Plate Tectonics

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.

Earthquakes: The Prehistoric Record

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Geologic features altered by earthquakes provide striking evidence of the power of seismic events. It wasn't until the late 1970s, though, that their usefulness in helping to predict the timing of future earthquakes was considered. That's when geologist Kerry Sieh thought to use fractures in layers of sediment to determine the frequency of earthquake events. This video segment adapted from NOVA explores the method Dr. Sieh used to revolutionize earthquake prediction.

Deep Ocean Volcanoes

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Learn about underwater volcanoes and the discovery of the erupting deep-ocean volcano West Mata with this video from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The video includes a visualization of the ocean floor as well as footage that captured the volcanic eruption. The West Mata volcano is part of a chain of volcanoes in the Pacific Ocean called the Ring of Fire.

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.

Making North America | The Cascadia Subduction Zone

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Learn why an ancient earthquake that sunk a coastal rain forest into the tidal zone may portend a severe natural disaster in the Pacific Northwest today, in this video from NOVA: Making North America: Human. Underlying a “ghost forest” in Washington State is evidence of one of the worst seismic events in North America since human beings arrived on the continent. The event traces to the Cascadia subduction zone, where the Juan de Fuca plate is trying to slide under the North American plate. Sediment core samples suggest that a severe earthquake somewhere along the subduction zone is likely to occur again in the future.

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. To see more resources from NOVA: Making North America, visit the collection page here.

Life on Fire: Hot Spots

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In this clip, students will learn that the outward transfer of earth's internal heat drives convection circulation in the mantle that propels the plates comprising earth's surface across the face of the globe creating seismic and volcanic activity.

NOVA: North American Sky Tour

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Learn about the geological history of North America in this video from NOVA Digital. Google Earth flyovers and visualizations from NOVA's Making North America illustrate how particular locations, landscapes, and life forms have changed through time. For example, the bedrock that is the foundation of New York City was formed from the erosion of mountains that were built from the seafloor 450 million years ago; the sandstone cliffs of Zion National Park were once desert sand dunes; and 130 million years ago, the dry plains of Kansas were the site of a vast ocean. The plate tectonics and surface processes that shape Earth are ongoing, and North America continues to change. This video contains segments from NOVA: Making North AmericaThis resource is part of the NOVA: Making North America Collection.

Making North America | How to Make Gold

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Explore a historically preserved gold mine in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains and learn how earthquakes bring gold to the surface, in this video from NOVA: Making North America: Human. Geologist Lisa White points out that quartz veins can contain gold and explains why this happens. As earthquakes fracture rocks, the cracks provide pathways for superheated water from deep in the Earth to rise. As the water rises, it cools and the minerals it carries crystallize. Over time, this forms a vein of quartz. This resource is part of the NOVA: Making North America Collection.

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.

Nature | Stormy Seas

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This video from Nature illustrates the powerful impact of a volcanic eruption in Hawaii and traces the lava’s activity from cone to sea. The sea is the only natural substance that can stop a lava flow and it’s an explosive event. These explosions create littoral cones, or more simply, a newly-formed coastline. When the 80 degree water meets 2,000 degree lava, massive amounts of steam surge into the air, which can create miniature weather patterns. While the weather is localized, serious climatic changes like tornados can occur.

GPS: Lava Flow

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This DragonflyTV segment follows two girls as they explore how plants grow back after being wiped out by lava flows at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. They also learn to differentiate between pahoehoe and ‘a’a lava flows.

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