Earthquake Activities
Fault Blocks

In these earthquake activities you will be creating fault blocks out of Styrofoam. These elementary science activities demonstrate how blocks of land on one side of the other of a fault moves. 

When the land is squeezed together, one side of the fault moves upward often creating mountains. When the land is pulling apart one side of the fault moves downward sometimes creating valleys. Both of these two types of fault movement are common in southwest basin and range area of the United States.

Earthquake activity using Styrofoam fault blocks.Styrofoam Rock Blocks

Materials

  • Small Styrofoam block. (available in craft stores or use recycled Styrofoam from packing material)
  • Green yellow and brown acrylic bottles of paint.
  • Paint brush
  • Knife
  • Felt or ballpoint pen

Directions

  1. Purchase or cut a piece of Styrofoam into a block approximately 3 x 4 x 2 inches.
  2. An adult should cut the Styrofoam at an angle to show a fault plane.
  3. See the picture above for the angle to cut the block.
  4. Draw two parallel lines around each fault block.
  5. Paint the fault block three different colors.
  6. When the paint if dry push the fault block together and have one side slip upward. This is a reverse fault.
  7. Holding the two fault blocks in your hands slightly pull them apart and let one side drop down. This is a normal fault.
  8. You can also hold them parallel and slide horizontally past each other in a transform fault.

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