In the Wake of Shake
While smaller US earthquakes made recent news, like the 6.5 magnitude shake in Northern California that was felt up into central Oregon, the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck near Port-au-Prince, Haiti yesterday, has brought earthquakes into the foreground of national news and media reports - and thus in the awareness of students.
According to reports, the quake in Haiti, an area where earthquakes are not common, was the strongest in 200 years. The world map of earthquakes in the last 7 days on the USGS site shows four earthquakes in the Haiti area, including a 5.3 magnitude shake this morning. While the extent of the damage has not yet been determined, the immediate and visible effects indicate that the quakes were devastating to the small Caribbean country.
The following Science Buddies Project Ideas can help students and classes talk about both the geology of earthquakes as well as civil engineering and the kinds of considerations that go into designing stronger and more earthquake-resistant structures.
Geology of Earthquakes:
- Locating the Epicenter of an Earthquake (Science Buddies' Difficulty Level: 6-8)
- Ring of Fire 2: What Earthquakes Tell us About Plate Tectonics (Science Buddies' Difficulty Level: 5-6)
- How Fast do Seismic Waves Travel? (Science Buddies' Difficulty Level: 5-8)
- Is There a Whole Lot of Shaking Going On? Make Your Own Seismograph and Find Out. (Science Buddies' Difficulty Level: 6-7)
- Building the Tallest Towers (Science Buddies' Difficulty Level: 1)
- Bridges That Can Take a Shake (Science Buddies' Difficulty Level: 2-3)
- Set Your Table for a Sweet and Sticky Shake (Science Buddies' Difficulty Level: 4)
Note: The "Set Your Table for a Sweet and Sticky Shake" project contains a video clip of Courtney Corda, Science Buddies Vice President and "Science Mom" performing the experiment on an episode of "View from the Bay."
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