Earthquake 2

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"Earthquake 2", pegasus, January 01, 1994,

History & Culture


Expedition 7: Earthquake!

In this activity, your team will research a major historical earthquake and create a “You Are There” television news report. Your presentation will be judged on the following criteria. Does it:

  • answer the fundamental questions informing a journalist’s story: Who, What, When, Why, and How?
  • construct a coherent narrative that tells the story of the earthquake and illuminates the human drama of the event?
  • bring history alive by drawing on source documents and photographs to re-enact the event?
  • provide scientific perspective on the cause and dynamics of the earthquake?
  • demonstrate the ability of your group to work together as an effective team?

Your team’s goal is to create an “award-winning” piece of television journalism. Remember, your audience is hungry for late-breaking news and commentary about the earthquake. Be sure to include the following information and analyses in your news report:

  • Time and date earthquake struck.
  • Magnitude of the quake on the Richter Scale.
  • Vital statistics: number of people killed and injured; key buildings destroyed.
  • The community’s response to the disaster. What is being done, both officially and by citizens, to meet the challenge?
  • Interpretation of photographs. Find photos that provide a window to the event. Describe what you see as if you were arriving on the scene shortly after the quake hit. Provide as many details as possible.

For your presentation, consider the following roles on your team:

  • Scriptwriter(s). Working with other members of the team, this role organizes the elements of the broadcast into a coherent script.
  • News Anchor(s). This role introduces the news broadcast and provides verbal transitions between other members of the team.
  • Field Reporter(s). This role files live reports from the field and provides a description of conditions in the community.
  • Science Analyst(s). This role provides scientific background and commentary on the earthquake.
  • Man/Woman on the Street. This role provides first person accounts of the earthquake and the experience of living through it.
  • Public Official(s). This role offers insights into the challenges faced by community leaders, firemen and police.

Your final presentation should be structured like a live television news broadcast. Prepare a script to guide your report. To enhance your audience’s understanding of the event, you may want to prepare maps and charts. Get ready for prime time!

Activity Links

1923 Tokyo Earthquake

Seismic Activity Mapping
Search for earthquake activity by entering time frame, latitude and longitude.

Great Kanto Earthquake,1923 Tokyo Earthquake
Photographs and text about Tokyo’s 1923 devastating earthquake.

US Geological Survey
Map of Japan’s seismicity by depth, 1975—95.

City of Yokohama
Photographs of the city’s harbor damaged by Tokyo’s 1923 earthquake.

1906 San Francisco Earthquake

Seismic Activity Mapping
Search for earthquake activity by entering time frame, latitude and longitude.

Museum of the City of San Francisco, Earthquake Exhibit
Maps, scientific data, reports, accounts and photographs of the 1906 and 1989 San Francisco earthquakes.

US Geological Survey, Earthquake Information
Combines scientific research and analysis with photographs.

Carnegie Report
Photographs taken along the San Andreas fault line of damage from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and links to other earthquake information sources.

Ibis Communications
Personal accounts and photographs of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

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