Investigating Earthquakes with ArcExplorer GIS

Carla McAuliffe, Center for Science Teaching and Learning at TERC,

Published: April 2007. Last Updated: April 2011.


Plate boundaries together with earthquakes of magnitude greater than or equal to 7.0.

This chapter describes the technique of preparing "GIS-ready" data and shows how to map that data and conduct basic analyses using a geographic information system (GIS). First, you will download and format near real-time and historical earthquake data from the USGS. Using latitude and longitude fields, you will then plot these data in a GIS. Next, you will analyze patterns by querying records and overlaying datasets. Finally, you will examine earthquake distributions, monitor current earthquake activity, and try to predict where the next big earthquake will occur on Earth.

This chapter is part of the Earth Exploration Toolbook. Each chapter provides teachers and/or students with direct practice for using scientific tools to analyze Earth science data. Students should begin on the Case Study page.

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