Earthquake Fault Model
A fault or fault line is a place where there is a fracture in rock in
the Earth's crust. Earthquakes often begin at a fault line in a fault
zone in the Earth's crust. If rock near a fault suddenly begins to
move, it creates pressure that causes an earthquake. Clay is used in
this activity to make a model of a fault.
Make available for teams of 2 or three students:
Three different colors of clay and a butter or table knife (dull edge)
This is a simplistic but accurate demonstration of how earthquakes occur along a fault line.
Step 1: Get three pieces of clay, each in a different color, and pound
each piece into a flat rectangle.
Step 2: Stack them on top of one another and press them together. The
three pieces of clay represent layers of the Earth's crust.
Step 3: Use a dull knife to cut all the way through the layers, in the
middle. Put the two sections of clay together, but don't match them up
exactly as they were before you cut them apart. The cut is like a fault
in the Earth's crust.
Step 4: Push in on the outside edges of both sections of clay. The clay
along the "fault" will buckle and slide. Earthquake!