Earthquake Printables

Earthquakes San Andreas Fault
Kevin Schafer / Getty Images

An earthquake is the shaking, rolling or rumbling of the earth that happens when two blocks of earth, called tectonic plates, shift beneath the surface.

Most earthquakes occur along fault lines, the place where two tectonic plates come together. One of the most famous fault lines is the San Andreas Fault (pictured) in California. It is formed where the North American and the Pacific tectonic plates touch.

The earth's plates are moving all the time. Sometimes they get stuck where they touch. When this happens, pressure builds up. This pressure is released when the plates finally break free of one another.

This stored-up energy radiates from the spot where the plates shift in seismic waves similar to ripples on a pond. These waves are what we feel during an earthquake.

The intensity and duration of an earthquake are measured with a device called a seismograph. Scientists then use the Richter scale to rate the magnitude of the earthquake.

Some earthquakes are so small that people may not even feel them. Earthquakes that are rated 5.0 and higher on the Richter scale typically cause damage. Strong earthquakes can cause destruction to roads and buildings. Others can trigger dangerous tsunamis.

The aftershocks of strong earthquakes can also be intense enough to cause additional damage. In the United States, California and Alaska experience the most earthquakes, while North Dakota and Florida experience the fewest.

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Earthquake Vocabulary Sheet

Begin to familiarize your student with the vocabulary of earthquakes. Use the Internet or a dictionary to look up each term in the word bank. Then, fill in the blanks with the correct earthquake-related words.

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Earthquake Word Search

Let your student review earthquake terminology by stating the meaning of each term in the earthquake word search as she or he finds each hidden word in the puzzle. Refer back to the vocabulary sheet for any terms your student may not remember.

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Earthquake Crossword Puzzle

See how well your student remembers earthquake terminology using this fun, low-stress crossword puzzle. Fill in the puzzle with the correct term from the word bank based on the clues provided. 

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Earthquake Challenge

Further test your student's comprehension of terms related to earthquakes with the Earthquake Challenge. Students will choose the correct term from each multiple-choice option based on the clues given.

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Earthquake Alphabet Activity

Encourage your students to review earthquake terminology and practice their alphabetizing skills at the same time by placing these earthquake-themed words in alphabetical order.

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Earthquake Coloring Page

This Earthquake Coloring Page depicts a seismograph, the tool scientists use to measure the duration and intensity of an earthquake. Encourage your student to hone his or her research skills by using the Internet or library resources to learn more about how a seismograph works.

Students may wish to make a model seismograph to experiment and better understand how the device works.

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Earthquake Draw and Write

Invite your students to use this page to draw a picture depicting something they have learned about earthquakes. Then encourage them to practice their composition skills by writing about their drawing.

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Kid's Activity Survival Kit

In the event of a natural disaster such as an earthquake, families may have to leave their homes and stay with friends or relatives or in an emergency shelter for a while.

Invite your students to put together survival kits with their favorite items so they will have activities to occupy their minds and share with other kids if they have to leave their homes temporarily. These items can be stored in a backpack or duffel bag for quick emergency access.

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Your Citation
Hernandez, Beverly. "Earthquake Printables." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, Hernandez, Beverly. (2021, February 16). Earthquake Printables. Retrieved from Hernandez, Beverly. "Earthquake Printables." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 24, 2023).