Musical Plates
Edison Middle School., West Orange New Jersey
Submitted May, 2002

Dear Mr. President:

Being head of a seismological research group, I am conducting studies on earthquakes. Earthquakes are created when the tectonic plates of earth's crust collide or break away from each other. Stress causes the surface of the earth to change shape and move. Such stresses that cause the plates to move include compression and tension. Compression makes the tectonic plates crash into each other, while tension forces the plates to pull away from on another. Both stresses cause the tectonic plates to create massive vibrations. These intense shockwaves, or seismic waves, makes the surface of the earth shake and tremble, which is known as an earthquake.

Certain parts of the world tend to experience earthquakes more than other places, mainly near the tectonic boundaries. Many of them occur in the Ring of Fire, an area that encircles the Pacific Ocean. Most of these earthquakes happen near the coasts of land formations, mainly at the edge of the Pacific Ocean. Earthquakes seem to surround Japan's southern coasts.

After analyzing the data, I have found a trend in earthquake magnitude and depth. A large majority of deep earthquakes occurs near islands located in the Ring of Fire. Most of the deep earthquakes in the Ring of Fire happen near the East edge of the Pacific Ocean, but at the northwestern coasts of New Zealand, many earthquakes are of great depth occur. Overall, the depths of earthquakes are shallow, in terms of magnitude, it is almost the same in all the earthquakes, somewhere around 4-5 on the Richter Scale.

Mr. President, I feel that you should continue funding my research team. This project has proven useful, both educationally and for the safety of the people. By plotting the coordinates of the recent earthquakes, I have learned where many of them take place. If we can predict when and where the earthquakes will happen, then there will be an increase of a possibility of evacuating people who are in danger of getting caught in the earthquakes. With your help, many lives can be saved.



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