Earthquakes Photo Credit: Clipart.com
Earthquakes are a natural phenomenon. The top plates of the earth are in constant motion, but generally move so slowly as to be imperceptible to humans. Occasionally, however, these plates, which have jagged edges, catch on each other. When they become unstuck, the built-up energy is released and is experienced as an earthquake, which can range from so mild that it is noticed only by scientific instruments to so devastating that it causes severe and widespread damage. These Science NetLinks resources offer students a variety of opportunities to learn more about earthquakes. We hope you find them useful.
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  • Rock Hunters

    Rock Hunters

    K-2  |  Hands-On
    Students will observe rocks and, through their observations, begin to develop an understanding that there are many types of rocks with a multitude of different attributes.
  • Sampling Rocks

    Sampling Rocks

    K-2  |  Hands-On
    In this lesson, students will collect and analyze a sample of rocks from the schoolyard.
  • Earthquakes


    In this lesson, students examine how earthquakes follow the natural plate boundaries and how these boundaries help us predict where earthquakes are most likely to occur.
  • Earth Movers

    Earth Movers

    9-12  |  Hands-On
    In this lesson, students explore plate tectonics and to understand how mountains, earthquakes, and volcanoes are related to the movements of plates.


  • Tsunamis: Know What to Do!

    Tsunamis: Know What to Do!

    K-5  |  Video
    This short film from the San Diego County Office of Emergency Services explains the basic concepts of tsunamis and safety preparedness.
  • Science of a Tsunami

    Science of a Tsunami

    6-12  |  Video
    This video from CBS News, covers the most recent tsunami that hit Samoa in 2009 and includes animation of how the earth's plates move under the ocean.

Science Updates

  • Crack Dynamics

    Crack Dynamics

    6-12  |  Audio
    We see cracks every day—on the sidewalk, in a wall, or in a window. But just because they’re common doesn’t mean they’re easy to study scientifically. You'll learn why in this Science Update.
  • Gold Mine Quakes

    Gold Mine Quakes

    6-12  |  Audio
    Studying small earthquakes earthquakes in gold mines can help scientists learn more about major earthquakes.
  • Predicting Earthquakes

    Predicting Earthquakes

    6-12  |  Audio
    In this Science Update, learn how a master model of Southern California geology can help predict earthquakes.
  • Quake Side Effects

    Quake Side Effects

    6-12  |  Audio
    In this Science Update, learn why days are now 3 millionths of a second shorter because of the earthquake that caused the tsunamis in southeast Asia.
  • Human-Induced Earthquakes

    Human-Induced Earthquakes

    6-12  |  Audio
    What’s behind the sudden surge in earthquakes in the middle of the United States?


  • The Science of Weather

    The Science of Weather

    This collection focuses on different types of weather and the natural forces that cause them.

Other Resources

Earthquake Puzzles and Games
Grade Band: K-8
Description:Learn more about earthquakes through puzzles, games, and quizzes from this page from the U.S. Geological Survey.

The Science of Earthquakes
Grade Band: 3-12
Description: This page from the U.S. Geological Survey offers student-friendly explanations about earthquakes, their causes, and scientists' study of them.

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