Return to PEPP Curriculum Page
submitted to the 2002 PEPP Earthquake Science Institute, Indiana University.
Ewa Shannon, Crown Point High School, Crown Point, Indiana.
My 9th grade earth science classes spend several weeks investigating the nature of earthquakes.
Proposed Curriculum Activites for 2002
The twenty-five PEPP seismograph stations can be accessed to illustrate many of the earth science activities listed above. I plan to use PEPP data in the following ways:
1. Epicenter location for the June 18, 2002 Darmstadt earthquake can be determined using recordings from Princeton High School (PPPCH), Northview High School (PPNVW) and Muncie Central High School (PPMUN). Any three PEPP stations can be used, but these three show the greatest difference in P wave arrival time. Students will determine the epicenter using the time intervals between the P and S waves at the three stations and time-travel graphs. This activity will highlight the potential for earthquakes in southern Indiana and can also be used to teach earthquake intensity using the Mercalli scale. Local newspaper accounts of the Darmstadt earthquake will be collected to compare eyewitness descriptions to other eyewitness accounts from other earthquakes.
2. Compare the differences of seismograms from local as opposed to teleseismic earthquake events. PEPP station records illustrate time lag between P and S waves, which can be used to describe the difference in properties between P and S waves and their respective speeds through the earth.
3. Compare PEPP data from local and teleseismic earthquake events to the recordings from nearby mine or quarry blasts. The distinctive signature of each type of event can be used to further explore mine blast practices. Blast times and magnitudes would be requested from the mine or quarry. This activity could evolve into a more detailed unit on mining, the local resource being mined, and the contributions of mining to the local society and economy. Mining is frequently seen as a mixed blessing to the local economy: while it provides jobs, it also causes noise and other types of pollution.
4. PEPP data can be used to illustrate the seismic shadow zone. The seismic record of a large earthquake originating within 103 degrees of Crown Point, Indiana, can be compared to USGS seismograms of earthquakes beyond 103 degrees. Discuss with students why PEPP stations do not record the more distant events. This activity can lead into further discussion of the earth's interior, the composition of the core, and how seismograms initially lead scientists to conclude the existence of a semi-molten outer core. This activity can be to the Journey to the Center of the Earth tour as described by L. W. Braile and S. J. Braile (www.eas.purdue.edu/~braile/edumod/journey/journey.htm). Students would research selected stops on the tour, and provide descriptions of each milestone on their journey to earth's center.
5. Because of the historical significance of the New Madrid fault zone, and because southern Indiana lies within the fault area, PEPP data can be used to develop student understanding of the ancient Reelfoot Rift. Students will conduct library and internet searches to determine the average number of New Madrid area earthquakes for each year during the past five years. These numbers will be compared to other seismically active areas. This activity can also lead to a library search of eyewitness accounts of the 1811 and 1812 series of earthquakes. Maps of seismic risk will be used in class to discuss how reinforced building construction can reduce damage and loss of life from devastating earthquakes.
Return to PEPP Curriculum Page