Borah Peak Earthquake
handout exercisecomputer exercisesuggested grade levels: 7-12

view Idaho achievement standards for this lesson

Earthquakes are a powerful force of nature that result when stressed rocks release huge amounts of energy. The sudden release of this stress and the resulting movement of rock is what is felt in an earthquake. This exercise should make students more aware of the process that took place in the Borah Peak Earthquake.

1. Students will become familiar with the Digital Atlas of Idaho.
2. Students will understand what happens during an earthquake.
3. Students will become more knowledgeable about the Borah Peak earthquake.

Answer the following questions using the Atlas, the Internet and your library as sources of information and images (as needed). Be sure to check out the Earthquake section of the Digital Atlas for some help in completing this activity.
1. Print an outline map of Idaho, and label your hometown.
2.Use the Atlas Base Map to locate the Lost River Range and Mt. Borah and sketch them on your map. Include the elevation of Borah Peak. Draw a circle with a 100 mile radius that has Mt. Borah at the center.
3. Search the Atlas Base Map to find earthquake faults near the Lost River Range. Sketch these faults on your map and label them. Locate all earthquakes on the map within a 100 mile radius of Mt. Borah and label them on your map.
4. Review Rocks, Rails, and Trails pages 19 -20. Next use a star to indicate which of the earthquakes you labeled in #3 was the "Borah Peak Earthquake" of October, 1983.

1. What was the magnitude of this quake?
2. What fault did it occur along?
3. Where was the epicenter?
4. What type of fault caused the Borah Peak Earthquake?
5. How much offset occurred?
6. How was the elevation of Mt. Borah affected?

5. Look at this table from the Faults, Thermal Waters and Seismicity Module. Did the Borah Peak Earthquake affect your hometown? What effects would have been noticed? What Mercalli Magnitude would you assign? Why?

Handouts/Activity links:
These are links to access the handouts and printable materials.
Maps | idoutho.pdf

Related Lesson Topics:
Geology: Geology Topics

Lesson plan by Vita Taube, 2000
Idaho Achievement Standards (as of 7/2001) met by completing this activity: