You are on page 1of 9

# MATHEMATICS 10

PA 1 – 1 and PA 1 – 2

## THE MATH OF AN EARTHQUAKE

Locating the Epicenter of an Earthquake Using Equations of Circles

INTRODUCTION

On December 26, 2004, an earthquake roared under the Indian Ocean, producing a series of large
tsunamis that broke records, as the deadliest tsunami in the world and the fourth largest earthquake
in the world, in terms of its magnitude measurement. The initial Richter scale reading was 9.0, which
is extremely high.

To understand the cause of the earthquake, scientists needed to find the epicenter. The epicenter
and is located directly above the focus of the earthquake. Experts use math to find the epicenter and
magnitude of earthquakes and are then able to determine the severity of the earthquake. We use
this system of measurements, epicenter and magnitude, to organize and classify earthquakes.
Moreover, this provides a concrete approach to analyzing earthquakes and gives experts a way to
explain earthquakes to the rest of the world, in terms of numbers. In this way, people can understand
how severe earthquakes are around the world and experts can make predictions based on historical
patterns of earthquakes.

PA 1 – 1

Work with a partner and become virtual seismologists together by determining the epicenter of the
following earthquake simulations.

## How is an Earthquake's Epicenter Located?

One method is by using triangulation. In order to locate the epicenter of an earthquake using this
method, you will need to examine its seismograms as recorded by three different seismic stations.
On each of these seismograms you will have to execute the following steps.

a.) Estimate the time interval between the arrival of the P and S waves (the S-P interval) on the
seismogram. Measure the interval to the closest second. In the figure above, the S - P
interval is about 36 seconds. The vertical lines are placed at 2 second intervals.
b.) The S – P time interval will then be used to determine the distance the waves have traveled
from the origin to that station using the S – P graph tool.
c.) The actual location of the earthquake's epicenter could be anywhere on the circumference of
a circle drawn around the recording station. Graph this circle on the map using the distance
obtained in b.
d.) Remember that three stations are needed in order to "triangulate" the location. Repeat steps
a to d to the other two seismograms. The point of intersection among the three circles
produced determines the epicenter of the earthquake.
Earthquake 1: San Francisco

a.) Estimate the time interval between the arrival of the P and S waves on the seismograms below.
Measure the interval to the closest second.

## Las Vegas, NV Seismic Station S – P Interval = seconds

b.) Determine the distance the waves have traveled from the origin to that station using the S – P
graph tool. Complete the table below also to approximate the equation of the circles around each
seismic station.

EPICENTRAL APPROXIMATE
APPROXIMATE S–P
DISTANCE EQUATION OF THE
STATION GPS INTERVAL
(in CIRCLE
COORDINATES (in seconds)
kilometers) (in standard form)

## Eureka, (41° latitude,

California 124° longitude)

## Las Vegas, (36° latitude,

c.) Using the epicentral distances obtained in b, graph the circles around the given locations in the
map below, with the aid of a compass. Use colored pencils or markers for distinction.

d.) Determine the epicenter by placing an “X” on the point of intersection of the three circles.
Earthquake 2: Japan

a.) Estimate the time interval between the arrival of the P and S waves on the seismograms below.
Measure the interval to the closest second.

## Akita Seismic Station S – P Interval = seconds

b.) Determine the distance the waves have traveled from the origin to that station using the S – P
graph tool. Complete the table below also to approximate the equation of the circles around each
seismic station.

EPICENTRAL APPROXIMATE
APPROXIMATE S–P
DISTANCE EQUATION OF THE
STATION GPS INTERVAL
(in CIRCLE
COORDINATES (in seconds)
kilometers) (in standard form)

## Busan, (35° latitude,

South Korea 129° longitude)

(36° latitude,
Tokyo, Japan
140° longitude)

(40° latitude,
Akita, Japan
140° longitude)
c.) Using the epicentral distances obtained in b, graph the circles around the given locations in the
map below, with the aid of a compass. Use colored pencils or markers for distinction.

d.) Determine the epicenter by placing an “X” on the point of intersection of the three circles.

PA 1 – 2

With your partner, create a brochure containing the answers to the following questions to spread
awareness about the importance of being prepared during natural phenomena such as earthquakes.
• Earthquakes
o What is an earthquake? What are seismic waves? What is a seismograph?
o Why do we need to determine the magnitude and epicenter of an earthquake?
• Epicenter and Magnitude
o How do we locate the epicenter of an earthquake?
o How do determine the magnitude of an earthquake?
• Strongest Earthquakes that Hit the Philippines
o What are the strongest earthquakes that hit the Philippines?
o Where are their epicenters and what are their magnitudes?
o What were the damages caused by these earthquakes?
• Precautionary Measures for Earthquakes
o What should we do before, during, and after an earthquake?
REFLECTION

## Answer the questions below meaningfully below.

1. How did your knowledge on circles and the equation of a circle help you in this activity?

______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________.

2. Where else can your knowledge on the equation of a circle be used in real life?

______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________.

3. What did you personally learn or realize about yourself or about Math through this activity?

______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________.

4. If you are to rate your level of involvement or participation in this activity, with 1 being the lowest
and 5 being the highest, what score will you give yourself and why?

______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________.

5. If you are to rate the level of involvement or participation of your groupmates in this activity, with
1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest, what score will you give yourself and why?

______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________.
SCORING GUIDE

Approaching Not
CRITERIA Advanced Proficient Developing
Proficiency Observed
PA 1 – 1 TASK COMPLETION
Evidence of Presents Presents Presents Presents Presents
Critical accurate accurate accurate accurate inaccurate
Thinking solutions to all solutions to solutions to solution to solutions to
(Accuracy of tasks problems
Solutions,
Meaningfulness
of Reflections) 15 14 13 12 11
Evidence of Completes all Completes Completes Completes Completes
Communication four (4) tasks three (3) two (2) tasks one (1) task tasks and
and and problems tasks and and problems and/or problems
Collaboration collaboratively problems collaboratively problem without
collaboratively collaboratively collaboration
(Collaborative
Completion of
Tasks) 5 4 3 2 1
PA 1 – 2 EARTHQUAKE PREPAREDNESS BROCHURE
Includes all Includes Includes Includes a Includes
necessary majority of the some of the few of the none of the
information necessary necessary necessary necessary
Evidence of and elements information information information information
Critical of the project and elements and elements and elements and
Thinking in a logical of the project of the project of the project elements of
and in a logical in a logical in a logical the project
(Completeness interesting and and and in a logical
of Creative sequence interesting interesting interesting and
Output) sequence sequence sequence interesting
sequence

10 9 8 7 6
Presents Presents Presents Presents Presents
project with project with project with project with project
Evidence of
appropriate appropriate low quality missing without
Creative
and graphics and graphics and graphics and graphics
Thinking
interesting creative creative creative and creative
graphics and elements elements elements elements
(Aesthetics of
creative
Creative
elements
Output)
10 9 8 7 6
TOTAL