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Earthquakes!

Shake! Rattle! Roll!

These words describe an earthquake where the ground shakes, objects rattle, and canned goods roll off grocery shelves. Earthquakes happen all over the world on land and sea. Have you ever been in an earthquake? If your answer is yes, then you may live in California, where there have been several major earthquakes in the last century.

Fault, epicenter, foreshock, aftershock, seismograph, Richter scale, uplift, tsunami, magnitude, and destruction are just a few words that can describe an earthquake. Find out how these and other words are part of earthquakes. In the following activities, learn about why, where, when, and how earthquakes occur. Also, see what you should do and where you should be (the safest place) during an earthquake.

The following websites help define earthquake words:

Earthquakes Hazards Program

A Parent’s Guide to Earthquakes


What causes earthquakes? What part do Earth’s faults and plates play?

Find out in Activity #1
Click here for a printable version in PDF format

Where do earthquakes happen? How are they measured?

Activity #2
Click here for a printable version in PDF format

How does it feel to be in an earthquake? How can I prepare for a possible earthquake?

Find out in Activity #3
Click here for a printable version in PDF format


Test your Knowledge:

Fact or Fiction Test

Understanding Earthquakes

Earthquake Word Search

Earthquake crossword puzzle


For instructor notes, click here.