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In this activity, students use online resources to investigate the occurrence of earthquakes in Southern California to decide if there has been a 'deficit', that is, not enough earthquakes in the area in historical time to release the amount of strain energy that plate tectonics is constantly supplying to the crust. In the first two parts, they must determine the appropriate year to begin their study of historic earthquake records (from 1860-1900), and then they must decide if the energy released by past earthquakes has been equivalent to the amount of energy accumulating through the action of plate tectonics over the same number of years. In part three, they perform an analysis of their findings by answering a set of questions. References are included.
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