Students collaborate in small groups to investigate how energy is stored elastically in rocks and released suddenly as an earthquake (the earthquake cycle). This activity emphasizes the role of mechanical models in understanding and testing ideas in science.

Lesson Novice

Learning occurs as students work first in small groups and then as a whole class to compare predicted seismic wave travel times, generated by students from a scaled Earth model, to observed seismic data from a recent earthquakes. This activity uses models, real data and emphasizes the process of science.

Lesson Novice

Through a demonstration lead by the teacher, the discrepant concept of rocks exhibiting elastic behavior is physically illustrated with an easily obtained, inexpensive model.

Lesson Novice

Silly Putty™ allows students to discover that the structure we see in rocks provides evidence for they type of stress that formed. Students apply this idea by examining images of faults and folds experimentation with sponge models.

The faults and folds in rocks provide evidence that the rocks are subjected to compressional, tensional, and/or shear stress.

Lesson Novice

The slinky is an effective tool for the demonstration seismic wave characteristics and wave propagation. Slinkys can be used both individually and in various combinations to demonstration different concepts.

Lesson Novice

Remember the “stadium wave,” when one person stands and raises his hands in the air and the motion is translated completely around the arena? This simple kinesthetic demonstration uses a similar principal by sending seismic waves through a line of people to illustrate the difference between P waves and S waves propogating through various materials.  Lined up shoulder-to-shoulder, students to "become" the material that P and S waves travel through so that once "performed," the principles of seismic waves will not be easily forgotten.

Lesson Novice

In small groups of 3-4 students, design and construct a seismograph using common household and craft materials provided. Students will demonstrate to the class (by shaking their table) how their seismographs record motion (and if possible, the time of the disturbances).

Lesson Novice

A candy bar, made almost entirely from nougat, is a useful model for connecting strain in rocks to faulting (earthquakes) and folding.

Lesson Novice

Temp

Lesson Novice

Students will work in small groups to compare the rate of icequake occurrence in Greenland to measured air temperature over time.  This activity emphasizes the Earth systems concept by connecting seismic and atmospheric data sets from Greenland, and links climate change, glacial melting, and seismic activity.

Lesson Intermediate

In this activity, students explore of the concept of probability and the distribution of earthquake sizes, and then work to understand how earthquake hazards are described by probabilities. Students then work in small groups to collect and analyze data from a simple physical earthquake model and use online data to investigate and compare the earthquake hazards in California and Missouri.

Lesson Intermediate

In this multi-step lab, students explore the concepts of seismic wave propagation through materials with different mechanical properties, and examine seismic evidence from a recent earthquake to infer Earth’s internal structure and composition.  This lab is designed to be done with an instructor present to answer questions and guide students to conclusions

Lesson Intermediate

Students work in small groups to analyze and interpret Global Positioning System (GPS) and seismic data related to “mysterious ground motions” first along the northern California coastline, and then in British Columbia. This activity emphasizes the analysis and synthesis of multiple types of data and introduces a mode of fault behavior known as Episodic Tremor and Slip (ETS)

Lesson Intermediate

Students work in small groups to evaluate the merit of a predictive hypothesis for volcanoes by analyzing and comparing earthquake event data for the world, region during a time of no earthquake swarms and during an earthquake swarm. This activity uses a global data set as well as a data set form the Yellowstone Hotspot region.

Lesson Intermediate

Lecture Material on the concepts of Stress and Strain. Requires knowledge of vectors and tensors, as well as some matrix algeabra. Concepts such as eleastic and plastic deformation are discussed. This material could be used in conjunction with Stein and Wysession, Introduction to Seismology textbook, Chapter 2. 

Lesson Advanced

This lecture and exercise material is given as the introduction to a course on the petroleum industry. 

The intended audience is undergraduate students majoring in a branch of geosciences. This course assumes that you have had physical and historical geology, and several other geoscience courses.

Lesson Advanced

Discover the basic methods in finding oil, and the five (5) major components you need to cook, contain, and preserve a resource play.

Lesson Advanced

Examine the various tools used throughout the petroleum industry and apply them to the fictional Bonanza Basin.

Lesson Advanced

Learn to correlate the various types of core samples and measurements collected by the petroleum industry and what properties they measure! An overview of the collection strategies and the technology used to recovery data is discussed.

Lesson Advanced

Learn about land and marine seismic acquisition methods and processing techniques, and their use in the petroleum industry. The maps developed from seismic acquisition and interpretation can help to identify the location of hydrocarbons.

Lesson Advanced

Seismic reflection provides information about the subsurface stratigraphy and allows geoscientists to makes inferences regarding the geologic structure. This lesson introduces the concepts of frequency, period, and wavelength, and their relationships to velocity and density structure. An introduction to waveform polarity is included, along with the standard Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) convention.  

Lesson Advanced

Working in both small groups and as a whole class, students investigate the classic Earth science analogy: "Seismic waves radiate outward from an earthquake's epicenter like ripples on water". A discrepant image connects the unfamiliar concept of the spreading out of seismic waves to the more familiar scenario of ripples on water radiating outwards in all directions after a droplet falls onto a pool. 

Lesson Novice

All buildings have a natural frequency of oscillation or resonance frequency. When seismic waves shake the ground beneath a building at its resonance frequency, the structure will begin to sway back and forth. This concept can be demonstrated in the classroom using the BOSS Model Lite as a discrepant event demonstration to engage students in earthquake-engineered buildings.  

Lesson Novice

In this lab, students investigate a hotly debated topic relevant in the political, economic, and scientific arenas. They will examine the processes involved in unconventional oil and gas resource production, including hydraulic fracturing. In particular, they will examine nearby seismic activity and will be asked to determine if correlations can be established between fluid injection related to hydrofracking or wastewater disposal, and earthquake activity.

Lesson Intermediate

This Argument-Driven Inquiry (ADI) investigation allows students to explore and explain the occurrence of earthquakes and quantify the hazards they present. Students use a physical model, the earthquake machine, to explore the inputs and outputs of a natural system in Earth, to generate empirical evidence about the behavior of that system, and predict how that system may behave in the future. 

Lesson Novice

When organic material is contained and 'cooked' over time with proper temperature and pressure conditions, the formation may be a source rock that contains hydrocarbons. The source rock is the first of the essential elements necessary for hydrocarbon generation. This lesson introduces the source rock concept, and lays out what organic matter is needed and the proper environmental conditions necessary for hydrocarbon generation. The lecture material ends with a discussion about how a basin can be modeled to determine whether hydrocarbons are present. 

Lesson Advanced

A reservoir rock is the second essential element for a hydrocarbon play. This lesson follow that on 'Source Rocks', which is the first essential element for an effective hydrocarbon play. Students will learn about different terms (like porosity and permeability) that help to describe different types of reservoirs (conventional vs. unconventional). In addition, students will learn different geologic terms that will help to define and describe different environments of deposition (EODs).

Lesson Advanced

Structural analysis involves examination of all of the significant processes that formed a basin and deformed its sedimentary fill from basin-scale processes (e.g., plate tectonics) to centimeter-scale processes (e.g., fracturing). This lesson explores the seismic processing techniques that can resolve the formation and deformation of potential hydrocarbon fields.

Lesson Advanced

Hydrocarbon seal rocks are rock units with low permeability that impede the escape of hydrocarbons from the reservoir rock, like evaporites, chalks and shales. This lesson also explores the question that if given a particular trap, how much oil or gas can it hold? The student will examine the effectiveness of a given seal rock, and a particular trap to hold hydrocarbons.

Lesson Advanced

Squeezing uncooked spaghetti noodles in a wood template set in a bar clamp, effectively models how asperities (stuck patches) on a fault rupture at different times.

Lesson Novice

Learn about the earthquake magnitude scale and changes in the amount of energy released at each step by breaking different size bundles of uncooked spaghetti noodles! Students can both see and feel the differences in the energy released from a M4 - M8 quake. 

 

Lesson Novice

Build a Better wall is an activity developed by FEMA for their "Seismic Sleuths" instructional booklet for students to help with earthquake mitigation. This activity helps students learn how diagonal braces, shear walls, and rigid connections strengthen a structure to carry forces resulting from earthquake shaking.

