It is estimated that well over a million Earthquakes take place on planet Earth each year.

An Earthquake forms when two or more large pieces of the Earth’s crust bump into each other and unexpectedly drops or breaks. Lucky the chunks of Earth are moving very slow. You may notice that certain locations of the world are likely to experience quakes. These locations are where the edges of the Earth's crust are located, they are called faults. Pressure and heat (under the surface) build up over time causing repeated ruptures. Scientists use a device called a seismograph to measure the power of a quake. A seismograph measures the value on the Moment Magnitude Scale (MMS). The larger the value on this scale, the greater the damage caused by the quake. The damage caused to the surface by an Earthquake is a result of how close to the surface the fault event occurs and the makeup of the fault.

While we can measure the significance of an earthquake, we still do not have the technology to accurately predict quakes. The best we can do is to locate where faults exist and know where they are likely to happen. These worksheets explore the nature of Earthquakes and we explore several different major events.

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Printable Earthquakes and Volcanoes Worksheets

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What Are Earthquakes?

An earthquake, which consists of the most violent shaking, is usually preceded and followed by instances of less intense shaking. Less intense shaking that happens before an earthquake is called a foreshock.

What Are Earthquakes? Questions

At a magnitude of 6, earthquakes will cause items to fall off of shelves. House wall may crack, and windows may break. A magnitude 7 earthquake will destroy weaker structures.

What Are Volcanoes?

Far below the Earth’s surface, it is so hot that rocks become molten (melt). Molten rock that is below the Earth’s surface exists as a very hot liquid called magma.

QUESTIONS: What Are Volcanoes?

Lava oozes out of some volcanoes slowly over time. In these instances, the lava is usually thin. But when thicker lava covers the vent of a volcano, pressure can build below this cover over time.

Seismic Waves

The shock waves caused by an earthquake are called seismic waves. They are formed as the result of the sudden release of pent-up energy where plates of the Earth's crust meet, causing the plates to fracture.

QUESTIONS: Seismic Waves

Surface waves are the slowest-moving and most damaging seismic waves. There are two kind of surface waves.

Types of Volcanoes

We usually picture volcanoes as cone-shaped mountains, but there are actually different kinds of volcanoes that are all shaped differently.

QUESTIONS: Types of Volcanoes

Lava domes are created by lava that is too thick to move far from its vent. Instead, when lava dome volcanoes erupt, the lava just piles up around the vent. In this way, a mountain forms around the vent.

Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii

One of the most famous volcanic eruptions in human history occurred in 79 AD, in the city of Pompeii. Pompeii was a Roman colony and a port city.

QUESTIONS: Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii

The eruption on August 24th, 79 AD was catastrophic, with an estimated 1.5 million tons of ash shooting out of the volcano every second.

How Volcanoes Erupt

What goes up must come down, and as ash and volcanic rock fall back down to Earth around a volcano’s vent, they build up over time.

QUESTIONS: How Volcanoes Erupt

Why does magma tend to move up towards the Earth's surface?

Parts of a Volcano

A volcano is an opening in the Earth's surface through which extremely hot molten rock erupts. All volcanoes have basic parts in common and operate in the same way.

QUESTIONS: Parts of a Volcano

There are several terms used to describe what comes out of a volcano. The fast-moving hot gas and rock is called pyroclastic flow.

What Causes Earthquakes

An earthquake is a shock wave that moves through the earth, usually causing violent shaking of the Earth's surface.

QUESTIONS: What Causes Earthquakes

Earthquakes caused by the collision of tectonic plates are the most common kind of earthquake, and they happen as follows.

Earthquakes and Tsunamis

Not all underwater earthquakes produce tsunamis. In order to produce a tsunami, an earthquake must be of a certain magnitude, or strength.

QUESTIONS: Earthquakes and Tsunamis

At magnitudes of 7.9 and greater, destructive tsunamis can occur near the epicenter of an earthquake, and sea level changes can be significant and damage destructive in the broader surrounding area. Earthquakes at magnitudes of 9 and above can also include aftershocks as high as 7.9.

Plate Tectonics

Tectonic plates are about 62 miles thick. There are two kinds. Oceanic plates are made up of silicon and magnesium.

QUESTIONS: Plate Tectonics

What theory says that at the places where individual plates meet, one lays overtop of the other?