Earthquake WebQuest

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Science Standards for the State of California

Focus on Earth Science

Plate Tectonics and Earth's Structure 

1. Plate tectonics accounts for important features of Earth's surface and 
major geologic events. As a basis for understanding this concept: 
a. Students know evidence of plate tectonics is derived from the fit of the 
continents; the location of earthquakes, volcanoes, and midocean ridges; and 
the distribution of fossils, rock types, and ancient climatic zones. 
b. Students know Earth is composed of several layers: a cold, brittle 
lithosphere; a hot, convecting mantle; and a dense, metallic core. 
c. Students know lithospheric plates the size of continents and oceans move 
at rates of centimeters per year in response to movements in the mantle. 
d. Students know that earthquakes are sudden motions along breaks in the 
crust called faults and that volcanoes and fissures are locations where 
magma reaches the surface. 
e. Students know major geologic events, such as earthquakes, volcanic 
eruptions, and mountain building, result from plate motions. 
f. Students know how to explain major features of California geology 
(including mountains, faults, volcanoes) in terms of plate tectonics. 
g. Students know how to determine the epicenter of an earthquake and know 
that the effects of an earthquake on any region vary, depending on the size 
of the earthquake, the distance of the region from the epicenter, the local 
geology, and the type of construction in the region. 

Shaping Earth's Surface 

2. Topography is reshaped by the weathering of rock and soil and by the 
transportation and deposition of sediment. As a basis for understanding this 
a. Students know water running downhill is the dominant process in shaping 
the landscape, including California's landscape. 
b. Students know rivers and streams are dynamic systems that erode, 
transport sediment, change course, and flood their banks in natural and 
recurring patterns. 
c. Students know beaches are dynamic systems in which the sand is supplied 
by rivers and moved along the coast by the action of waves. 
d. Students know earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, and floods 
change human and wildlife habitats. 

Energy in the Earth System 

4. Many phenomena on Earth's surface are affected by the transfer of energy 
through radiation and convection currents. As a basis for understanding this 
c. Students know heat from Earth's interior reaches the surface primarily 
through convection. 

Investigation and Experimentation 

7. Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting 
careful investigations. As a basis for understanding this concept and 
addressing the content in the other three strands, students should develop 
their own questions and perform investigations. Students will: 
a. Develop a hypothesis.

b. Select and use appropriate tools and technology (including calculators, 
computers, balances, spring scales, microscopes, and binoculars) to perform 
tests, collect data, and display data. 
c. Construct appropriate graphs from data and develop qualitative statements 
about the relationships between variables. 
d. Communicate the steps and results from an investigation in written 
reports and oral presentations. 
e. Recognize whether evidence is consistent with a proposed explanation.

f. Read a topographic map and a geologic map for evidence provided on the 
maps and construct and interpret a simple scale map. 

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Last Modified: Thursday, January 01, 2009
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