Madame How & Lady Why – Part 2: Earthquakes

Earthquakes – Chapter 2

80% of the world’s earthquakes occur along the rim of the Pacific Ring of Fire and much of what we’ve used to supplement MHLW in this chapter is related to this part of the world.
Australia sits in the middle of  the Indo-Australian tectonic plate, and the unpredictable earthquake activity we have is a result of this plate being pushed around. Australian Geographic has this article relating to that plus a list of the ten biggest earthquakes in history.




Earthquakes in Australia. The most serious occurred on 28 December 1989 in Newcastle, NSW.
The Christchurch NZ earthquakes – very good video and narrative from the ABC programme, Catalyst. 
Splash ABC videos:
Predicting earthquakes – recommended for Year 6. Some technical but interesting information on warning systems and equipment used in the Nankai Trough, Japan.


Seismology – how seismology helps us to understand Earth’s structure.

How a sudden slip between two sticking plates can cause an earthquake resulting in a tsunami.



Tsunami is a Japanese word; ‘tsu’ meaning harbour and ‘nami’ meaning wave. The phenomenon is usually associated with earthquakes, landslides or volcanic eruptions in, or adjacent to oceans, and results in sudden movement of the water column. Until recently tsunami were called tidal waves, even though the event has nothing to do with tides.

Tsunami can travel at speeds up to 950km/h in deep water which can be represented by the speed of a passenger jet. 


In MHLW Charles Kingsley wrote of his experience of an earthquake while in the shaky Pyrenees, a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a border between France and Spain.



“…The lid of one of her great steam boilers is rather shaky and cracked just here, because the granite has broken and torn the limestone as it lifted it up; and here is the hot water out of the boiler actually oozing out of the crack; and the earthquake I heard last night was simply the steam rumbling and thumping inside, and trying to get out.”  


 The Death of a Boy in Sessa by Giotto – possibly as the result of an earthquake (Italy). See this article here.



Last year I put together a post with some videos on earthquakes and volcanoes I used when we did Exploring His Earth by Ann Voskamp. There are a couple of good ones that fit in with Madame How & Lady Why also.


5 thoughts on “Madame How & Lady Why – Part 2: Earthquakes

  1. Pingback: Madame How & Lady Why: Chapter 5 – The Ice-Plough | journey & destination

  2. Pingback: Madame How & Lady Why by Charles Kingsley – Part 1: The Glen | journey & destination

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