Lesson Novice

Apply the basics of seismic reflection principles to interpret a geologic framework, conduct a data analysis, prospect for hydrocarbons, and then assess whether the basin should be bid on and provide an economic analysis.

Lesson Advanced

A new venture in the petroleum industry is the starting point for a potential oil and gas field. This lesson cover how companies work towards placing bids on license areas (blocks). Regional information on the Gippsland basin is also presented, and helps to lead towards a discussion of a mock lease sale of fifteen (15) blocks in the Gippsland basin.

Lesson Advanced

In this activity students use a mechanical fault model to collect empirical data, develop logical arguments about earthquake re-occurrence, and skeptically review other groups arguments. 

Lesson Novice

This lesson is on Prospect Mapping, and mainly focuses on the analysis of the previous exercise on New Ventures. This exercise is the solution of how the teams did on their bidding analysis, and which team 'won' the exercise. 

Lesson Advanced

Students will discover how scientists in the oil and gas industry risk a prospect. A manager wants to know what we think is the most likely volume of HC we expect, and the chance that this prospect will actually have that amount of HC. The bigger the possible “prize,” the more risk the manager would be willing to take on. What are the steps that petroleum geoscientists take to examine what the play will produce?

Lesson Advanced

What do petroleum geoscientists mean by a well-seismic tie, and are its purposes? This lesson explores the differences in examining pure vertical well logs and deviated wells, and how to make proper depth corrections for well logs and seismic data.

Lesson Advanced

This lesson gives a brief overview of seismic data acquisition. Acquisition surveys are expensive and critical - a lot of science goes into survey design and acquisition. The ultimate goal is to create a 2D line or 3D volume of seismic data that adequately samples the geology being mapped, and optimizes the data through signal enhancement and noise reduction.

Lesson Advanced

This lesson is an overview of seismic data processing. Seismic data acquisition and seismic data processing work together to produce the best earth image. Ideally, processed seismic data should represent the true earth response. In practice, however, the processed data will only be an approximation. The challenge is to estimate and remove the effects of non-geologic signals, without impacting the amplitude and phase of the primary reflections.

Lesson Advanced

This tutorial provides student with basic tools and procedures generally used to explore broadband seismic data in Matlab.

 

Lesson Advanced

Let’s say a big earthquake occurs and you want to learn more about it. In this lab you can explore how to download broadband data for this earthquake, conduct a simple event location,and determine the bodywave magnitude. 

Lesson Advanced

In this activity students will evalaute Silly Putty and Oobleck, both of which demonstrate proprieties of both solid and liquids, as a potential concrete model for Earth's Asthenosphere.

Lesson Novice

Explore learners prior knowledge and experiences with basic seismological concepts, while also introducing the participants to one another.

Lesson Novice

This activity uses a physical model to explore the mechanisms of intraplate seismic zones like the New Madrid Seismic Zone and the debate surrounding them. 

Lesson Novice

A (one might say the) fundamental problem in science is finding a mathematical representation, hopefully with predictive or insightful benefits, that describes a physical phenomenon of interest. In seismology, one such classic problem is determining the seismic velocity structure of the Earth from travel time or other measurements made on seismograms (seismic tomography). The document below provides lecture notes and an associated exercise to be completed in Matlab.

Lesson Advanced

To understand plate tectonic processes and hazards, and to better understand where future earthquakes are likely to occur, it is important to locate earthquakes as they occur. In this activity students use three-component seismic data from recent earthquakes to locate a global earthquake.

Lesson Novice

This lab explores the relationship between the time domain and the frequency domain while also introducing students to the numerical computing program MATLAB.

Lesson Advanced

This presentation and associated activity introduces students to both the concepts of processing marine seismic data as well a providing an introduction to PROMAX software.

Lesson Advanced

Like other waves, seismic waves obey the laws of physics. In this activity Physics students have the opportunity to apply their understanding of the basic concepts of waves (e.g. reflection, refraction and transmission of energy) as they examine seismic data to determine how far it is from the surface to the bedrock.

Lesson Intermediate

Magnitude and intensity are two commonly confused terms to describe an earthquake. This activity allows students to explore elationship between an earthquake's magnitude and intensity.

Lesson Novice

In this activity, students use a three-component accelerometer (iPhone, laptop or USB) to examine their assumptions about how 'hard" the ground shakes during an earthquake.

