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The different types of faults - including reverse, normal, thrust and strike-slip - are defined by how the two blocks of crust move relative to each other.

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Can You Find the Fault?

Can You Find the Fault?


Credit: Vsmith
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:NMSZBig.gif
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

If you live in Arkansas or Tennessee, you may think you’re safe from earthquakes. But you should not rest easy. One of the largest earthquakes in U.S. history rocked this region. Scientists are trying to find out more.

Why It Matters

Geologists “see” underground just like doctors see into the human body. They use sound waves to create images of the layers of rock and sediment that are underground. Features, such as earthquake faults, show up too. The results are used to create a seismic section. Scientists have created a seismic section of the New Madrid Seismic Zone. Although few people were killed then, millions of people live in the area today. Scientists are mapping the faults in the zone to better understand the risks.

Can You Find the Fault?

With the link below, learn how to find a fault in a seismic section. The instructions for finding the fault are in the lower right hand corner. Then answer the following questions.

  1. What is represented on the vertical axis of a seismic section?
  2. What is represented on the horizontal axis of a seismic section?
  3. What does Dr. Magnani want to know about this seismic zone? What hypothesis was she trying to test?
  4. What is the term used when time is missing in a section of sediments? What might cause this to happen?
  5. How can you identify the big fault?
  6. What is the risk from the big fault that was discovered in this study?

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Vsmith; Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:NMSZBig.gif; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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