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How does the energy of an earthquake travel through the earth?
When earthquakes happen, they cause seismic waves which travel through the earth. The
seismic waves carry the energy of the earthquake through the earth. There are three types of
seismic waves. The first kind of waves are called P Waves. P Waves are the fastest kind of
seismic waves and they move the rock of the earth back and forth. The second type of seismic
waves are S Waves. These seismic waves move rock up and down. They travel slower than P
Waves, but they do more damage. Surface Waves are the third type of seismic waves. They
happen when P Waves and S Waves reach the surface of the earth and combine. When they do
that, they travel across the surface of the earth. They are the slowest type of seismic waves and
are very destructive.

What are the scales used to measure the strength of an earthquake. Explain one scale.
There are three scales that scientists use to measure earthquakes. The scales are the Mercalli
Scale, the Richter Scale and the Moment Magnitude Scale. The Richter Scale is one of the most
commonly quoted scale. It is based on the size of the seismic waves. The stronger the seismic
waves are, the more destructive the earthquake is. Scientists use a seismograph to measure the
size of the seismic waves. The scale goes from 1 to 10. Earthquakes at 1 are very low on the
scale and earthquakes that rate a 10 are extremely destructive. Earthquakes below a 3 on the
scale cannot be felt by people.

How do geologists locate the epicenter of an earthquake?
The place where rocks break and cause an earthquake is called the focus of the earthquake. The
epicenter is the point on the earths surface that is directly above the focus of the earthquake.
Geologists use seismic waves to locate the epicenter of an earthquake. Seismographs in three
different places are used to measure the S Waves and the P Waves and find the exact location of
the epicenter. P Waves travel fastest, so they reach the seismograph first. The longer it takes for
the S Waves to arrive at the seismograph the farther away from the seismograph the epicenter is.
Geologists take the information from the three seismographs and plot it on a map. They draw a
circle around each seismograph to show how far from the seismograph the epicenter is. The
point where all three circles cross is the epicenter.

Perhaps because animals are more sensitive to earthquake vibrations and respond to even
the slightest shaking, people all over the world believed for centuries that animals were
responsible for earthquakes. Explain three mythical takes about different animals
responsible for an earthquake, include a picture of each animal.

Namazu: Japan
Japanese mythology believes that earthquakes are caused by Namazu, a giant catfish. It was
believed that Namazu caused earthquakes by moving his giant tail. The shaking of the tail would
cause the whole earth to shake. Namazu did this because he loved to cause trouble. He was
controlled by the god Kashima, who used a stone to push Namazu underground. But, whenever
Kashima got tired or distracted, Namazu moves and causes an earthquake.

Mahapadma: India
The Hindus in India believed that world was balanced on the head or the back of Mahapadma, an
elephant god. When Mahapadma shifted her weight or shook her head, an earthquake happened.

Tuli and the Dogsled: Siberia, Russia
The ancient people of Siberia believed that a god named Tuli rode around the earth on a dogsled
pulled by a team of dogs that had fleas. Whenever the dogs stopped to scratch, an earthquake

Can animals predict earthquakes? Search for the book, When the Snake Awake, by Dr.
Helmut Tribush. Explain five examples about an animals behavior before a quake.
Some scientists believe that animals can sense when an earthquake will happen. Dr. Helmut
Tribush wrote When the Snake Awake in 1984 to explore this possibility. Today, some scientists
believe that animals are more sensitive to seismic waves and changes in groundwater. They
think that animals might be able to feel very slight P Waves, which are pre-shocks, before
humans can. Dr. Tribush tells readers about how snakes, weasels and worms deserted the city of
Helice, Greece, in 373 BC before an earthquake. Also, a few minutes before an earthquake in
Naples, Italy, in 1805 dogs, sheep, geese and oxen barked, howled and called out. Before the
San Francisco earthquake of 1906, it was reported that horses ran off in a panic just before the
earthquake. Before a 7.3 magnitude earthquake in China in 1975, it was reported that
hibernating snakes left their dens a few days before the quake. Other strange animal behavior
was also reported and Chinese government officials evacuated the city before the earthquake
saving a great number of lives. There is evidence of toads and frogs leaving ponds days before
an earthquake in LAquila, Italy in 2009. Scientists are not sure why animals are more sensitive
to upcoming earthquakes or if there is any way to use animals to predict earthquakes.


By: Tyler Kelly
Grade 7