John Lahr (US Geological Survey Emeritus) describes the two-block “Earthquake Machine” model. Connecting two blocks together begins to model interactions between adjacent patches on a fault. The two-block model demonstrates how motion on one area of a fault can increase stress on an adjacent area, bringing it closer to failure in an earthquake.
John Lahr (US Geological Survey Emeritus) describes the single-block Earthquake Machine model. This simple physical model demonstrates the “earthquake cycle”, the slow accumulation of elastic energy in rocks adjacent to a fault followed by rapid release of elastic energy during an earthquake.
Demonstration of brittle fracture by bending and breaking a yard stick.
Video lecture on how temperature controls mechanical behavior of materials, including rocks. A Big Hunk candy bar is used as a model. The cold candy bar is brittle while the warm candy bar is ductile or plastic.
This student worksheet was developed by Chris Hedeen at Oregon City High School. The activity allows students to explore how blocks of Earth’s crust move across different kinds of faults. Emphasizes the connection between faults and earthquakes. Shorter activity than Types of Faults #2. Does not require construction of three-dimensional models. The three-dimensional visualization skills required may make this activity most appropriate for high school students.
This student worksheet was developed by Chris Hedeen, Oregon City High School. The activity allows students to explore how blocks of Earth’s crust move across different types (strike-slip, normal, reverse) of faults. Drawing geometries of faults and building paper models reinforce concepts and visualization of faulting. Connections are made to specific faults in different areas of Oregon.
A teacher’s guide to using foam models to demonstrate principles of different kinds of faults. This guide is a minor modification of the original teacher’s guide developed by Professor Larry Braile of Purdue University. Three-dimensional visualization is sometimes challenging for students. Use of three-dimensional foam models to represent blocks of Earth’s crust can allow students to visualize how crustal blocks across different types of faults. It is important to emphasize that blocks of crust often move in “jerks” rather than sliding smoothly and steadily. Earthquakes are the result of sudden motion of blocks of crust along a fault. Students sometimes find the expression “earthquakes are jerks” memorable and a key to understanding the connection between faults and earthquakes.
Students investigate how seismic waves travel through Earth’s internal layers and bounce and bend at internal boundaries between mantle, outer core, and inner core. The December 26, 2004 Sumatra earthquake is chosen as the source of seismic waves but this lesson can be adapted to a dozen other large earthquakes. This lesson plan was developed by Roger Groom, Mt Tabor Middle School, Portland Oregon.
The SeismicWaves program is freeware developed by Alan Jones. The program runs on any PC (NOT MAC) and is downloadable from http://bingweb.binghamton.edu/%7Eajones/#Seismic%20Waves
Students investigate world seismicity and volcanic eruptions using SeismicEruption program. Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions from 1960 to present are animated at a rate controlled by the user and for entire Earth or for specified regions. Earthquakes can be selected by magnitude and volcanic eruptions can be selected by volcanic explosivity index. In this way, large earthquakes and large eruptions can be selected to emphasize how different types of plate boundaries are characterized by different magnitudes of earthquakes (e.g. no major or great earthquakes occur on spreading ocean ridges). This lesson plan was developed by Roger Groom, Mt Tabor Middle School, Portland Oregon.
The SeismicEruption program runs is freeware developed by Alan Jones. The program runs on any PC (NOT MAC) and is downloadable from
A teacher’s guide to using a slinky to demonstrate motions produced by different types of seismic waves. This guide was developed by Professor Larry Braile (Purdue University). This guide can be used in conjunction with the computer animations of seismic slinky waves and video clips of slinky waves posted under Introduction to Plate Tectonics and Earthquakes, Animations
A more complete guide to use of the slinky to model seismic waves and general properties of seismic waves can be found at Larry Braile’s site at URL below.