Earthquake Engineering: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Suzanne Rose

Suzanne has taught all levels PK-graduate school and has a PhD in Instructional Systems Design. She currently teachers literacy courses to preservice and inservice teachers.

Around the world, earthquakes cause millions of dollars in damage and cause many injuries and deaths each year. Earthquake engineers can help with this problem. Find out what they do to help by reading this lesson.

Shaking and Quaking

Have you ever been in an earthquake? During an earthquake, large blocks of rock under the ground suddenly break along a fault, which is like a crack in the crust of the Earth. These blocks of rock push against each other all the time. After a while, they weaken and break.

This makes them slide a bit and sends out energy in waves that move through the ground. These waves, called seismic waves, are what cause the ground to shake in an earthquake. Believe it or not, these waves can move four times faster than some jet planes!

Earthquake Damage
quake

When the ground shakes buildings, roads, bridges, and other structures on the surface of the Earth are often damaged. When this happens, people can be injured or killed, and there are often millions, if not billions of dollars in damages. What can people do about this problem?

Earthquake Engineering to the Rescue

There are scientists called earthquake engineers who are here to help! They study earthquakes and the damage caused by them to learn how structures can be built so that buildings aren't destroyed during earthquakes.

Earthquake engineers have figured out ways to make buildings more earthquake-resistant. This means that they're less likely to be damaged by seismic waves during an earthquake. It is possible to build earthquake-proof buildings and other structures, but it's very expensive to do so, so most of the time earthquake engineers make them more resistant to earthquakes in order to save people's lives.

Becoming an Earthquake Engineer

If you're interested in earthquake engineering, you need to study math and computers. You'll also need to learn about many areas of science. For example, earthquake engineers need to know a lot about rocks and soil, so they need to study geology.

Earthquake engineers study ways to make structures safer during earthquakes.
engineers

They also need to know about different types of metals and other building materials so they can figure out which ones are best to use in structures to make them earthquake-resistant. Earthquake engineers also need to learn how buildings and bridges are built.

Studying Damaged Structures

After an earthquake has happened, many earthquake engineers study the damaged roads and structures so that they can see what parts were broken by the seismic waves. This helps them find the weak spots that they will need to fix in the future.

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