# Earthquakes and Seismic Waves (pages 51 57)

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1 Earthquakes and Seismic Waves (pages 51 57) Types of Seismic Waves (pages 52 53) Key Concept: Seismic waves carry energy from an earthquake away from the focus, through Earth s interior, and across the surface. An earthquake is the shaking that results when rocks move inside Earth. An earthquake is caused by stress along a fault. Stress increases until the rocks break and release stored energy. The place where rocks break and cause an earthquake is called the focus (FOH kus). The point on the surface directly above the focus is called the epicenter (EP uh sen tur). Earthquakes cause waves, called seismic waves, to travel through Earth. Seismic waves carry the energy released by the rocks. There are three kinds of seismic waves: P waves, S waves, and surface waves. P waves move rocks back and forth, like a wave passing through a spring toy when you push in the coils. P waves are the fastest seismic waves. S waves move rocks up and down, like a wave passing through a rope when you flick it. S waves travel more slowly than P waves but do more damage. Surface waves are combined P and S waves that travel along Earth s surface. Surface waves are the slowest seismic waves. They also do a lot of damage. ideas above. 1. When the ground shakes because rocks have moved inside Earth, it is called a(an). 30

2 2. Label the circles in the Venn diagram to show which circle describes P waves and which circle describes S waves. a. b. Move ground back and forth Kind of seismic waves Move ground up and down 3. Circle the letter of the kind of seismic waves that are the slowest. a. P waves b. S waves c. surface waves Measuring Earthquakes (pages 54 56) Key Concept: Three commonly used methods of measuring earthquakes are the Mercalli scale, the Richter scale, and the moment magnitude scale. The Mercalli scale is based on the amount of damage an earthquake does. For example, a weak earthquake only rattles dishes. A strong earthquake can destroy buildings. The Richter scale is based on the size of the seismic waves. A stronger earthquake makes bigger seismic waves. An instrument called a seismograph measures the size of seismic waves. The moment magnitude scale is based on the amount of energy an earthquake releases. The amount of energy is based on many things, including the size of the seismic waves. 31

3 ideas on page Fill in the blanks in the table about ways to measure earthquake strength. Ways to Measure Earthquake Strength Method Mercalli scale How It Measures Earthquake Strength amount of damage done Richter scale a. b. amount of energy released 5. An instrument that measures the size of seismic waves is a(an). 6. Which way of measuring earthquake strength is based on the kind of information shown in the drawing? 32

4 Locating the Epicenter (pages 56 57) Key Concept: Geologists use seismic waves to locate an earthquake s epicenter. The epicenter is the point on the surface that lies directly above an earthquake s focus. Scientists use P waves and S waves to find an earthquake s epicenter. P waves travel faster than S waves. So P waves arrive at a seismograph sooner than S waves. The longer it takes S waves to reach the seismograph after P waves have arrived, the farther away the epicenter is. To find the exact location of the epicenter, you need seismographs in three different places. You can draw a circle around each seismograph to show how far the epicenter is from that seismograph. The point where all three circles cross is the epicenter. ideas above. 7. Suppose it takes a long time for S waves to reach a seismograph after P waves have arrived. What does that tell you about the earthquake? Circle the letter of the correct answer. a. The earthquake was strong. b. The earthquake was close to the surface. c. The earthquake was far away. 8. Is the following sentence true or false? One seismograph can tell you exactly where the epicenter of an earthquake is. 33

5 9. The map shows three different seismographs in the United States. Each circle shows the distance from a seismograph to the epicenter of an earthquake. Where is the epicenter? Circle the letter of the correct answer. a. A b. B c. C Key: Seismographic station Chicago A W N E S B C Savannah Houston mi km 34

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