dynamic planet

A Model of Three Faults

One of the most frightening and destructive phenomena of nature is a severe earthquake and its terrible aftereffects. An earthquake is a sudden movement of the Earth, caused by the abrupt release of strain that has accumulated over a long time. For hundreds of millions of years, the forces of plate tectonics have shaped the Earth as the huge plates that form the Earth's surface slowly move over, under and past each other. Sometimes the movement is gradual. At other times, the plates are locked together, unable to release the accumulating energy. When the accumulated energy grows strong enough, the plates break free. If the earthquake occurs in a populated area, it may cause many deaths and injuries and extensive property damage.

Connecting With Nature

Go on an adventure with the Blue Goose, the symbol of the National Wildlife Refuge System!

Conservation in Action

Join the conservation movement with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service!

Core Sampling

Drilling is the only way to be sure that oil and gas fields exist and exactly what is present in the formation. Core samples reveal the physical and chemical nature of the rock. In this activity, you will create a model formation and “drill” for samples.

Dating Popcorn

How do geologists understand the Earth’s history? In part, they measure the age of rocks and other natural materials by dating techniques. They can date rocks by gauging the amount of decay of radioactive elements. You can simulate the dating process with popcorn.

Dynamic Wetlands

Learn about the importance of wet and dry seasons in wetland ecology. Students will learn to understand the wetlands as precious ecosystems.

Exploring Caves

An instructional unit on caves for grades K-3. Five short chapters, with follow-up activities and lessons.

Exploring for Petroleum - Modeling an Oil Reserve

Doing this investigation will help you understand how geoscientists identify and explore petroleum-rich reserves.

Geologic Age

This activity will have students collect data, graph it, and compare the information to what they already know about radioactive elements and dating the planet's age.

Geologic Maps & Earthquakes

You can find out a great deal of information from geologic maps — from the types of rocks that make up a rock unit to the age of those rocks and the angle at which the rock bed is tilted. By identifying fractures and fracture zones in rock, geologic maps can even tell you where known faults are located.


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