Modeling intraplate earthquakes with Booby Trap

30min Novice

Earthquakes that occur within plate boundaries, called intraplate earthquakes, have long intrigued both students and educators. Classroom exploration of U.S. seismicity and hazards maps inevitably generates numerous questions from the learners regarding the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ). Unfortunately, many earth science teachers are not prepared to exploit this interest by discussing the ongoing debate regarding the seismic hazard in the region. This intreractive demonstration is designed to empower teachers, through the use of a physical model, the Booby Trap (TM), to explore both the possible mechanics of intraplate quakes and what this may mean for hazard models in the region. 


Students will be able to

  • Explain possible mechanisms for intraplate earthquakes (e.g. New Madrid seismic zone). 
  • Differentiate intraplate quakes plate boundary quakes
  • Hypothesize how past locations of earthquakes may/may not be predictors of future events in intraplate seismic zones

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