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7.4: Staying Safe in Earthquakes

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12

Lesson 7.4: True or False

Name___________________ Class______________ Date________

Write true if the statement is true or false if the statement is false.

_____ 1. All earthquake damage is caused by the ground shaking.

_____ 2. A stronger earthquake always causes more damage than a weaker earthquake.

_____ 3. An earthquake always causes more deaths in cities closer to the epicenter.

_____ 4. The Great Alaska Earthquake had a magnitude greater than 9 on the Richter scale.

_____ 5. Most deaths in the Great Alaska Earthquake were due to the tsunami.

_____ 6. In earthquake zones, building materials should be strong and rigid.

_____ 7. Buildings should be constructed so they do not bend and sway in an earthquake.

_____ 8. If you are inside when an earthquake strikes, you should get beneath a sturdy table or desk.

_____ 9. If you are outside when an earthquake strikes, you should run to an open area away from buildings and power lines.

_____ 10. In earthquake zones, heavy furniture should be attached securely to walls.

Lesson 7.4: Critical Reading

Name___________________ Class______________ Date________

Read this passage based on the text and answer the questions that follow.

Damage from Earthquakes

Of natural disasters, only hurricanes cause more damage than earthquakes. One way earthquakes cause damage is by shaking the ground and the structures on it. The shaking may cause buildings and bridges to collapse. It may also cause gas, electric, and water lines to rupture. Earthquakes cause damage in other ways as well. For example, earthquakes may cause tsunamis, and these giant waves may be responsible for more death and destruction than the shaking of the ground. Fires and landslides are also common with earthquakes, and they cause still more damage. Fires occur when gas and electric lines break. Landslides occur when wet soil on hillsides liquefies, or turns to a liquid state, when the earthquake waves shake it.

It’s no surprise that earthquake magnitude affects how much damage is done by an earthquake. A stronger earthquake usually causes more damage to buildings and kills more people than a weaker earthquake. However, other factors also affect how much death and destruction an earthquake causes. These factors include how long the shaking lasts and how close the earthquake is to large population centers. The geology of a region is important too. Strong, solid bedrock shakes less than soils. Also, when soils liquefy from the shaking they may turn to quicksand, which can’t support buildings and other large structures.

Communities along faults can take steps to reduce the death and destruction caused by earthquakes. City planners can use hazard maps to avoid building in places where damage is more likely. For example, when faced with two possible locations for a new hospital, planners should choose a site where it can be built on bedrock rather than clay. Buildings can also be constructed so they are earthquake-safe, and older buildings can be modified to make them safer. Even families and individuals can take steps to minimize damage and injury in their home. For example, they can secure heavy objects so the shaking will not cause them to fall over on people.


  1. Describe ways that earthquakes may cause damage.
  2. Identify factors that affect how much damage is done by an earthquake.
  3. What steps can communities take to reduce earthquake damage?

Lesson 7.4: Multiple Choice

Name___________________ Class______________ Date________

Circle the letter of the correct choice.

  1. Much of the damage caused by earthquakes is done by
    1. fires.
    2. tsunamis.
    3. landslides.
    4. all of the above
  2. Earthquake-safe construction methods include
    1. making buildings out of stone.
    2. anchoring buildings to bedrock.
    3. making buildings without foundations.
    4. all of the above
  3. The Great Alaska Earthquake occurred
    1. near the capital city of Juneau.
    2. where many people lived.
    3. at a subduction zone.
    4. in 2004.
  4. Structures that reduce how much buildings sway during an earthquake include
    1. diagonal steel beams.
    2. heavy slate roofs.
    3. counterweights.
    4. two of the above
  5. Steel is a good building material for earthquake zones because steel
    1. bends without breaking.
    2. is very light in weight.
    3. resists shaking.
    4. is very rigid.
  6. If you live in a place where the risk of earthquakes is high, you should
    1. keep heavy objects near the floor.
    2. prepare an emergency kit.
    3. use fluorescent light bulbs.
    4. all of the above
  7. If you are in a car when an earthquake occurs, you should
    1. run into the nearest building.
    2. get out of the car and drop to the ground.
    3. stay in the car and away from buildings.
    4. stay in the car and park under an overpass.

Lesson 7.4: Matching

Name___________________ Class______________ Date________

Match each definition with the correct term.


_____ 1. solid material that shakes less than soil during an earthquake

_____ 2. earthquake risk that may occur because gas lines break when the ground shakes

_____ 3. tool for showing the likelihood of strong earthquakes in a region

_____ 4. sudden collapse of a hillside that may occur during an earthquake

_____ 5. one of many factors that affect how much damage is done by an earthquake

_____ 6. to change to a liquid

_____ 7. material that forms when wet soil shakes and liquefies in an earthquake


a. liquefy

b. magnitude

c. bedrock

d. landslide

e. hazard map

f. fire

g. quicksand

Lesson 7.4: Fill in the Blank

Name___________________ Class______________ Date________

Fill in the blank with the appropriate term.

  1. Of natural disasters, only __________ cause more damage than earthquakes.
  2. In earthquake-prone areas, buildings should be built on __________.
  3. The 1985 Mexico City earthquake caused so much damage because the city is built on __________.
  4. The largest earthquake ever recorded in North America occurred in the state of __________.
  5. In earthquake zones, wood is better than brick for buildings because wood can __________.
  6. Smaller seismic waves that occur after the main seismic waves of an earthquake are called __________.
  7. Any community located along a(n) __________ should be prepared for earthquakes.

Lesson 7.4: Critical Writing

Name___________________ Class______________ Date________

Thoroughly answer the question below. Use appropriate academic vocabulary and clear and complete sentences.

Describe either the 1995 Mexico earthquake or the 1964 Alaska earthquake, including the magnitude of the earthquake and the damage it caused. Identify factors that affected the amount of damage caused by the earthquake.

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