Department of Earth Science |Northeastern Illinois University

ESCI 121

Homework #6: Earthquake Maps in Living Color  (Due Tuesday, November 3, 2009)                            Dr. Sanders

In this assignment, you will use the resources of the US Geological Survey to plot a color map showing the foci of recent earthquakes in an area.  You will write a brief (one page or less) report on your findings, addressing specific questions.

Assigned areas:

We will research the areas that we've studied earlier this semester, plus a few new areas.  If you haven't already, go to the class wiki and click on "Earthquake Maps" to select a study area. 

Finding Information:
  1. Go to the Earth Science Department home page and click "Terrific Links" (in the right hand column). 
  2. At the top left, click “Earthquake Watch!”
  3. Along the top of the page, click "Research".
  4. Click "Scientific Data" at the right of the page. 
  5. Click the link called "Earthquake Catalog Search".
  6. Click the link called "Rectangular Area". 
  7. Under "Select Output File Type", select “Generate Map”
  8. Scroll down, and enter the latitude and longitude of the rectangle you have chosen.  NOTE:  If you are working in the western hemisphere, longitudes have to be entered as negative numbers!  If you are working in the southern hemisphere, latitudes have to be entered as negative numbers!
  9. Click “Submit Search”
  10. Wait for a minute or two; it can take awhile.  Eventually a map of earthquake foci will appear.
  11. Check the map and see if it shows what you wanted it to.  To enlarge, reduce, or adjust the area, click the back arrow, and enter new latitude/longitude coordinates. 
Perfecting Your Map: This is the step where you will need to use your scientific judgment. 

Check again to be sure the area shows what you wanted it to.  Do you see something interesting?  Are there patterns to the earthquakes that you could illustrate better if you enlarged, shifted to one side, or moved up/down?  Are there areas without earthquakes that could be excluded from the map?

Spend some time here, tweaking your coordinates to produce the best possible map. 


Spend some time here, tweaking your coordinates to produce the best possible map.
Sharing Your Map: Print out FOUR COPIES of the map (and this is important...) in color!!!!!!!!   This is important!  Print four copies in color!!!!
Seriously, the four copies of the map must be in color!!!!!  
On the four color copies of the map, write in large (at least 2 inches high) letters  the name of the mapped area (e.g., "Japan", "Hawaii", etc.).

Writing your report:

    Format:  Your report must be typed in 12-point font or larger.  No particular line spacing is required, however, there is a one page limit.
    Writing: Your report must be written in complete sentences. 
    No plagiarism: The report must be written by you, in your own words.  You will not receive credit for material written by others!  Do not copy and paste information from web pages or any other source; write in your own words to show your own understanding of the material.  Be aware of the NEIU policy on academic misconduct.

Your report should include the following information, in this order (use this numbering in your answers):

1.  Give the name and location of your earthquake area, including the latitude and longitude coordinates you used to produce your map. 

2.  Briefly describe the distribution of earthquake foci that you see on the map.  For example, do you see randomly scattered earthquakes?  Or do they follow a pattern of some sort? 

3.  Examine the focal depths of the earthquakes in your area.  How deep are the deepest?  If you have more than one color of dots indicating depth, do the colors follow some sort of pattern?  Explain.

4.  What is the geotectonic environment of your area?  (For example, is your area situated on or near a plate boundary?  In the middle of a plate, with no boundaries nearby?  If near a boundary, what type of boundary is it?  What type(s) of plates are involved--continental or oceanic?) 

5.  Explain why the earthquakes on your map show the distribution that they do (both in terms of their locations and their depths).

6.  Print out the world map that appears at this link.  Plot your study area on the map.

7.  Put your name on all six pages.  Staple your write-up to the world map, but leave the four copies of the earthquake focus map separate.  All six pages are due at class time.

This assignment is worth 10 points.

Department of Earth Science | Northeastern Illinois University

Copyright 2009 Laura L. Sanders.  Last updated October 27, 2009.