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Unit 3: Dynamic Earth
1. Students will identify the causes of earthquakes.
o Earthquakes happen when there is movement along a
2. Students will understand the difference between the
intensity and the magnitude measurements of an
3. Students will understand that P-waves travel faster
than S-waves and travel through both solids and
4. Students will understand that S-waves travel slower
than P-waves and only travel through solids.
5. Students will understand that both P and S-waves
travel faster through denser materials.
6. Students will find the distance to an epicenter based
on P and S-wave arrival times and the graph in the
o Page 11 in the ESRTs has the P and S-Wave Travel Time
o The farther you are from the epicenter, the greater the
time difference between the P and S-waves.
7. Given the distance to the epicenter and the arrival
time of either the P or S wave students will calculate
the arrival time of the other wave using the ESRTs.
8. Optional: Students will calculate the origin time of an
earthquake based on the arrival times of either the P
or S-wave and the distance to the epicenter, using the
graph in the ESRTs.
o Use the distance to the epicenter to find the travel time
for either the P or S-wave.
o Subtract the travel time of the P-wave from the arrival
time of the P-wave to get the origin time. Or, subtract
the travel time of the S-wave from the arrival time of the
S-wave to get the origin time.
9. Students will identify properties of the Earth’s interior
layers (crust, mantle, outer and inner core) using the
o Use p. 10 in the ESRTs to find information about the
Earth’s interior.
Students will understand that the properties of
the internal layers can be identified or inferred based
on P and S-wave behavior, magma compositions and
meteorite composition.
o Since S-waves won’t go through liquid, they will not go
through the outer core.
o Meteorites are primarily iron and nickel. We infer the
Earth’s core is also iron and nickel.
Students will understand the reason for the earth
quake “shadow zone.”
o P and S-waves refract as they go through different layers
of the Earth’s interior. Also, S-waves can’t pass through
the liquid outer core. Thus, there are portions of the
Earth where no earthquake waves will be detected.
Students will identify that major earthquakes,
volcanoes and mountain ranges all tend to occur
together in belts.
o Page 5 in the ESRTs has the Plate Tectonic map.
Students will identify the earthquake belts as
outlines of the major tectonic plates.
Students will identify seismic hazards, including
but not limited to tsunamis, structural collapse, gas
line rupture, and liquefaction.
Students will identify volcanic hazards, including
but not limited to lava, ash, toxic gases, mudflows,
and pyroclastic flow.
Students will identify the changes in continent
location (“continental drift” and “plate tectonics”)
based on evidence, including but not limited to ancient
glacial evidence, fossil distribution, mid-ocean ridges,
and magnetic reversals.
Students will identify the 3 plate boundaries and
features found at each through use of the ESRTs.
o Divergent plates separate from each other; convergent
boundaries come together; transform boundary plates
slide past each other.
Students will understand that convection drives
plate movement. Convection currents are found in the
Students will recognize that “hot spots” are
located on the lithosphere.