In this activity, students plot worldwide earthquake epicenters using current reports of seismicity available from the IRIS Seismic Monitor. These plots reveal narrow zones of seismic activity globally that will aid in understanding plate tectonics.
This activity is designed to stimulate interest in global earthquake patterns and their causes. It provided a natural transition to teaching about plate tectonics. The inquiry nature of the activity promotes critical thinking and questioning by the students.
This activity is made up of two lessons. The first, Where in the World? takes approximately 50 minutes, and reviews latitude and longitude, and the use of earthquake magnitude and depth. The second, What's Shaking? is a long-term plotting exercise in which students regularly gather earthquake data throughout the academic year (or semester) and plot them on a world wall map.