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Epicenters

OVERVIEW
Plotting earthquakes.

Today we learned that there are many active places around the world where earthquakes occur. The most active places are the Ring of Fire, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and The Mediterranean-Himalayan belt. We also learned about the Mercalli and Richter scale, and the most earthquake-prone states in the US.

plate tectonics plot map

CONCEPTS
Plot on a world map the locations of some of the earthquakes that occurred during the 1990s.

Analyze the locations of earthquakes around the world.

Locate three areas of intense earthquake activity on a map.

Hypothesize about the reasons for patterns in the locations of earthquakes.

MAIN IDEAS
1. What are some patterns you notice from the data you’ve plotted on your map?
Answer: The seismic activity sometimes occurs along mountain chains, coastal areals, and islands. The Ring of Fire is a circle of seismic activity that surrounds the Pacific Ocean and borders S. America, N. America, Alaska, Eastern Asia and Indonesia. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge is part of the longest mountain chain on earth, and it’s underwater! The Mediterranean-Himalayan Belt is a strip of seismic activity that stretches from the Himalayan Mts all the way to the Mediterranean Sea in Europe.

2. Which U.S. states are the most earthquake prone?
Answer: California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. They are all located in the Ring of Fire. Hawaii is also earthquake-prone.

3. What causes patterns in earthquake activity?
Answer: Most earthquake activity occurs along the tectonic plate boundaries.

VOCABULARY
Magnitude: A measure of the total amount of energy released at the source of an earthquake. Magnitude is determined by the amplitude, or swing, of an earthquake wave recorded on a seismogram.

Aftershock: An earthquake wave that follows the main shock of an earthquake.

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