Earthquake Hazards: Next big one?

Geoscientists use probability to describe potential earthquake effects in a given location. This exercise will explore seismic hazards for various regions, which can be described by the likelihood of a certain level of ground shaking for a particular region. Once the seismic hazard is quantified, the seismic risk can be estimated by determining the potential effects of the shaking on buildings and other structures. Students begin by finding the probability of an earthquake of a particular magnitude occurring during different periods in different regions, and comparing these results. Next, students investigate the probability that the ground in each region will shake by a certain amount, during a given length of time and compare those results. Finally, students consider the societal implications of these hazards and how this seismic hazard information might be used to improve community resilience.

The development of this resources was funded by the National Science Foundation via Award # 0942518


Students will be able to:

  1. Compare and contrast the probability of an earthquake occurring in different regions and relate that probability to the seismic hazard of the regions.
  2. Explain in a written essay how a region can have a high seismic hazard but have a low seismic risk. 
  3. Describe at least three factors that affect the intensity of an earthquake at a given location.

Total Time: 45min
Level: Intermediate


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