Target Level Year 8 – 12
The theory of Plate Tectonics was a revolutionary new concept in the field of earth science. Only within the last 40 years has the idea that the crust is broken up into large moving plates been fully accepted. The movement of the tectonic plates is responsible for several phenomenon including; earthquakes, volcanic activity, and the building of mountain ranges and islands. This activity demonstrates the link between earthquake location and tectonic plate boundaries. Students will plot epicenters on a simplified planet map and use the above processes as clues to determine plate movement. The simplified Planet X. model reduces the complexity while retaining the essential features of Plate Tectonic Theory.
Does the Earth have tectonic plates?
1. Plot epicenters of eight earthquakes and locate and name tectonic plates of Planet X., a fictitious earth colony.
2. Complete three simple, hands-on activities to gain an understanding of topographic clues such as Island Arcs, Volcanic Mountain ranges and Hot Spots to determine plate movement on Planet X.
3. Relate Planet X. data to the Earth and demonstrate an understanding of the current theory of plate tectonics and the role of seismic data in determining theoretical plate boundaries;
1. Copies of Plate Tectonics Activity.
2. Colored pencils or markers and a ruler.
3. Modeling Clay, rolling pin, clay cutting tools and oil.
4. Supply of Ping Pong balls.
Hyperlinks to PLATE TECTONICS ACTIVITY
Figure 1 Map of Planet X showing plate boundary interaction.
Topic 1. Inquiry, Process and Problem Solving.
Topic 8. Composition of the Earth.
Topic 18. Formation of Earth’s features
BOLT, Bruce A., Earthquakes, W.H. Freeman and Company, New York, NY, 1999
STRADLER, Arthur N., Plate Tectonics, Geo Books Publishing, Cambridge, MA, 1998
This site has links to great hands-on activities for earthquake science.
Download “This Dynamic Planet” (T. Simkins and others.) here or order a copy of the map from US Geological Survey, Box 25286, Denver, CO. 80225. for $7 + $5 shipping.
“This Dynamic Earth, The Story of Plate Tectonics”, is a companion text to the above map.
“About Earthquakes” has links to an excellent collection of lectures.