dynamic planet

Model of a Normal Fault

A normal fault occurs when rocks break and move because they are being pulled apart. As the area is stretched, the rocks move along the fault. Each movement causes an earthquake. This model demonstrates how a block of rock is extended by a normal fault.

Modeling Earthquake Waves

An earthquake occurs when massive rock layers slide past each other. This motion makes enormous vibrations, which travel from the site of the earthquake in waves. In this activity, you will model how earthquakes move in three dimensions.

Places on the Planet: Latitude and Longitude

Citizen scientists involved in the Geological Society of America's EarthCaching project (http://www.earthcache.org) use GPS technology and latitude and longitude coordinates to find special places on the Earth. This activity will help you learn how to find locations using latitude and longitude.

Ring of Fire

In this activity, you’ll identify plate boundaries as well as continents, countries, and bodies of water to become familiar with an area known as the “Ring of Fire.”

Seismic Calendar

This activity allows you to investigate how often earthquakes of various magnitudes happen within a geographic region of your choice. You will use the online resources of the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) to do the investigation. These resources are available at http://www.iris.edu

Seismic Mapping

Scientists use seismic technology to map patterns of rock formations below the surface of the Earth. Different types of rocks affect sound waves. Geologists use these sound waves to locate rocks that may contain oil and/or natural gas. You can explore this principle with a tuning fork and various rocks. Gently strike a fork against the rocks. Note variations in sounds produced by different rocks. How could scientists use this information to help map the rock layers underground? In the following activity, you will explore one way scientists find oil beneath the Earth’s surface.

Take the Pulse of Your Classroom

The following activity can leverage SeisMac technology to help students understand how a seismometer records ground motions.

Termites 2016

1 page. An infographic depicting a termite mound. Very informative text blocks throughout.

The Mountain Blows its Top

Students will observe fault movements on a model of the earth's surface.

Third From the Sun

In 1972, NASA launched a special satellite called Landsat that contained a new camera designed to take pictures of the Earth. Why was this satellite so incredible? Well, it could take a series of pictures of almost the entire Earth over and over again, season after season, month after month, year after year. You will be seeing Landsat images in this activity and learn how to interpret them.


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