Basin & Range Faulting
handout exercisecomputer exercisesuggested grade levels: 9-12

view Idaho achievement standards for this lesson

The crust of the earth is constantly moving. However, with the exception of faults accompanied by earthquakes, this rate of movement is far too slow to notice. This exercise will introduce students to faults.

You or your students will need to print a copy of cross-section map A and cross-section map B from page 5 of Rocks, Rails, and Trails. You can use the link below.

Encourage your students to explore the earthquake section of the Digital Atlas.
To get there: Click on Atlas Home, mouse-over Geology, then click on Earthquakes. Have your students answer the following questions using the Atlas, the Internet and your library as sources of information and imagery (as needed).

These are links to access the handouts and printable materials.
geo7ho.pdf | geo7AK.pdf | maps | Earthquakes

Handout Sample:
The sample questions below are shown in the printed handout.

  1. Study the cross-sections on page 5 of Rocks, Rails, and Trails. Is there an obvious difference between normal faults (Basin and Range type) as compared to the thrust faults?
  2. With a copy of cross-section map A and cross-section map B, one at a time, cut them apart on the fault lines and see if you can move then back to the way they were before faulting took place. This is for fun, like a puzzle, and there isn't necessarily a right or wrong way to do it. Use the arrows to help you decide which way to move the pieces.

Related Lesson Topics:
Geology: Geology Topics

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