Shake… rattle… and roll. Many of the world’s most powerful earthquakes are generated at subduction zones where tectonic plates converge. Visually introduce the theory behind these “megaquakes” by simulating the forces involved with subducting plates. Dramatically demonstrate the principles of faulting, static versus dynamic friction and elastic energy. Students are actively involved as they observe and record the movement of the simulated plate and rocks along the fault. Tension builds as the plate moves slowly and steadily along with little or no rock movement—when will the next big quake occur? Includes complete instructions with sample data, extensive background information and reproducible student worksheet.
Concepts: Convergent plate boundary, subduction zone, elastic rebound, static vs. dynamic friction. Time Required: 25 minutes Materials Provided: Rubber bands, sandpaper, wood blocks with screw eyes. Note: Requires two meter sticks.