MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Contact: Mary Hardin (818) 354-0344
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEAugust 5, 1998
EDUCATIONAL WEB PAGES BRING EARTHQUAKE RESEARCH TO STUDENTS
A new educational tool that allows students to track
earthquake motions from their classrooms is now available online
at a NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) web site.
The project is part of the Southern California Integrated
GPS Network (SCIGN), an array of 250 Global Positioning System
(GPS) receivers that continuously measure the constant, yet
barely perceptible, movements of earthquake faults throughout
"The project was motivated because many of our GPS stations
are being placed at schools. We wanted students to have an
opportunity to be involved in the project, however the web pages
have been developed for use in any school. They are also
available to the general public and other organizations such as
libraries," said Dr. Frank Webb, a JPL geophysicist and the
executive chairman of SCIGN. "These web pages use earthquakes as
a starting point and we hope the site will enable students to
look at and use real data to solve problems. Also, in the event
of an earthquake, they'll be able to get online and see how their
area moved as a result of the earthquake."
The pages are available at http://scign.jpl.nasa.gov/learn .
"The site is designed for high school and beginning college
students, but middle school teachers have told us they can use
parts of it too," said Maggi Glasscoe, the SCIGN team member who
designed the pages. "Our hope is to illustrate math concepts,
such as reading a graph, help students learn how to do research
and encourage them to explore concepts ranging from plate
tectonics and earthquake faults to earth science and physics.
We've included a lot of animation and graphics that we hope will
get students excited."
The Southern California Earthquake Center is working with
the team to have the educational pages reviewed by educators to
meet current curriculum guidelines of the state of California.
At this time, there are about 50 GPS receivers in place
around Southern California with new sites being added every week.
The earthquake network began in 1990 with only four GPS receivers
as a prototype project funded by NASA. It detected very small
motions of Earth's crust in Southern California associated with
other California earthquakes in June 1992 in Landers, and in
January 1994 in Northridge.
SCIGN is a consortium of institutions with a common interest
in using GPS for earthquake research and mitigation. The
consortium is coordinated by the Southern California Earthquake
Center (SCEC), a National Science Foundation Science and
Technology Center headquartered at the University of Southern
California (USC). The lead institutions in the installation and
operation of SCIGN are JPL, the Institute of Geophysics and
Planetary Physics-Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the
University of California, San Diego, the United States Geological
Survey, and USC.
JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology.