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Section 1
Where are the Volcanoes and Earthquakes?

In this section you will find materials that support the implementation of EarthComm: Florida, Section 1: Where are the Volcanoes and Earthquakes?.


Learning Through Technology

To learn more about the locations of earthquakes and volcanoes, complete the following:

The Spatial Distribution of Volcanoes

  1. You are going to analyze volcano location data and look for patterns in the distribution of Earth’s volcanoes. You will use a software program called Google Earth to explore the data.  Using a computer with an internet connection, open Google Earth.  If your computer does not have Google Earth installed, go to http://earth.google.com/ to download a free version.

    google earth

  2. Using your web browser, go to the website of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History Global Volcanism Program at www.volcano.si.edu. On the sidebar, under the heading “Mapping,” click on “Google Earth Placemarks.” Click on “Download Holocene Volcanoes Placemark.”  Save the file onto your computer. The file name will be automatically saved as “gvp_world.”   When you are finished, click on the file and it will open up with Google Earth. The file contains volcano location data provided by the Global Volcanism Program. 

  3. The data file shows the locations of volcanoes thought to have been active in the last 10,000 years (Holocene).  Using the Google Earth navigation controls, locate and zoom into ten volcanoes.  Click on the triangular icon for each volcano to retrieve descriptive information about the volcano. 

  4. pencil In your notebook, create a table that records the location, longitude, latitude, and type of each volcano.

  5. pencil Using the navigation controls, rotate the image of the Earth until you have viewed the locations of all the Earth’s volcanoes.

    1. pencil What patterns do you see in the global data?
    2. pencil Where are volcanoes concentrated?
    3. pencil Where are volcanoes rarely located?

The Spatial Distribution of Earthquakes

  1. You are now going to use Google Earth to examine the distribution of earthquakes, another process that occurs in the Earth’s crust.  Using your web browser, go to the website of the United States Geological Survey at www.earthquake.usgs.gov.  On the sidebar, click on “Google Earth KML.”  Save the file onto your computer.  The file name will be automatically saved as “eqs7day-age.”  When you are finished, click on the file and it will open up with Google Earth. The file contains earthquake location data provided by the United States Geological Survey. 

  2. In the Google Earth sidebar, you will see that the data file shows the locations of earthquakes that have occurred within the past hour, past day, and past week.  In the Google Earth sidebar, switch off (uncheck) the option for displaying “Plate Boundaries.” Using the Google Earth navigation controls, locate and zoom into ten earthquakes.  Click on the circular icon for each earthquake to retrieve descriptive information about the earthquake. 

  3. pencil In your notebook, create a table that records the location, longitude, and latitude of each earthquake.

  4. Using the navigation controls, rotate the image of the Earth until you have viewed the locations of all the Earth’s earthquakes.

    1. pencil What patterns do you see in the global data?
    2. pencil Where are earthquakes concentrated?
    3. pencil Where are earthquakes rarely located?

  5. You will now compare the data on the locations of volcanoes to the locations of earthquakes.  Open the Holocene Volcanoes data layer by clicking on the Holocene Volcanoes file you saved to your computer.  The file should open automatically in Google Earth and the data should be displayed along with the earthquake data.

  6. Use the data sets displayed on Google Earth to help you answer the following in your notebook:

    1. pencil Describe the spatial relationship between the volcano data and the earthquake data.
    2. pencil What explanation can you give for this relationship?

Volcanoes, Earthquakes, and Your Community

  1. Using your web browser, go to the website of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History Global Volcanism Program at www.volcano.si.edu. On the sidebar, under the heading “Mapping,” click on “This Dynamic Planet Interactive Map.”  Click on “Click for interactive map.”  You should see an image of This Dynamic Planet map created by the United States Geological Survey.

  2. On the toolbar, click “Legend/Layers.”  Look at the map Legend to learn the meaning of the various symbols and how to use the map scale. 
    1. pencil What does each of the four kinds of triangles represent?

  3. Use the map navigation controls (Zoom in, Zoom-out, and Identity) and the Legend to help you examine the locations of volcanoes and earthquakes.

  4. pencil Compare the advantages and disadvantages of using Google Earth and the USGS Map for looking at volcano and earthquake data. Discuss your ideas with your class.

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Inquiring Further

  1. To learn more about the work of volcanologists and seismologists, visit the following web sites:

    Volcanologist, AGI
    Learn more about becoming a volcanologist.

    Seismologist, AGI
    Learn more about becoming a seismologist.

    Men and Women of Seismology, USGS
    Biographies of some of the most famous scientists involved in the study of earthquakes and the structure of the Earth.

    Geoscience Careers, AGI
    Descriptions of geoscience careers, employers and employment opportunities.

