This project was developed during the July 1999 TORCH GIS & Environmental Science workshop help at the University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA. The project focuses on an implementation of GIS that could be useful as a tutorial for introductory geology students learning about plate tectonics by studying global earthquake and volcanic activity. In this project, GIS is used to view maps showing global distribution of earthquakes and volcanoes. Earthquake and volcano data were obtained from the United States Geological Survey, and include information from approximately 30,000 earthquake events and 1,500 volcano localities. Herein lies the power of using GIS to manipulate these data. While it is educationally useful to have students plot recent earthquake and volcanic events so that they learn how to deal with latitude and longitude, plotting sufficient events to clearly outline plate boundaries is tedious and the educational benefit is questionable. Using a GIS allows students to better understand concepts of plate tectonics because they can manipulate data to more readily picture plate boundaries.
page created by C. Summa, 7/15/99