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Investigating your geographical region

Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery
on DiscoverySchool.com
This is for the Senior Primary Class at ISOCS, who are watching the "Earth in flux."
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Exactly how are you supposed to find information about the Earth changing your geographical area?

First, find your area on a map. Write down the country names for the area, (so that you won't miss anything that's listed by country, rather than area.) I'm going to do a practice search here for Central America.

I used Google to search for "earthquake Central America".  I used the Advanced Search feature to search for material on a  basic reading level.

(I immediately discovered that lots of search results turn up that have nothing to do with what I'm looking for.  I scanned down the results page, reading the little snippets of content.  When a page looked like it might be what I was looking for, I opened it in a new tab (by right clicking on the link, and choosing "open in a new tab"), but kept on reading down the results page.  When I reached the bottom, I went on the the second page of results, and also on to the third.  After that, I started looking at the sites I had opened in the new tabs.  If they still looked interesting, I kept them open.  If they didn't have the information I needed, I closed the tab, and moved on to the next site.  If, after careful reading of a page, I decided it would be useful, I bookmarked it, so I could find it again easily. This is the most time consuming, and the hardest, and most important part of your search.)

I found http://www.emsc-csem.org/Earthquake/earthquake.php?id=165348 and tracked it back to its source at http://www.emsc-csem.org/#2w 

http://www.emsc-csem.org/#2w

At  http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/world/index.php?region=Central%20America
I found some great maps with details I might need, like this Seismicity Map for Central America.
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/world/central_america/seismicity.php

I bookmarked that webpage so I could go back to it another time.

I started checking out the region on this map  http://www.volcano.si.edu/world/find_regions.cfm

http://www.volcano.si.edu/world/find_regions.cfm

and found Central America on this detail map.  From a link on the sidebar, I learned there are 13 volcanoes in Central America. I bookmarked that page.

The side bar on that web page has lots of details about Central America - dates of eruptions, etc. I'll bookmark this web page so I can get back to it.

Back on the Google search page, I clicked on "News" at the side of the  page. That limits the search results to news sources.   I found a interesting term to investigate further,  the "Ring of Fire" http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2011/02/new-zealand-earthquake-christchurch-ring-of-fire-geology/1  I bookmarked that page, too, because I see that Central America is included on the map on that page.

Next, I did a general Google search for "volcano Central America"
This page looks really useful.  I bookmarked it, too. http://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/camvolc.htm

I clicked on  the "News" choice for the search, and  found an article from the Sunday Times, titled "Volcanoes cause chaos in Guatemala and Ecuador" dated May 2010. I bookmarked that page.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article7139916.ece

Next, I looked at the recent earthquakes page from USGS that we talked about in class on Thursday. I saw several earthquakes in my region, that I can look at more closely by clicking on their little square markers.
http://neic.usgs.gov/neis/qed/
I discovered that whether I search for "earthquake" or "volcano", information about both terms is likely to turn up.  So I will have to investigate that relationship...

So now I know which countries are in Central America, and where they are on the map.  I know that my region has many volcanoes, some of them active, and often has earthquakes.  I'll keep an eye on this earthquake rss feed on our wiki, and look for names from my region.

I'm going to download the two Google Earth layers mentioned on our Changing Earth wiki. There's information about Central America there, too.