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Plate Tectonics: GPS Data, Boundary Zones, and Earthquake Hazards (Project EDDIE)

By Christopher Berg1, Julie Elliott2, Beth Pratt-Sitaula3

1. Orange Coast College 2. Purdue University 3. UNAVCO

Students work with high precision GPS data to explore how motion near a plate boundary is distributed over a larger region and hypothesize the area over which boundary-related earthquake hazards might exist. Primary emphasis is strike-slip regions.

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Version 1.0 - published on 10 Apr 2021 doi:10.25334/JQCR-9053 - cite this

Licensed under CC Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International according to these terms


Project EDDIE Environmental Data-Driven Inquiry & Exploration) is a community effort aimed at developing teaching resources and instructors that address quantitative reasoning and scientific concepts using open inquiry of publicly available data. Project EDDIE modules are designed with an A-B-C structure to make them flexible and adaptable to a range of student levels and course structures.

Learning Goals

Students are able to:

  1. Calculate horizontal rates of change from GPS positions (either graphically OR from spreadsheet data) and plot the vectors on a map
  2. Select stations in a transect across a strike-slip fault, download the data, and determine the horizontal rates for each, and plot
  3. Interpret the changes in motion across the transect and estimate the width of area vulnerable to earthquakes from the plate boundary activity

Full Modules Details


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