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Lessons and Activities

These resources will help students in grades 6–8 focus on the mechanics of earthquakes and tsunamis and learn about protecting people and property.

March 11 Earthquake and Tsunami

Teaching Geoscience with Visualizations: Using Images, Animations, and Models Effectively—2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. Browse this set of visualizations to learn more about the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Map of the Damage from the Japanese Earthquake. Find photographs on this interactive map of places in Japan damaged by the earthquake and tsunami.

Magnitude 9.0 Great Earthquake Near East Coast of Honshu, Japan. Read this earthquake summary, examine maps indicating where foreshocks occurred, review regional tectonics, and analyze a seismogram.


Living in Earthquake Country (ORC #11514). Investigate how and why earthquakes cause damage by exploring a number of different things including seismic waves, the ability of scientists to predict the likelihood and severity of earthquakes at specific locations, the difference between magnitude and intensity, the occurrence of earthquakes along patches of planar faults, and the potential damage caused by earthquakes such as landslides, liquefaction, and structural failure.

Musical Plates (ORC #527). Access real-time earthquake data to solve an authentic problem.

The Earth Moves under My Feet (ORC #6553). Monitor seismic data online and plot geographic coordinates of real-time earthquake activity.

Earthquake Hazards Program (ORC #558). Find data for recent earthquakes.

The Effects of the Great New Madrid Earthquakes in Ohio (ORC #513). Learn about the historic New Madrid earthquakes and their impact on Ohio.

Faultline: Seismic Science at the Epicenter. Explore San Francisco earthquakes through this interactive site.

Faults and Fault Zones. Discover some of the surface features related to various types of faults.

Building Quake-Resistant Structures in the Classroom. Design a structure that can withstand an earthquake.

Animations for Earthquake Terms and Concepts. Visualize earthquake terms and concepts through these animations.

Earthquake Facts. Marvel at some interesting facts about earthquakes.

Animations in Essentials of Geology: Chapter 8, "A Violent Pulse: Earthquakes." View these animations of types of faults, seismic wave motion, and seismograph workings.

Listening to Earthquakes. Listen to these earthquake wave frequencies that have been converted to sound frequencies you can hear.

Today in Earthquake History. Look back in time to learn where earthquakes occurred on this day in history.


Tsunami: An Interactive Guide That Could Save Your Life. Explore the fundamentals of tsunamis, recent tsunami news, historic tsunamis, and ways to survive a tsunami.

JASON News Highlights. Play an interactive tsunami propagation game, explore real-world tsunami data, and observe the behaviors and properties of tsunamis as they strike a shoreline.

Tsunami: The Great Waves. Investigate how fast and how big tsunamis can be, what causes them, and how people and property can be protected.

Tsunami. Compare ocean tsunamis and fjord tsunamis and learn how they behave differently.

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Disaster in Japan. Participate in this Exemplary Resources for Middle School Math and Science blog and share information and resources that have been helpful to you.

Fundamentals of Physical Geography [excerpt]: Chapter 10, "Introduction to the Lithosphere" (ORC #9173). Review this comprehensive overview of the Earth's surface features and the processes that shape them.

OhioSeis: The Ohio Seismic Network (ORC #510). Learn more about Ohio's earthquake history and potential.

NOAA Center for Tsunami Research. Watch narrated animations of the Honshu tsunami of March 11 and review tsunami-related data.

The Quake-Catcher Network. Join the Quake-Catcher Network and request a USB sensor so you can help researchers learn more about earthquakes. Download interactive software to learn more about earthquakes.