On December 20, 2007 an earthquake with a magnitude 6.8 struck the North Island of New Zealand. Its epicenter was located about 150 kilometers east of the Taupo Volcano. Even though the magnitude was strong, there has been no damage reported thus far from the Gisbourne area. Other volcanoes in the affected chain include: Ruapehu, White Island, Rotorua, Kaikohe and Maroa.
Current earthquakes can be a great way to get your students interested in earth science topics like seismology, tectonics, volcanism, thermal energy and the Earth’s natural recycling process. Tracking earthquake clusters is easy to do when you have a link to the Internet. Most of the earthquake monitor services around the world have a live feed on their websites. Use these sites to keep your students up-to-date with earthquake activity.
There are a lot of earthquake and volcano science projects that your students can work on. The first is very easy and very inexpensive. All you have to do is simply assign students to track the earthquake activity in specific areas of the world. You can also track the seismic activity in your area if you live in a seismically active area like the Cascades or the Pacific Rim.
Another project that you can put together is to study the ripple effect created by seismic activity. For example, when an earthquake is detected keep your eyes open for other earthquakes in other parts of the world. Plot the series of earthquakes to demonstrate the movement of the Earth’s tectonic plates or to create a visual representation of energy waves moving from the epicenter of the main earthquake to other parts of the world.