The planet's layer known as the geosphere is made up of the rock in its crust. Tectonic forces inside Earth build mountains and keep rocks changing form in the rock cycle. While the surface of the geosphere is sculpted slowly over millions of years by wind and water, volcanoes can suddenly belch out new rock in fiery streams of lava. Earthquakes rearrange rock layers in violent bursts. Planet Diary tracks these changes in Earth's rocky skin.
Planet Diary Activities
- Earthquakes in Your State
Students explore the seismic history and geology of their state.
- Seismic Waves
A comparison of the different types of seismic waves that move through the ground in an earthquake.
- Drifting Continents
An exploration of how continents have drifted over millions of years, and where they might be headed in the future.
- Anatomy of an Earthquake
An in-depth look at seismic data from the magnitude 7.9 China earthquake of 2008.
- Radtown USA
Students visit the EPA's Radtown USA to learn about natural and man-made sources of radiation in the environment.
- Volcanoes and Plate Tectonics
Students find out about recent volcanic eruptions and discover the tectonic plates involved.
This site has awesome images of the geosphere as seen from space.
Earth as Art
The title of this USGS site says it all. Spectacular!
United States Geological Survey
Your starting point for the latest geosphere information, images, and research.
Global Earthquake Activity
Find out where earthquakes shook the planet today and over the past week, and how strong these quakes were.
IRIS Seismic Monitor
View an interactive map showing location and magnitude of recent earthquakes.
USGS Real-time Earthquake Map
Another great place to find up-to-the-minute quake reports.
Earthquake Learning Links
You'll find earthquake related puzzles, animations, and other cool stuff at this USGS page.
NGDC Natural Hazards Data
Search for earthquakes according to intensity, magnitude, deaths, and cost of damage at this extensive Web site from the National Geophysical Data Center.
Find tons of great tsunami information and graphics here.
Tsunami Hazard Mitigation
Would you know what to do if you heard a tsunami warning?
Check out the history of quakes in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can also try these activities:
Global Volcanism Program
This Smithsonian site has detailed descriptions of many of the world's volcanoes and features frequent updates about current activity.
Current Volcanic Activity
Where are volcanoes currently erupting? Find out at this Global Volcanism page.
These satellite images show the world's most active volcanoes.
How Volcanoes Work
A terrific volcano primer.
CVO Photo Archives
USGS provides images of volcanoes around the world, courtesy of the Cascades Volcano Observatory.
Hawaii Volcano Observatory
Kilauea has been erupting nearly continuously since 1983, so it requires careful monitoring. Visit this site to learn about Hawaii's volcanic hazards or visit Volcano Watch, a weekly newsletter.
Cascades Volcano Observatory
The Cascades stretch from Canada to California and are home to the notorious Mount St. Helens. If you want to learn about volcanoes, how volcanologists monitor volcanoes, the history of Mount St. Helens, or how to prepare for an eruption, this is a good site to visit.
Great stories about volcanoes past and present can be found at this site from The Why Files.
A Volcanic Hazard Primer
This primer from the Michigan Technological University provides information about lava, tephra, and pyroclastic flows. It includes case studies and photos.
USGS Volcano Hazards Program
What are the hazards posed by volcanoes? Where are the volcanoes of the U.S. and are they active? Find the answers to your questions here.
Volcanology: Hands-on Activities
Study slope angle and viscosity by trying these volcano worksheets and recipes from the Hawai'i Space Grant Consortium.
Visit Radtown to find out what happens to radioactive wastes.
The EPA has useful info on natural radiation. Some of the sources will surprise you.
This EPA page lets you calculate your exposure to radiation in the environment.