B.C. EARTHQUAKE SETTING THE STAGE. News in Review January 2013 Teacher Resource Guide. VOCABULARY Tectonic Plates

News in Review January 2013 Teacher Resource Guide B.C. EARTHQUAKE SETTING THE STAGE On October 27, 2012 an earthquake measuring 7.7 on the Richter scale struck at 8:04 p.m. off the west coast of British
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News in Review January 2013 Teacher Resource Guide B.C. EARTHQUAKE SETTING THE STAGE On October 27, 2012 an earthquake measuring 7.7 on the Richter scale struck at 8:04 p.m. off the west coast of British Columbia. The quake, the largest in Canada in more than 60 years, struck about 70 kilometres south-southwest of Queen Charlotte City, Haida Gwaii. Residents of Haida Gwaii scrambled to get to high ground, and were terrified as more than 50 aftershocks rippled through the area. Despite the size of the earthquake, no one was killed and there was very little damage because the location of the epicenter was in the ocean. Earthquakes in Canada The Pacific Coast of Canada is the most earthquake-prone region of the country. More than 100 earthquakes with a magnitude of 5 or greater have occurred in the offshore region west of Vancouver during the past 70 years. The reason for the concentration of earthquakes along the West Coast is the active faults, or breaks in the earth s crust, that occur in this area. The West Coast is one of the few areas in the world where four tectonic plates meet and interact. When plates move against each other, earthquakes occur. VOCABULARY Tectonic Plates Large rigid blocks that are floating on semifluid rock and are therefore able to interact with each other at their boundaries. Richter Scale The Richter Scale is a measurement system that evaluates the magnitude or energy of an earthquake. The magnitude is recorded through numerical values ranging from de Fuca plate dips below the North American plate about 50 kilometres below the earth s surface. In a subduction zone, plates can slip against each other vertically rather than just bumping up against each other horizontally and this can create a violent quake and tsunami. Scientists predict that the Cascadia subduction zone will eventually give rise to a giant, megathrust earthquake off the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. It is believed there is a one in 10 chance that it will impact Vancouver in the next 50 years. It is expected that if such a megathrust earthquake strikes, it would result in buckled roads, collapsed buildings, and structural damage to water treatment plants and other major industries. It is also expected that a huge tsunami would be created by the earthquake, which would do further catastrophic damage of its own. The area beneath the Lower Mainland is known as the Cascadia subduction zone, where the Juan Scientists hope that by studying the October 2012 BC earthquake they can learn more about this geologically sensitive area, and be better prepared for earthquakes that are bound to come in the future. To Consider 1. Have you ever felt an earthquake? If so, what was it like? 2. If you live in British Columbia, do you worry about a major earthquake hitting the region? If you live outside British Columbia, would the fact that BC is an earthquake zone deter you from moving to the province? Explain your answer. 3. Do you think that Canada is well prepared for an emergency like a major earthquake? News in Review CBC Learning 6 VIDEO REVIEW Pre viewing Activity By yourself, or with a partner, complete the following Earthquake Quiz. The answers to the quiz can be found at the end of this Guide. Earthquake Quiz 1. If you were in an apartment, house, or other building, what is the safest spot to be during an earthquake? (a) Under a doorframe (b) On the lowest level of the building (c) Beside a wall 2. Where do most earthquakes occur? (a) At plate boundaries (b) In areas of high urban density (c) In the mantle 3. How many small earthquakes occur each year? (a) 500 1,000 (b) 1,000 5,000 (c) 20,000 25,000 (d) 40,000 50, How fast do tectonic plates move? (a) 4 inches (10 centimetres) per day (b) 4 inches (10 centimetres) per year (c) 4 inches (10 centimetres) per century (d) 4 inches (10 centimetres) per second 5. How are earthquakes measured? (a) Richtergraph (b) Magnetic resonance machine (c) Wave scope (d) Seismograph How did you do on the quiz? If you live in a coastal area you likely did better than a student from Central Canada. But did you know that the Ottawa Valley area in Ontario is prone to earthquakes as well? News in Review CBC Learning 7 Viewing Questions 1. How large was the earthquake that occurred off the coast of BC in October of 2012? 