2: Look for Patterns
Students will compare the map they created in Lesson
1 to a
map showing tectonic plates and look for a relationship.
Draw conclusions and find patterns in collected data
Deduce a cause/ effect relationship from given data.
Determine how plate movements relate to earthquake activity
One or two 45 minute class periods.
- Musical Plates journal/notebook OR
2 Student Worksheet
- Computers with Internet access
World map on which students have previously plotted the earthquakes
Direct students to Activity 2 in the Student Activities section.
After students have gone through the lesson on their own, have a group
discussion centering on the major concepts of the lesson.
Most earthquakes and volcanic eruptions do not strike randomly but occur
in specific areas, such as along plate boundaries.
Moving plates interact along their margins, which is why the majority of
the Earth's earthquakes are found at or near plate boundaries.
Plate tectonic forces are most evident at convergent boundaries where plates
are moving toward each other.
One of the most active plate boundaries where earthquakes are frequent
is around the massive Pacific Plate commonly referred to as the Pacific
Ring of Fire.
Most earthquakes occur at depths of less than 80 km (50 miles) from the
- The answers in the students' project journals / notebooks OR worksheets can be used for assessment
(e.g. Are the answers complete, accurate, and do they show an understanding of the lesson concepts?).
The following instructions for Student Activity 2 are printed in the Student Activities section of this web site.
IMPORTANT: You will need to use the world map that you have previously plotted the earthquakes.
Your teacher will tell you to record your answers in your 'Musical Plates' journal/notebook OR on the
- At the end of the two week period, study the map that you have produced
displaying the recent earthquake events. See if you can answer these questions:
- Do the earthquakes appear to occur all over the earth's surface or only in isolated regions?
- Is there a recognizable pattern to where earthquakes seem to occur?
- If such a pattern does exist, could you use it to determine where high risk earthquakes zones are located?
- Name several high risk zones that the President might want to know about.
- Now, compare your world map from Activity 1 which has the earthquakes plotted on it to
this tectonic plate map. See if you can answer these questions:
- Do you see any relationship between the map you created and the map above
showing tectonic plates?
- Do you think that there might be a correlation between tectonic plates
- What do you think this correlation is?
- What do you think is happening in the places where two plates are touching
- When two plates rub against each what might the results be? Why? How might
this relate to earthquakes?
NOTE: (Map used with permission of the United States Geological Survey (USGS), http://geology.er.usgs.gov/eastern/plates.html
- If you distinguished between shallow and deep earthquakes when you plotted
the data, examine this plate
boundary map that shows the types of boundaries (i.e. convergent, divergent, transform) that exist between certain plates.
See if you can answer the following questions:
- Do deep earthquakes seem to correlate to any particular type of plate boundary?
If so, what type of boundary?
- Do shallow earthquakes seem to correlate to any particular type of plate
boundary? If so, what type of boundary?
- If there is a correlation, can you explain it?