global network of seismometers to find out for yourself. You will make your own seismograms using the Global Earthquake Explorer program, and then use the seismograms to determine the location of earthquake epicenters. Read more
Geo_p021
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites This project uses the Global Earthquake Explorer program to download and analyze data from a global seismic network. In order to do this project you will need to be comfortable installing and working with a new program on your computer. This project requires a computer with high speed Internet access
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
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