Earthquakes

The Hayward Fault: Predictable Peril

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The Hayward Fault, which ruptures on average every 140 years, last ruptured 150 years ago. In this video from QUEST produced by KQED, learn about the work being done to prepare for what may be the next big one.

Alaska Tsunami

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Discover why multiple tsunamis resulted from the Great Alaska Earthquake of 1964 in this video adapted from Alaska Sea Grant. Hear firsthand accounts about the tsunamis and see an animation showing how tsunamis are created when there is a sudden displacement of water, caused by a change in elevation of the seafloor or by landslides. Observe how tsunamis impact coastal communities, and learn how research is critical for community preparedness.

Himalayan Megaquake | Future Earthquake Potential

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Learn how energy builds up along plate boundaries over time and how release of the stored energy leads to earthquakes in this excerpt from NOVA’s Himalayan Megaquake. The Gorkha region in the Himalayas was devastated by a magnitude 7.8 earthquake in 2015. The video explains how historical records and GPS technology can help scientists determine energy buildup and the potential for future earthquakes in the Himalayan region.

To view the Background Essay and Teaching Tips for this video, go to Support Materials below. This resource was developed through WGBH’s Bringing the Universe to America’s Classrooms project, in collaboration with NASA. Click here for the full collection of resources.

Devastating Earthquake Hits Ecuador | PBS NewsHour

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Hear more about the devastating earthquake in Ecuador with this video and educational resources from PBS NewsHour from April 18, 2016.

Megathrust Earthquakes

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In this video find an explanation of megathrust, shallow crust, deep crust and slow slip earthquakes and learn about the impact of a megathrust earthquake along the Cascadia fault. Also learn how scientists are studying the past to help predict future earthquakes.

Birth of a Tsunami

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This video excerpt from NOVA: “Japan’s Killer Quake” describes how an earthquake on the ocean floor can cause an enormous wave—a tsunami—on the ocean’s surface. When the Earth’s tectonic plates move and grind against each other, energy builds up that is released by an earthquake. That earthquake displaces the seafloor and zillions of gallons of water above it, creating a tsunami that races away from the center and builds into a deadly wave when it reaches land.

Simulating Earthquakes with a Shaking Table

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Engineers can't wait around for the next big one to hit. So, they use a huge platform to simulate an earthquake. The PEER shaking table is the largest six degree-of-freedom shaking in the United States. What that means is that it can move in six unique directions. It can move horizontally along both the X and Y axes, and vertically along the Z axis. It can also rotate along each of these three axes, allowing for pitch, roll and yaw. Combine these motions together and engineers can simulate just about any earthquake-like movement. Video updated March 2016.

Why Does the Earth Have Layers? | It's Okay to Be Smart

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…or why we live on an onion made of magma

Forecasting Earthquakes

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Find out how researchers are improving earthquake forecasts in this video from NOVA scienceNOW: "What's the Next Big Thing?" Correspondent Kirk Wolfinger meets with geophysicist Ernest Majer, who demonstrates how his team measures seismic signals that could serve as a possible warning sign for earthquakes. Thomas Jordan, of the Southern California Earthquake Center, describes how hundreds of scientists have joined forces to produce a comprehensive earthquake forecast for California that estimates earthquake sizes, locations, and frequency. A computer simulation illustrates how tremors would propagate from the San Andreas fault across Southern California, showing which communities are most at risk. 

How Seismic Waves Cause Damage During an Earthquake

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What is a seismic wave? Which of the four types is most destructive? Discover the science behind earthquakes with this animated video from KQED Quest.

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