For your term paper, you will choose and research one of the notable earthquakes listed below. These earthquakes are notable, not only for their magnitude and destruction, but for the legacy they left in the area, and in some cases, the world. They changed the way we understand, prepare for, and live through earthquakes. Your research paper should discuss both the geologic aspects of the earthquake, as well as the larger and more long-term influence they had.
1906 San Francisco Quake
Once you begin the research, you will have a better idea of the important information about his earthquake, but keep in mind that it should focus on both the geologic factors of the earthquake as well as the impact on individuals, society, and perhaps the world. Some things to consider:
• General plate tectonic setting; fault setting and all associated info about the earthquake itself.
• Review the chapter on Earthquakes to get an idea of the types of info you should include
• What secondary hazards were triggered? What damage occurred? Etc.
• What was learned from this earthquake? What were the long-term impacts of
this earthquake? What scientific contributions were made as a result of the
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but rather some general guidelines to help you begin your research. Include whatever you find that is also of interest to you or perhaps related to your major in some way. You can research how financial institutions were affected, how the economy changed, the psychological effects, etc.
Formatting and organization
• Your paper should be 1600-1800 words, double-spaced, in 12-pt font and in an appropriate style (Times New Roman, Arial, etc.).
• You should have an abstract, a brief intro, and conclusion
• Each of your paragraphs or sections should be clearly organized and should include a
heading. Use APA style for headings and sub headings. (APAstyle.org for details)
• Use figures, maps, and pictures to enhance your paper. These do not have to be
embedded in the paper, but will be in a separate appendix at the end of the paper. You should refer to the figure in the text and have the appropriate figure title/description following APA style.
Geol/Envs 111 Term Paper
This is a scientific paper and should be written to reflect this style.
• You do not need to explain/describe general geologic concepts like what a plate
boundary or subduction zone is; just discuss your topic- the plate boundary related to
this earthquake, etc.
• Be clear and concise in your writing.
• Avoid informal phrases such as: “Have you ever wondered why …?”
• Avoid colloquialisms, slang, or other informal expressions.
• Avoid references to “you” and “I”. For example: “When you look at…”
• Proofread your paper!!! Please don’t hand in a paper riddled with spelling and
• Do not use direct quotes, but instead discuss the information in your own words.
• References and Citations
• 8 reliable sources are required for this research paper
o This is a minimum requirement but does not necessarily guarantee that you did
enough research. That will be determined by the quality of the sources, not the
o You are ultimately responsible for deciding what is reliable, but you can ask me if
you have questions.
• You need to include a Reference Page at the end of your paper
o Sources must be appropriately referenced using APA style
o This link has a very thorough explanation of APA style referencing:
o Your paper must also include in-text citations.
▪ All researched info should have an in-text citation at the end of it (so
most of the paper).
▪ Citations will go at the end of the sentence or paragraph, depending on
how much info you got from that single source (This was discussed in
• Appropriate use of references and in-text citations is critical for success on this paper.
Incorrect use can be construed as plagiarism (something we all desperately want to avoid!). Please see me if you have questions about your works cited page or in-text citations.
• Plagiarism in any form will result in a minimum of a 0 on your paper and will be reported to the University with the possibility of further academic sanctions.
• ***Plagiarism includes the obvious forms, such as turning in work that is not your own, copying from online or print sources. It is also considered plagiarism if you do not correctly and accurately reference and cite all sources and information.
Geol/Envs 111 Term Paper
Example of APA style for a website:
United States Geological Survey. (2008). Loma Prieta Earthquake. Retrieved February 15, 2012 from http://www.usgs.gov/earthquakes/lomaprieta.html
• In-text citation: The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake was the result of a release of stress along a segment of the San Andreas fault in the Santa Cruz Mountains to the west of San Jose (USGS, 2008).
• The term paper must be an original for this class, meaning that you cannot submit a paper that has been or will be submitted to another class. This should be your own work (obviously) and you are expected to work independently.
• The term paper is worth 200 points and a significant % of your final grade.
• You will be graded on content, demonstration of understanding of the topic, formatting,
organization, and quality and clarity of writing.
• If you feel that you need additional help writing your paper, the Student Writing Center
is an excellent resource available to you. You can book online Zoom appointments at the link below:
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