Real Time Earthquake Data Mapping Activity

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 10.53.35 PM
Image Source: USGS

Essential Questions:

  • Where do earthquakes occur?
  • How are earthquakes recorded and measured?
  • What is the relationship between earthquake location and magnitude?
  • How do earthquakes impact humans and the environment?

Materials:

  • Internet Access & USGS Earthquake Data
    • this link is set to the following settings: 30 days, 2.5+ magnitude, terrain, and no plate boundaries
  • Google Sheets Template – one per table top map
    • Earthquake Data Mapping Activity (Public Template)
      • to edit this spreadsheet, make a copy for each map, then share editing rights with each group of students who will be working on that map
        • if you don’t use Google Drive, you can download the Google Sheet as an Excel spreadsheet
      • ex: Map A data is shared with 4 students from period 1, 4 students from period 2, 4 students from period 3, 4 students from period 4, and 4 students from period 5. When done, they will have 200 EQs plotted and color coded on the table top map.

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 11.02.27 AM.png

  • Colored pencils or markers per map
  • 1 Table sized map per lab group (3-6 students) – printed and assembled
    • The map will remain on the table, as the next class comes in, they will add the data for their assigned region(s) to the same map as the class before them

Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 2.26.55 PM

Procedures:

  1. Assemble one table map and materials per lab group.
  2. Show students how to use and navigate the USGS website, find EQ data, and how to record their data on the Google Spreadsheets.
  3. Assign each group a map and 1-2 regions of the world. They will collect 25 data points for each region. They can choose any EQs over a magnitude of 3.0 for their region(s).
  4. Once they have all of their data, they will plot the EQs onto the table map. The magnitude of the EQ is the color they will plot onto the map.
    1. ex. Magnitude of 7.5 will be a purple dot
  5. Students will analyze their data and look for patterns
    1. What regions of the world have EQs?
    2. What regions of the world had more EQs? Less?
    3. What regions of the world had lower magnitude EQs? Higher?
    4. Why are EQs located where they are?
    5. etc…
  6. After this activity, I introduced Plate Tectonics and we discussed the relationship between EQs and tectonic plates.

 

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2 thoughts on “Real Time Earthquake Data Mapping Activity

  1. Jenelle Hahn February 23, 2018 / 12:57 am

    I’d love to use this with my middle school class studying geology. The National Geographic link no longer works–what degree of detail do you look for in the table maps? Lat/Long, Country names/borders, major cities….anything else? Any other ideas for a good source of big, printable maps?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Liz LaRosa February 28, 2018 / 3:19 pm

      Yikes! I will have to find a replacement link to update that, thank you for letting me know! Either a topographic or political map works well as long as it shows Lat & Long. ~Liz

      Like

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