IRIS Rapid Earthquake Viewer (REV)

Contributor
Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS)
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Data , Tool/Software
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

The Rapid Earthquake Viewer (REV) provides access to data seismograms from seismograph stations around the world in three "mouse clicks". In REV you can seismic data for an event as three-component data from a single station or a record section (many seismograms, each from a single station, progressively further away). Because REV is intended for educational purposes, the database does not contain seismograms for every event recorded (many seismograms are very "Messy"). Instead, only sizable events, from recent quakes, with "good" seismic data, are included. Thus, if the quake was newsworthy, it is likely to be there. Also, REV even lets you check up on seismograph stations in your area, so if you think you felt the ground shake, check REV!

Keypoints:

  • View three-component seismograms from from a single station for each newsworthy event

  • Event based record sections (many seismograms, each from a single station, progressively further away from a quake)

  • View an image of ground motion from a station near you!

Intended Audience

Educator
Educational Level
  • High School
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

HS-ESS2-6 Develop a quantitative model to describe the cycling of carbon among the hydrosphere, atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere.

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on modeling biogeochemical cycles that include the cycling of carbon through the ocean, atmosphere, soil, and biosphere (including humans), providing the foundation for living organisms.

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
If a set of seismograms is printed out and explored by students they should begin to notice that the seismogram pattern (P-waves and S-waves) varies with distance. As the recording seismic stations are farther from the epicenter of the earthquake, the arrival time between the P-waves and S-waves will increase. Also, at a certain distance from the epicenter of the earthquake, the interior of the Earth causes some seismic waves to not appear on the seismogram for those stations. Between 104 degrees and 140 degrees from the epicenter of an earthquake P-waves are not detected; S-waves are not detected more than 104 degrees from the epicenter of an earthquake. This led to the discovery of the liquid nature of the Earth’s outer core. This lack of seismic waves is known as the Shadow Zone.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Teachers will have to develop a lesson to use the seismic data that helps students develop a model of the interior of the Earth. Several fully developed lesson plans can be found at http://rev.seis.sc.edu under the section Educational Links of Interest. The Shadow Zone described above seen on seismograms is an indication of the liquid nature of the Earth’s outer core. S-waves do not travel through liquids since they are shear waves and liquids do not support shearing motion.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Teachers will have to develop a lesson to use the seismic data that helps students develop a model on the interior of the Earth. The Shadow Zone described above seen on seismograms is an indication of the liquid nature of the Earth’s outer core. Seismograms from several earthquakes can be downloaded and compared to confirm that the Shadow zone exists no matter where the epicenter of a given earthquake is located.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Students can use the seismogram data to determine the location of an earthquake. If the location of a single earthquake (or multiple earthquakes determined over the school year) is compared to a map of tectonic plate boundaries, students will see that their earthquake (most of the time) occurs along one of the plate boundaries. The seismograms show energy that has propagated through the Earth. Students could begin to argue from the evidence to explain why earthquakes only occur at certain locations, and what might be the driving energy that causes earthquakes (stress building up in rocks from plate motion due to convection deep in the Earth).

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This resource allows students to download seismic data from recent earthquakes. By comparing the seismic data (seismogram) recorded by geographically distant seismometers for a given earthquake, students can begin to develop a model of the cycling of matter by thermal convection. Students will be able to see how some seismic waves do not reach all seismic stations during a given earthquake. The distance where seismic waves fail to show up in a seismic station’s data (which is the same for every earthquake) will allow students to being to develop a model of the interior of the Earth. Some parts of the Earth’s interior are solid and allow all seismic waves to be transmitted; some parts of the Earth’s interior are liquid and do not allow all seismic waves to be transmitted. (S waves are not transmitted through liquids).

  • Instructional Supports: This resource does not provide instructional supports but it does engage students in the authentic and meaningful practice of science.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: This resource does not provide any tools for monitoring student progress. Student progress could be monitored by having students give a presentation explaining why the seismograms for a given earthquake look different on stations that are differing distances from the earthquake epicenter.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: This resource is a web based tool that runs in any web browser on a MAC or PC. It allows students to explore a data set of seismograms for a selected earthquake. There is a Help area that provides information about what each of the parts of the browser do and how to use it.