Lesson Novice

This tutorial guides you through using GMT, an open source collection of ~65 tools for manipulating geographic and Cartesian data sets, to make a simple map. Once created, the GMT code could easily be modified to build a map more suited for your own purposes.

Lesson Advanced

A collection of single slide thought-provoking questions (bell-ringers or exit questions), followed by a single slide answer) to help physics teachers connect and apply the principles of physics to the Earth.

Lesson Intermediate

In this activity, students use an accelerometer (iPhone, laptop or USB connected device) to kinesthetically explore the physical "meaning" of three component seismic data by moving an accelerometer to replicate a seismogram.

Lesson Novice

This activity allows the students to select a global region of interest and to interrogate the earthquake catalog to obtain quantitative data on the rate of occurrence of earthquakes of various magnitudes within their chosen region. Products lead to discussions of earthquake prediction and forcasting.

Lesson Novice

In this exercise, students will learn about the various types of plate boundaries, investigate well-known examples of some of these boundaries, and then apply what they have learned to East Africa to determine the most likely cause of seismicity in this area of the world.

Lesson Novice

Following a large or newworthy earthquake it is common for many geoscientists to be contacted by the medial. in this role playing activity, using the May 12, 2008 - Sichuan Earthquake as an example students must make an assessment of the earthquake in order to become prepared to discuss the event with the news media.

 

 

Lesson Advanced

In the Spring of 2005, the IRIS Consortium's EPO program guest edited a special seismology themed issue of The Earth Scientist. The Earth Scientist is the journal of the National Earth Science Teachers Association.

Lesson Novice

In the Spring of 2011, the IRIS Consortium's EPO program guest edited a special seismology themed issue of The Earth Scientist. The Earth Scientist is the journal of the National Earth Science Teachers Association.

Lesson Novice

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. 

Lesson Novice

This lesson will help to answer the question: 'What is 3D Seismic Data?'. Students will learn about the advantages of a 3D seismic survey, and how to plan a survey of their own. In addition, students will learn about the techniques used to process 3D seismic data, most notably the method of coherency.

Lesson Advanced

This lesson defines and describes the steps utilized in seismic interpretation: reconaissance, mapping major offsets, mapping horizons, and mapping small-offset faults. After the students have learned about these different steps in detail, they then apply this knowledge to an exercise. With their knowledge and application, the students should be able to generate a geologica framework.

Lesson Advanced

The fundamentals of stratigraphy come from the study of modern deposits and sedimentay outcrops. Wells allow us to study subsurface stratigraphy with cores and logs, at single or multiple locations. We can also analyze subsurface geology using seismic reflection data, and these observations can then be turned into stratigraphic predictions with depositional models.

Lesson Advanced

Sedimentary rocks are critical to oil and gas, whose types include source, reservoir, and seal rocks. Thus, we need to understand the sediminatary fill and the stratigraphic sequence within an area of interest. We can examine the location and rock properties of stratigraphic units through seismic data.

Lesson Advanced
With our geologic framework, we have mapped the significant horizons and faults, with special interest paid to depositional sequences (between sequence boundaries) that are potential reservoirs, sources, or seals. We want to know how thick depositional sequences are, the environments that they were deposted in (EODs), and the types of litholigies that they contain. Thickness maps provide information about the thickness (of course!), but can help us determine how EODs and lithologies vary across the area of interest.
Lesson Advanced

Given a set of sequence boundaries, we want to predict lithologies within each sequence with seismically-derived information and begin to consider where potential reservoir rocks offer us a drilling target. Our goal is to predict where we have potential reservoirs capped by potential seals. 

 

Lesson Advanced

Seismic attributes are mathematical descriptions of the shape or other characteristics of a seismic trace over a specified time (depth) interval. Seismic attributes are used to help in mapping stratigraphic features. Seismic attributes are used for qualitative analysis (e.g., data quality, seismic facies mapping) and quantitative analysis (e.g., net sand, porosity prediction).

Lesson Advanced

In exploration, we want to know, to the best of our ability, if there will be good quality reservoir rock where we propose to drill. This means two (2) things: (1) reservoir rocks are present, and (2) reservoir properties will be good enough to produce HCs. Our ultimate goal is to know how much HC is in the potential reservoir and what portion we can produce, the estimated ultimate recovery (EUR).

