Anne's Quizzes

Anne's Quizzes

Damage contours for large earthquakes in North America.
Notice that it is not just a California issue.

Anne’s Quiz #10


The energy required to literally 'move mountains' is impressive. I have developed quite an interest in studying the phenomenon and teach an extra-curricular class locally in Moorpark. I am also a member of the Seismological Society of America and the American Geophysical Union. If you want a good starting point for more information, I recommend Peace of Mind in Earthquake Country by Peter Yanev. It is an excellent primer on the basics of what happens during an earthquake and how you can protect yourself before, during and after one.
1. The first device designed to detect the motion of an earthquake was invented by Chang Heng in China. Eight balls were held in metal dragons' mouths. Shaking released the balls; the first to fall indicated the direction of the epicenter. When was this device created?
a. 1000 BC
b. 1540 AD
c. 132 AD
d. 1867 AD
2. The first (as far as is known) seismogram of a distant earthquake comes from Germany for a large earthquake in Japan. When was it recorded?
a. 1931
b. 1889
c. 1951
d. 1709
3. What is a Benioff Zone?
a. An area where an earthquake is anticipated in the near (~10 years) future.
b. An area of probable liquefaction.
c. The interface between two tectonic plates where one is sliding beneath the other.
d. A mid-continent region where earthquakes are rare or non-existent.
4. Why is the Richter Scale so named?
a. For Charles Richter, the man who determined an empirical relationship between the size of an earthquake and the wave amplitude at some distance from the quake epicenter.
b. For George Richter, the man who first recorded a seismogram.
c. For Martin Richter, the man who first identified the San Andreas Fault.
d. For Cesaer Richter, the man who discovered the theory of plate tectonics.
5. The Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale is used to gauge the effects of an earthquake. Using the Roman numerals I to XII, contours can be drawn around the epicenter to understand how much damage was done and/or what the earthquake felt like. Which of the following describes a number IX?
a. Damage is total, with practically all works of construction severely damaged or destroyed.
b. Causes general alarm. Standing upright is very difficult.
c. Poorly built buildings may be damaged, and weak plaster will crack.
d. Panic is general. Interior damage is considerable. Unreinforced masonry buildings collapse.
6. The San Andreas is slipping at an average of 4 cm/year. Approximately when can we expect Los Angeles to join San Francisco?
a. 1000 years
b. 10 million years
c. 1 billion years
d. 10000 years
7. Explosions release enormous amounts of energy, just as do earthquakes. Both can generate significant ground motion. In terms of an earthquake, how big is a 20kt nuclear explosion (Hiroshima or Nagasaki size bombs)?
a. ~6.3
b. ~8.1
c. ~4
d. ~5
8. If you live in Earthquake Country and would prefer that your house remain standing, generally what conditions would you look for when buying a home?
a. An alluvial floodplain.
b. A home on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
c. Foundation anchored to bedrock.
d. An Alquist-Priolo zone.
9. Where is the Juan de Fuca plate and what is its significance?
a. Just off the west coast of Mexico, this plate is shoving Baja California away from the mainland.
b. Just off the Oregon/Washington coast, this plate is sliding under the North American plate and is expected to cause a great earthquake when it moves.
c. Hawaii rides on this plate and is moving to the west.
d. Antarctica sits on this plate and it is used as a reference point for movement of the rest of the plates.
10. The tiny town of Parkfield, California, is the most heavily instrumented place (for earthquakes) in the world. Why?
a. A magnitude 6 earthquake happens there approximately every 22 years and scientists want to catch the next one in great detail.
b. It is particularly prone to liquefaction, even in small earthquakes, so scientists are studying the phenomena there.
c. John Mason, a resident of Parkfield, is independently wealthy and an amateur seismologist.
d. It is the only town on the San Andreas Fault that voted to allow the seismologists to set their field tests.
1st Bonus: How far west did Moorpark move as a result of the Northridge Earthquake of 1994?
a. 4 inches
b. 2 meters
c. not at all
d. 1 cm
2nd Bonus: Which major fault system runs through the southeast corner of Moorpark?
a. San Andreas
b. Newport-Inglewood
c. Simi-Santa Rosa
d. Oakridge


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quiz 10 created 1996