Resources for Teachers

Grade K-2: Natural Hazards

General Natural Hazards|| Earthquakes||Floods|| Landslides|| Tsunamis|| Volcanoes

General Natural Hazards

Natural Hazards Gateway- Background Information
Provides many links and resources to USGS information related to earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, landslides, tsunamis, volcanoes, and wildfires.  


Earthquake ABC- Lessons
An ABC book created by children who witnessed an earthquake. It incorporates science, feelings, and preparedness related to this unpredictable and frightening hazard. Parent and teacher guides are included.

Visual Glossary of Earthquake Terms- Background Information
Not only are earthquake terms explained, but photographs and other images are provided with each entry.

Earthquakes - For Kids- Activities
This Web site is rich with facts, information, coloring pages, and activities related to earthquakes. Includes links to teacher resources and much more...   

Bigger Faults Make Bigger Earthquakes- Activity
Use string or rope to demonstrate relationships between the length of a fault and the earthquakes that occur along it.

The Great Alaska Earthquake and Tsunami of March 27, 1964- Background Information
Explore numerous resources created for the 50th anniversary of the second largest earthquake ever recorded and the tsunami that it created. Watch videos, animations, archival film, and a public lecture; read short fact sheets and summaries; and delve into historical photographs. An interactive "story map" of 1964 Anchorage is an especially good way to engage students.

Earthquake Preparedness- Lesson
The key to earthquake safety is to be prepared and know what to expect. Use the many resources at this site to teach students how to react when an earthquake occurs. The Great Shakeout Drills website has classroom materials targeted to specific states.

Earthquake Topics- Background Information
A list of USGS Earthquake websites that teachers and students will find particularly useful. Resources can be browsed by grade level.

Earthquakes- Background Information
A 20-page online booklet that explains the nature and causes of earthquakes. Describes techniques used to detect, record, measure, and predict seismic disturbances.

Earthquake Summary Posters- Poster
Download a summary poster showing the details of major earthquakes. These posters are typically released within 24 hours of a major global event and include maps of the earthquake location and its tectonic setting, maps of shaking hazards, and a brief review of the area's earthquake history. A great resource when discussing a specific event in the classroom.


Tsunamis and Earthquakes- Background Information
An extensive list of links with information about tsunamis, including animations of several tsunamis.

Life of a Tsunami- Background Information
A very basic explanation of how earthquakes can trigger a tsunami. Includes diagrams.

Surviving a Tsunami—Lessons from Chile, Hawaii, and Japan- Background Information
This on-line publication describes the causes and impacts of large tsunamis, with examples from around the Pacific Rim.

Could It Happen Here? Tsuanmis That Have Struck U.S. Coastlines - Background Information
A brief review of significant tsunamis that have struck coastlines of the United States and its territories.

FAQs About Tsunamis- Background Information
Frequently Asked Questions about tsunamis.


Landslide Hazards- Background Information
A two-page fact sheet with basic information about landslide hazards and safety issues related to wet weather conditions in landslide-prone areas.

Landslide Types and Processes- Background Information
A basic overview of the different types of landslides. This is a very abridged version of the 129-page USGS Landslide Handbook, which is heavily illustrated.

Riding the Storm- Background Information
A catastrophic 1982 rainstorm triggered 18,000 landslides in the San Francisco Bay Area, claiming 25 lives and causing $66 million in property damage. Learn what USGS scientists have discovered in the last two decades about landslide dynamics and which slopes are most susceptible to sliding in this award-winning online documentary.

The Mountain That Moved- Background Information
Some of the largest prehistoric landslides in the world are located in Montgomery and Craig Counties, VA; one is nearly three miles long! Learn how these giant landslides were discovered and what they tell us about current landslide potential.


Cascade Volcano Resources for Educators- Background Information
A list of resources that are mostly specific to the Cascades, but could be applied to other volcanic areas.

Map of Current Volcano Activity- Background Information
The newly revised USGS Volcano Hazards Web site now includes a real-time status map of volcanoes, Quick Links to popular volcano information, and an expanded 

Resource Page for Educators!Volcano Photos and Webcams- Photos
View and download free photos of volcanoes in the United States.

Photo Glossary of Volcano Terms- Photos
Brief descriptions and illustrative photographs of over 60 volcano terms.

Volcanoes (Booklet)- Background Information
A 45-page online booklet that summarizes basic information about volcanoes – their types, different kinds of eruptions, related features, volcano research, and more.

What are Volcano Hazards?- Background Information
More than 50 volcanoes in the United States have erupted over the last 200 years. This brief fact sheet explains the hazards that result from these eruptions and how life and property hundreds of miles away from an eruption can be affected.

Geologic Hazards at Volcanoes- Poster
Download a pdf file of this 18 inch x 27 inch poster showing a diagram of a cut-away volcano and the various hazards associated with volcanoes either during or between eruptions. The poster can also be ordered for free through the USGS Store($5.00 handling fee). Product number 208285.

Regional Volcano Observatories- Background Information
News and consolidated information about volcanic activity in several regions around the U.S.

Living with a Volcano in your Backyard- Activities
Activities address volcanic processes and hazards, community safety, and the impact of volcanoes on our culture and history. These are structured around (but are not limited to!) the Cascade Range volcanoes.

Eruptions in the Cascade Range During the Past 4,000 Years- Poster
Download a pdf file of this 20 inch x 24 inch poster showing a timeline of eruptions in the Cascade Range. The poster can also be ordered for free through the USGS Store ($5.00 handling fee). Product number 208284.

Mount St. Helens Eruption - 30th Anniversary- Background Information
On May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens Volcano exploded violently, causing the worst volcanic disaster in the history of the U.S. Explore materials about the eruption, including a poster: 30 Cool Facts about Mount St. Helens (free through the USGS Store). Watch a fascinating video in which USGS scientists recount their experiences during the eruption, and see how the eruption has triggered a growth in volcano science and volcano monitoring. View a 3-D Animation of Mount St. Helensfollowing the 1980 eruption.

Caldera Demonstration Model- Video
What is a caldera and how does it form? In this video, a USGS scientist performs a simple demonstration using flour, a balloon, and bicycle pump that can be also used in the classroom. Explore more USGS information about calderas here.

Eruptions of Hawaii's Volcanoes--Past, Present, and Future- Background Information
Updated (2010), online version of a 63-page booklet written for the general public. Focuses on the eruptive history, style, and products of Hawaii's Kilauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes. Heavily illustrated with photographs and diagrams.

Volcanic and Seismic Hazards on the Island of Hawaii- Background Information and Photos
A general interest publication that provides an excellent description, with photographs, of the hazards associated with living in an active volcanic region and the topics that potential homeowners and land-use planners must consider.


Coastal Erosion- Activity
This activity is designed to help students understand coastal erosion caused by waves.

Floods and Floodplains- Background Information
This easy-to-understand fact sheet describes why floods occur and discusses the basics about flood-plain designation.

Large Floods in the United States: Where they Happen and Why- Background Information
A 13-page on-line publication that describes the geographic and climatic factors that influence the occurrence and impacts of large floods in the United States.

Significant Floods in the United States During the 20th Century- Background Information
A short description of the types of floods, how they are measured, and the 32 most significant floods of the last century.   

FAQs About Floods- Background Information
Frequently Asked Questions about floods.

The 100-Year Flood- Background Information 
What is a 100-year flood and why don't these floods happen every 100 years? This simple fact sheet describes the statistics behind the designation and explains why regular measurements are essential for understanding them.