Lesson Advanced

Seismic direct hydrocarbon indicators (DHIs) are anomalous seismic responses caused by the presence of hydrocarbons. DHIs occur when a change in pore fluids causes a change in the elastic properties of the bulk rock which is seismically detectable (i.e. there is a “fluid effect”). DHIs display one or more types of characteristics that are consistent with hydrocarbons filling pores in a rock matrix. 

Lesson Advanced

We can take seismic data and process it to include all offsets (full stack) or select offsets (partial stacks). For hydrocarbon (HC) analysis, we often get a near-angle stack and a far-angle stack. The difference in amplitude for a target interval on near vs. far stacks can indicate the type of fluid within the pore space of a reservoir rock. Amplitude vs. offset (AVO) analysis examines such amplitude differences. Based on physics, we are more interest in AVA, amplitude versus angle, than AVO.
Lesson Advanced

Time-depth conversion is important throughout the exploration/development/production cycle, as inaccurate depth conversions can lead to poor business decisionsIntegration of geologic knowledge is the key to a good depth conversion - what geologic factors control the subsurface velocity structure?

Lesson Advanced

Ideally, we would like to turn each seismic trace into an impedance trace or, going even further, into a velocity and density pseudo-log. That would allow us to predict rock properties in an interval of interest rather than acoustic properties at a major rock boundary. Variations in velocity and density at each seismic trace are better indicators of lateral changes in rock properties, such as thickness, net:gross or porosity.

Lesson Advanced

In this lecture and exercises, you will estimate the ultimate recovery (EUR) of a hydrocarbon prospect. Once a prospect has been identified, the major business question is what will be the profit. The EUR is the amount of oil/gas that can be produced and sold. This material will help provide a step-by-step in how to obtain an EUR.

Lesson Advanced

This lesson covers the development phase of an asset's life, and also reviews the exploration and production phases of the life cycle. In the exploration phase, there is an opportunity to capture opportunities and discover hydrocarbons through large-scale to finer-scale analyses. The three (3) major considerations in the development phase are: (1) the area and thickness of the oil or gas reserves so we can estimate the volume; (2) the internal architecture of the reservoir rocks; and (3) how the reservoir is broken into separate compartments to be produced. The last stage of an asset's life is the production phase.

Lesson Advanced

Explore the “hot topic” of induced earthquakes with your students through an activity built on the Argument Driven Inquiry (ADI ) framework that supports three-dimensional learning. Students propose, support, evaluate, and revise ideas through data gathering, argumentation, and discussion.

Lesson Novice
We are ready to plan the development of an offshore field, and thus one or more platforms will be needed to produce the field. Many questions arise, some related to geoscience, engineering, economics, legal, finance, etc. One main difference between exploration and development is scale - exploration looks at a range of stratigraphic intervals over one block to an entire basin, and development knows the stratigraphic interval(s) and works to a much more limited area. Therefore, development geoscientists and stratigraphers have to be more detail-oriented.
Lesson Advanced
Once an asset has been discovered and the decision to develop the field has been made, often there is a reason to get better seismic data, either through reprocessing or reacquisition. For the production phase, we need as much detail on the reservoir as possible. The reservoir is usually composed of numerous compartments – elements that will have independent fluid movements. Each compartment of the field is mapped and the impacts on production evaluated.
Lesson Advanced
For success in a technical position, two (2) elements are critical, one without the other is less than ideal: (1) excellent technical abilities/work; and (2) great communication abilities. You need the ability to communicate to: (1) get cooperation; (2) sell your ideas; and (3) convince people of the value of your work (planned, in progress, or completed). In technical writing, write as you would speak in a conversation to those in your intended audience, and replace the suspense outline (passive voice) with the informative style (active voice).
Lesson Advanced

Students will produce P and S waves using a Slinky© to understand how seismic waves transfer energy as they travel through solids. All types of waves transmit energy, including beach waves, sound, light, and more. The velocity difference between the faster compressive P wave and the slower shearing S wave helps seismologists locate an earthquake’s epicenter.

Lesson Novice