Exploring Our World: People, Places, and Cultures

Chapter 2: Earth's Physical Geography

Student Web Activity

"Monitoring the Earth"

In this chapter, you learned about the different types of forces that shape the Earth. Scientists track and monitor forces such as earthquakes, volcanoes, and the movement of tectonic plates. This monitoring is important because it can help scientists predict where future earthquakes are likely to occur.

Destination Title: EarthScope

Note: Clicking on the link above will launch a new browser window.
Need help using your browser for this activity? Click here for tips.

Click on the “EarthScope Science” link in the menu bar. Scroll down and click on the “EarthScope Voyager, Jr.” link. When the new window pops up, do the following:

  • Under the heading “Add a base map,” highlight “Face of the Earth & Relief.”
  • Under the heading “Add velocities,” click on “N. America.”
  • For each question, you will be changing the map using the categories under “Add feature(s).”
  • After you change the category, click on the “Make changes” button on the left side of the screen, and wait for the new map image to appear.
  • To show the legend, click on the “Legend on/off” button.

Use the maps that you create to answer the following questions.

Click on “Add feature(s)” and highlight “Volcanoes.” Click on the “Make changes” button, and wait for the map to appear. Where are most of the active volcanoes in North America located?
Click on “Add feature(s)” and highlight “Earthquakes” and “Make changes.” Which region has more earthquakes: Central America or northeast Canada?
Click on “Add feature(s)” and highlight “Tectonic Plates” and “Make changes.” What do the colored lines represent?
Next highlight “Seismic Hazard” under the “Add a base map” heading. Then click the “Make changes” button to refresh the screen. According to this map, which region in the United States is more likely to experience seismic activity: the Midwest or the Pacific Northwest?
What conclusion can you make about the relationship between the number of seismic events such as volcano eruptions and earthquakes and the location of tectonic plates?
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