Earthquake Fault Model

A fault is a place where there is a break in the Earth's crust. You can use clay to make your own model of a fault.

What You'll Need:
  • Three different colors of clay
  • Dull knife

Earthquakes often begin at a fault in the Earth's crust. If rock near a fault suddenly begins to move, it creates pressure that causes an earthquake. Here's a simple way to show how it works:

Step 1: Get three pieces of clay, each in a different color, and pound each piece into a flat rectangle.

Step 2: Stack them on top of one another and press them together. The three pieces of clay represent layers of the Earth's crust.

Step 3: Use a dull knife to cut all the way through the layers, in the middle. Put the two sections of clay together, but don't match them up exactly as they were before you cut them apart. The cut is like a fault in the Earth's crust.

Step 4: Push in on the outside edges of both sections of clay. The clay along the "fault" will buckle and slide. Earthquake!

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