Physical Geology 101

Below is an outline for the video Earthquakes, part of the Earth Revealed series. This video will be viewed in class. This video is also available for viewing online at the following link: Earth Revealed: Earthquakes.

Earth Revealed: Earthquakes

Earthquake Myths
Earthquakes Defined
Seismic Waves
Magnitude Scales
Surface Waves
Parkfield, California Project
Motion Detection Equipment


What are earthquakes?

How are earthquakes generated?

What is the hypocenter of an earthquake?

What is the epicenter of an earthquake?

Where do most earthquakes occur?

With what tectonic features are earthquakes associated?

Seismic Waves

What are the four forms of seismic waves and their properties?

Location of the Epicenter

How is this difference in seismic wave speed used to determine the distance to the epicenter of the earthquake?
Distance to the epicenter equation:

Earthquake Magnitudes

What is the magnitude of an earthquake really measuring?

What is the earthquake scale?

Magnitude Size

Magnitude Times Larger than a Magnitude 1 Exponential
1 1 300
2   301
3   302
4   303
5   304
6   305
7   306
8   307
9   308

Largest Earthquakes

Largest Earthquakes in the World Since 1900
Location Year Magnitude
1. Chile 1960  
2. Prince William, Alaska 1964  
3. Off the Coast of N. Sumatra 2004  
4. Kamchatka 1952  
5. East coast of Honshu, Japan 2011  
6. Offshore Maule, Chile 2010  
7. Off the Coast of Ecuador 1906  
8. N. Sumatra, Indonesia 2005  
9. Rat Islands, Alaska 1965  
10. Andreanof Islands., Alaska 1957  

Earthquakes Damage

Why does an earthquake destroy or seriously damage one building, while buildings on either side of it may be undamaged or only slightly damaged?

Earthquake Monitoring

With what type of equipment are seismic waves measured?

What are some of the tools and equipment being used to monitor and predict earthquakes?

Can earthquakes be predicted with any certainty?

Additional Resources

Google Earth KML File: Earthquakes: 1990 to 2005, >Mag. 5
Link requires that you already have Google Earth loaded on your computer. Clicking on the link will open the file in your Temporary Places folder in Google Earth.