Anatomy of an Earthquake

Name: _________________________________       Date: _____________

In May 2008, China's Sichuan Province was jolted by a deadly earthquake of magnitude 7.9. In this Planet Diary activity, you'll take a close look at data of the quake and see how scientists use it to assess seismic damage and risk.

  1. Read Planet Diary's Journal Entry Deadly Quake Jolts China. Study the map and read the caption. What does the red line southwest of the epicenter show? What happens along the line?
  2. Describe how stress created along the Indo-Australian and Eurasian plate boundary builds up in China's Sichuan Basin.
  3. Look at this NASA elevation map of the Sichuan Basin. What do the different colors on the map represent?
  4. What do the red circles on the map represent?
  5. The circles are clues to the location of the Beichuan Fault, where scientists found stress was building before the quake hit. Scroll to the third paragraph to learn more details. What causes most earthquakes in central and eastern Asia?
  6. How do tectonic plate collisions cause stress on faults along the Sichuan Basin?
  7. View this earthquake Intensity Map. Look at the color key of Intensity below the map. Name the city that felt an earthquake intensity of IX (colored red).
  8. On the table below the map, look at the descriptions of earthquake Shaking just below Intensity. How intense was the shaking in the Chengdu area from the quake?