Table-Top Earthquakes Demonstration

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Link to Resource: https://pubs.usgs.gov/of/1998/ofr-98-0767/
Resource Type:Classroom Activities; Curricula and Instruction
Grade Level:
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Language:English
Organization:United States Geological Survey (USGS)
Summary:The apparatus consists of a heavy object that is dragged steadily with an elastic cord. Although pulled with a constant velocity, the heavy object repeatedly slides and then stops. A small vibration sensor, attached to a computer display, graphically monitors this intermittent motion. This intermittent sliding motion mimics the intermittent fault slippage that characterizes the earthquake fault zones. In tectonically active regions, the Earth's outer brittle shell, which is about 50 km thick, is slowly deformed elastically along active faults. As the deformation increases, stress also increases, until fault slippage releases the stored elastic energy. This process is called elastic rebound.
Earth Science Big Ideas:Big Idea 1; Big Idea 4; Big Idea 8
NGSS Discplinary Core Ideas:ESS2.B
NGSS Performance Expectations:HS-ESS1-5; MS-ESS2-3
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:Analyzing and interpreting data; Engaging in argument from evidence
NGSS Crosscutting Concepts:Patterns
Subjects: earthquake; engineering; plate tectonics; seismology; usgs
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