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Paul Sparks, Sino-Canadian International College, Guangxi University, Online English Lesson Plans, Lesson Material and Ideas for Semester 2 Reading Lessons...



Reading: Revision Exercises, Fact and Opinion / "The Main Idea"


Guidelines: Read the following news article then answer the questions that follow. 

"Earthquake Science": When the earth shook here on March 26th 2000, it helped geologists to figure out how the earth around Seattle would shake during the real thing less than a year later.

When Seattleís Kingdome was demolished with explosives, more than 200 seismic recorders caught every rattle and roll.

Tom Brocher of the U.S. Geological Survey says: "You can see the red waves travelling away from the Kingdome."

The areas that shook the worst then also shook the worst when the 6 point eight (on the Richter scale) Nisqually earthquake hit.

"We shouldnít be surprised to see damage at Boeing field and at the port of Seattle where we did see damage, because in both of those areas the ground shook longer and harder than other parts of Seattle."

Itís whatís known as a slab quake (located) 36 miles below the surface where the Juan de Fuca plate slab is diving underneath the North American plate. Geologists believe the plate bent, causing it to crack, sending shock waves to the surface.

Tom Brocher says, "As soon as we knew it was a deep earthquake- that it was this type of earthquake- we immediately put out the word that we should expect very few aftershocks."

There were only 4. In San Francisco's Loma Prieta earthquake here in 1989 which was closer to the surface, there were 120 aftershocks. The fact that "deep-focus" earthquakes have fewer aftershocks still puzzles geologists.

Brocher says, "What we can tell people is youíre not going to have these (aftershocks). What we canít tell them why. And thatís a research issue."

Geologists say the Nisqually quake originated from almost the same spot as the 1949 quake there, and had the same damage patterns. There were fewer landslides this year because of the lack of rain.

Over the next year and half, researchers want to set off explosives at the surface near Seattle. Aimed at the slab 37 miles below. The waves will then bounce off the slab and reflect back to the surface giving information about where the plate is and how itís moving.

So, before the earth moves again, geologists will have an idea which places might be destined to shake the hardest.

Note: Each number on the Richter scale represents movement 10 times larger than the previous number.

Task 1 (Fact & Opinion):

1. Write down all of the facts from the article.
2. Write down all of the opinions from the article.

Task 2 (The Main Idea): What is the main idea of this article?

Task 3 (Vocabulary): Select the correct meaning for each of the following words:

1. Demolished

Destroyed; torn down

2. Seismic recorder

A device to record the sound of an earthquake.
A device to measure movement in the Earth.
A device to predict landslides.
A device to demolish the Kingdome.

3. Geological
Having to do with the structure of the Earth's crust.
Having to do with the huge moving plates deep in the Earth.
Having to do with the effects of earthquakes in different areas.
All of the above

4. Shock waves
Large ocean waves
Huge moving plates deep in the Earth
A device to measure movement in the Earth
A force moving through solid, liquid, or gas.

5. Magnitude
A measurable size or force
Seismic recorders
Number of shock waves

6. Minimal
A measurable size or force
Very serious
Smallest; least possible
Largest possible

7. Originated
A measurement of movement in the Earth

8. Reflect
To think about carefully
To shift suddenly
To throw back or return
Seismic recording

9. Destined
In the past
Held back
Very likely to happen


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