  2. To learn more about the historical eruptions of volcanoes nearest to your community, visit the following web site:

    Volcano World, Oregon State University
    A comprehensive site that provides information on volcanoes located around the world.

  3. To learn more about volcanoes and the hydrosphere, visit the following web sites:

    Submarine Volcanoes, Oregon State University
    Reviews the basics of plate tectonics and examines submarine volcanoes at divergent and convergent boundaries and hot spots. The site has good images of underwater lava flows as well as images of the organisms that live near these submarine volcanoes.

    VENTS Program, NOAA
    Find information on how submarine volcanoes and hydrothermal vents affect the global oceans.

    Submarine Volcanoes, Ridges, and Vents, USGS
    Provides general information along with specific examples.

    Unraveling the Mystery of Underwater Volcanoes, NOAA
    Read an article about the mysteries of underwater volcanoes.

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Resources

To learn more about this topic, visit the following web sites:

Volcanoes Beneath the Sea

Submarine Volcanoes, Oregon State University
Reviews the basics of plate tectonics and examines submarine volcanoes at divergent and convergent boundaries and hot spots. The site has good images of underwater lava flows as well as images of the organisms that live near these submarine volcanoes.

Submarine Volcanoes, Ridges, and Vents, USGS
Includes a general overview of submarine volcanic eruptions as well as information about specific underwater volcanoes including the volcanoes of the Juan de Fuca ridge in the Pacific, Kavachi of the Solomon Islands, Kick 'Em Jenny of the West Indies, the Loihi Seamount of Hawaii, and Surtsey and the Vestmannmaeyjar volcanics of Iceland.

Volcanoes on Land

Volcano Types, USGS
Review the major types of volcanoes, including calderas, cinder cones, composite volcanoes, stratovolcanoes, and shield volcanoes. Provides links for further details and information about specific eruptions.

Cascades Volcano Observatory, USGS
Comprehensive site that provides maps, graphics, images, and text related to volcanoes and volcanic eruptions.

Read from the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory about volcanism in the following US states:

Ring of Fire

"Ring of Fire", Plate Tectonics, Sea-Floor Spreading, Subduction Zones, "Hot Spots", USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory
Reviews the basics of plate tectonics and allows reader to further investigate specific volcanoes within the "ring of fire." Includes several maps which highlight the "ring."

Alaska Volcano Observatory, USGS
Read an introduction about the volcanoes and volcanic fields of Alaska, which make up the northern portion of the "ring of fire." Also includes maps and allows further investigation of specific volcanoes in Alaska.

Volcanoes Formed by Rifting on the Continents

Columbia River Basalt Group, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, USGS
Read more information about flood basalts and how they formed the Columbia Plateau. It also includes links to a map and geologic time scale for the subdivisions within the Columbia River Basalt Group.

Africa Volcanoes and Volcanics, USGS
Learn more about the East African rift valley.

Volcanoes at Hot Spots

"Hot spots:" Mantle Thermal Plumes, USGS
Learn more about the geology of the Hawaiian islands as well as other hotshots around the world.

Hawaiian Volcanoes, USGS
Read about the Hawaiian Volcanoes and how they formed. It also includes links to other pages about specific volcanoes on the islands of Hawaii and Maui.

Hawaiian Volcanoes, Oregon State University
View a slide show with color photos and descriptions about the theory of "hotshots." Site also includes a list of sample lesson plans, key concepts, references, and activities about hot spots and the Hawaiian islands.

Volcanoes and Water on Earth

Vents Program, NOAA
Find information on how submarine volcanoes and hydrothermal vents affect the global oceans.

Submarine Volcanoes, Ridges, and Vents, USGS
Provides general information along with specific examples.

Unraveling the Mystery of Underwater Volcanoes, NOAA
Read an article about the mysteries of underwater volcanoes.

Earthquakes

Animations for Earthquake Terms and Concepts, USGS  
Comprehensive list of terms frequently used in discussion of earthquakes.

Frequently Asked Questions, USGS Earthquakes Hazards Program
Covers a wide range of topics to give a good general overview of earthquakes. Additional links are provided if more information is desired.

Where Do Earthquakes Occur?, Michigan Technological University
Covers earthquake occurrences along plate boundaries and along fault planes. Reviews the different types of faults.

Earthquakes, USGS
This online publication is an excellent overview of earthquakes and includes a lot of good graphics and photos.

Earthquakes or Seismic Waves

What is Seismology and What are Seismic Waves?, Michigan Technological University
Reviews not only P and S waves, but also Love waves and Rayleigh waves.

Seismology, USGS
Provides links for more information on seismology, movies, simulations, and an online exercise.

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