Using maps showing the horizontal velocities of GPS stations in the Plate Boundary Observatory and other GPS networks in Alaska, Western United States, and regions around the world, students are able to describe the motions in different regions by interpreting the vectors resulting from long-term high-precision Global Positioning System (GPS) data.
This activity was developed for middle school and high school students, grades 6 - 12. However, its focus on data makes it adaptable for introductory college courses.
One class session (45 - 55 minutes) or homework.
Students should be able to read maps and understand map scale.
This activity can be used at any time in an earth science class particularly with in a sequence of lessons about plate tectonics. It can be used as an introductory activity for students to explore current plate motions and to learn about compression, extension, and horizontal slip.
Performance Expectations: MS-ESS3-2, and HS-ESS1-5.
Students will be able to:
Students analyze data from GPS data represented as vectors on maps of Alaska, western United States, and regions around the world to study tectonic motions at plate boundaries and within the North American and Pacific tectonic plates. Students discover the types of motions and plate boundaries. By observing the patterns of vector lengths and directions, students interpret the motion within multiple regions:
More about the Velocity Map Posters [html]
Regions around the World Student Worksheet
7 MB • v: April 2019
Western United States Student Worksheet
6 MB • v: April 2019
Seismic Hazard Map of Conterminous United States
Map: Tectonic Motions of the Western United States
5 MB • v: August 2016
Alaska Student Worksheet
5 MB • v: April 2019
Alaska Seismic Hazard Map
1 MB • v: May 2017
Map: Tectonic Motions of Alaska
1 MB • v: May 2017
This work is based on materials provided by the UNAVCO Education and Community Engagement Program, and the GAGE Facility supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) under NSF award: EAR 1261833. Activity author: Shelley Olds; Poster authors: Beth Bartel, Christine Puskas, and additional UNAVCO staff.
Send questions or comments about this page to education –at- UNAVCO.org
Last modified: 2020-04-16 04:16:32 America/Denver