2. How many aftershocks occurred? 3. What are tsunami warnings and why are they so important? 4. Why did the U.S. government tsunami warnings get sent out much more quickly than those of the Canadian government? 5. Describe why Prince Rupert would be at risk during an earthquake? 6. What precautions were taken in Prince Rupert after the tsunami warning was issued? 7. Where did most people in Prince Rupert get their information about the tsunami warning? 8. Explain how the new tsunami warning system will work in BC. News in Review CBC Learning 8 9. What information do scientists try to gather after an earthquake? 10. Record some of the physical and psychological impacts of the earthquake on residents of Skidegate. 11. How will the data gathered by scientists be used? Post viewing Activities With a partner or small group, select one of the following issues to research on your smartphone, laptop, or other electronic device. Be prepared to report back to the class on what you learned. 1. Why did Canadian authorities send out tsunami warnings much later than American authorities? 2. What changes have been made to the earthquake emergency response procedure in British Columbia since the October 2012 quake? 3. Why did the Haida Gwaii hot springs dry up? And will they come back? 4. How have people recovered since the earthquake? Has life gone back to normal or not? News in Review CBC Learning 9 ACTIVITY: Thinking About the Northern Gateway Pipeline The Northern Gateway project is a proposed $6.5-billion twin pipeline that would carry crude oil from the Athabasca oil sands near Edmonton, Alberta to a marine terminal in Kitimat, British Columbia. From there the oil would be transported to Asia via tankers. The pipeline project was first introduced in the mid-2000s but has been halted a number of times. Supporters of the pipeline mostly business people argue that the pipeline will create hundreds of new jobs. Opponents of the pipeline among them aboriginal peoples whose lands will be crossed by the pipeline, environmentalists, and many others argue that the environmental, economic, and cultural risks of the pipeline are too great. Critics also point out that Enbridge, the Canadian company that would develop the pipeline, has a bad history of accidents and oil spills. The October 2012 earthquake has made some people reconsider their position on the Northern Gateway pipeline. Some people feel that the quake underlines the potential pitfalls of oil tankers plying the B.C. coast. The area is prone to earthquakes, and that is a fact. It seems logical to assume that this increases the risk of a disaster involving a major oil spill. So what do you think? Those in support of the pipeline, and those against the pipeline couldn t be farther apart. The best way for you to decide which side you support, or whether you fall somewhere in the middle, is to learn more about the issue. Visit at least three credible news sites and search for articles on the Northern Gateway pipeline. These sites could include: The Globe & Mail The Toronto Star Maclean s magazine The National Post CBC News, CTV News, Global News The Huffington Post Read as much as you can about the proposed pipeline and then write an opinion piece to capture your feelings about the pipeline. You could also record a video rant to express yourself. Be prepared to share your opinion piece, or rant, with the class. News in Review CBC Learning 10 Answers to Earthquake Quiz 1. (c) Beside a wall Many people are injured by falling debris just outside buildings. If you are inside it is usually best to stay inside near a wall. If you are outside, move away from buildings and power lines. 2. (a) At plate boundaries Most earthquakes occur at the boundaries where the plates meet. The plates slide over, under, and past each other causing fractures that release energy. 3. (d) 40,000 50,000 Although we don t feel them all, approximately 40,000 to 50,000 small earthquakes are recorded each year. 4. (b) 4 inches (10 centimetres) per year About the same amount that human hair grows in a year. 5. (d) Seismograph The seismograph has a base that sets firmly in the ground, and a heavy weight that hangs free. When an earthquake causes the ground to shake, the base of the seismograph shakes too, but the hanging weight does not. Instead the spring or string that it is hanging from absorbs all the movement. The difference in position between the shaking part of the seismograph and the motionless part is what is recorded. Sources: U.S. Geological Survey and The Government of Canada News in Review CBC Learning 11
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