Learning and teaching resources on hazards posed by earthquakes and tsunami and methods for mitigating those hazards are provided in this section. The treatment of earthquake hazards and damage highlights the main factors that control the violence of ground shaking produced by earthquakes. These include: earthquake magnitude; distance from the earthquake; local geology; building style; and duration of ground shaking. Using lesson plans provided, students can explore engineering approaches that minimize building damage from earthquake ground shaking. Basic concepts and properties of tsunami include: generation of tsunami by shallow great earthquakes at subduction zones; speed and travel times of tsunami in deep ocean and amplification of wave height upon landfall; and the contrast in time available for evacuation from a distant tsunami compared to a local tsunami.
To efficiently learn about Earthquake and Tsunami Hazards using the TOTLE web site and to locate teaching resources on this topic, we recommend that you start by viewing the PowerPoint presentations. First-time users should download and view these presentations to understand the logical sequence of observations and concepts. The presentation Earthquake Hazards PowerPoint Presentation provides fundamental concepts of earthquake damage and mitigation along with links the teaching resources for a middle school audience. The Tsunamis PowerPoint Presentation provides background information and links to tsunami teaching resources.
A PDF Guide to Earthquake and Tsunami Hazards is also available. This guide is an outline of the Earthquake and Tsunami Hazards topic. The guide contains links to TOTLE Earthquake ad Tsunami Hazards teaching resources and a table of contents of teaching resources on this topic.
News footage of damage caused by the October 1989 Loma Prieta (World Series) earthquake on the San Andreas Fault. Some of the most severe damage and many of the deaths from this earthquake occurred far from the epicenter. The heavy damage in Oakland and the Marina District of San Francisco demonstrate the effects of near surface geology on severity of earthquake shaking. Soft, water-saturated bay fill or naturally loose sediment adjacent to San Francisco Bay amplified ground shaking and also underwent liquefaction during the 1989 earthquake.
This video lecture shows John Lahr (USGS Seismologist Emeritus) describing the BOSS experiment that models oscillations of different height buildings.
Video Demonstration of the “Build a Better Wall” classroom activity designed to allow students to experiment with methods to build shear strength into buildings.
John Lahr, US Geological Survey Seismologist, demonstrating a cheap and kid-friendly version of the BOSS model that shows how buildings of different height oscillate during earthquake shaking.
John Lahr (USGS seismologist) demonstrates how to use spaghetti noodles and raisins to model building resonance during earthquake ground shaking. This is a “kid-friendly” version of the wood blocks and dowels BOSS model.
Video segment showing two model building on a shake table. One model building has no base isolation and shows violent shaking while the model building with base isolation shows much less shaking.
This video segment shows the contents of a room falling over and causing damage during a “shake table” experiment. The major point to make using this video segment is how contents of typical rooms in houses can injure of kill inhabitants as they fall over or move about during earthquake shaking. This video was developed by the Consortium of Universities for Research in Earthquake Engineering (CUREE), University of California at San Diego, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
This video segment shows the contents of a room falling over and causing damage during a “shake table” experiment. The major point to make using this video segment is how contents of typical rooms in houses can injure of kill inhabitants as they fall over or move about during earthquake shaking. Real examples were provided by the Chile earthquake of February 2010. Although most buildings in Chile withstood the earthquake shaking without collapse, many serious injuries and some deaths occurred because furniture, lighting fixtures, air ducts and other materials inside rooms fell on occupants.
This video segment is from the USGS video “Shock Waves — 100 Years After the 1906 Earthquake”. In this video, structural engineers describe failures of structures during past earthquakes and improved methods of structural design to mitigate earthquake damage. Base isolation of San Francisco City Hall is featured.
Link to the entire USGS program is given below.