Junior Scholastic
Junior Scholastic is a current events magazine for grades 6-8 that covers important national and world events supporting Social Studies curriculum. It includes more articles, maps, posters, and skill-building activities than any other Social Studies magazine for middle school students.




California Waits For The Big One

Boogy-boarding down a flight of stairs during an earthquake is not a wise thing to do. Just ask Jewel McGuinnes, 12, of Eureka, California.

"A friend and I were at my house and we were boogy-boarding down the stairs," says Jewel. "About halfway down, tremors knocked me off my board. Next thing I knew, I was sitting at the foot of the stairs and my friend was screaming, 'Earthquake!'"

The quake that knocked Jewel off her boogy board last April has been followed by even bigger quakes. On June 28, 1992, the most powerful quake to hit the U.S. in 40 years struck Landers, California. It measured 7.4 on the Richter scale. Hours later, another big quake hit Bear Valley, 20 miles away. The two quakes caused one death and millions of dollars in damage. If the quakes had struck a big city, such as Los Angeles, the toll would have been higher. The quakes, say scientists, are just a reminder of "the Big One" still to come.

Earthquakes: Slips And Faults

The Big One is the name that scientists have given to a severe earthquake expected to strike California within the next 30 years.

What causes earthquakes? Scientists explain that the earth's crust, or outer shell, is made up of massive slabs of rock called plates. These plates, which can be as big as a continent or as small as a city, are constantly shifting. You can visualize the shifting of these plates by looking at what happens when Arctic ice floes meet each other. Some floes break apart, some slide partially over the other, and some simply grind past each other.

Most earthquakes occur along a fault — a crack in the earth's crust. One of the most visible is California's San Andreas Fault, where the Pacific Plate slides past the North American Plate. When two plates slip by each other, tremendous tension builds up. The tension is released in violent jerks or shock waves, which we call an earthquake.

The Big One; still waiting on the evening of October 17, 1989, residents of San Francisco thought that the Big One had struck.

Minutes before the start of the third game of the World Series between the Oakland A's and the San Francisco Giants, the city was rocked and rattled by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake. Buildings and bridges collapsed, fires broke out, and 59 people were killed.

Scientist later said that this quake was not the Big One. In fact, the 1989 San Francisco quake may seem like small potatoes when compared to the huge quake that scientists predict is to come.

What makes the Big One such a threat, says geologist Virgil Frizzell, is that it probably will occur in or near a major city in northern or southern California. Two likely candidates are San Francisco and Los Angeles. Such a quake would cause much more damage than the 1989 San Francisco quake. That quake, says Frizzell, had its center at a location 100 kilometers from San Francisco.

Not just in California about 40 moderate and thousands of minor earthquakes occur every year. "Remember, it's not just in California that earthquakes happen," Frizzell says. "They are happening every day, all over the world."

There is nothing that people can do to control the destructive power of an earthquake. But there are steps that we can take to limit the amount of damage and danger from an earthquake.

Making building codes tougher is one way to limit damage. By requiring builders to use safer materials and construction methods, much of the damage from quakes can be prevented. Homeowners can make their homes safer during a quake by securing water heaters, cabinet doors, and gas lines.

Do Californians like Jewel worry about the Big One? "Well (after the April 25 quake), I was scared to go to bed," Jewel says. "Since then, whenever I feel a tremor, I get worried. But more than anything, I am much more on my toes, much more aware."

Richter Scale - Typical Damage:8 - Total damage. 7 - Buildings collapse. 6 - Buildings crack and things fall off shelves. 5 - Furniture and pictures move. 3-4 - People feel a rumble and hear noise. 1-2 - Most people do not notice anything.

Septermber 4, 1992

  • Teacher Store
  • The Teacher Store  
    Guided Reading Lecturas Cortas Level J

    Guided Reading Lecturas Cortas Level J

    Available August 2015!

    The all-new Guided Reading Short Reads brings the same high-quality nonfiction of the original Guided Reading Short Reads to both Spanish and English-speaking learners. Access to short informational texts builds vocabulary acquisition and content area knowledge for all students, providing rich support for students who are learning Spanish, and building confidence in Spanish-speaking learners that they will carry over to their English instruction.

    NEW! Guided Reading Lecturas Cortas:
    •Fits seamlessly into classroom guided reading groups
    •Teaches strategies for decoding and comprehending complex texts
    •Builds rich domain-specific vocabulary across content areas
    •Engages students with thematically linked passages across text types
    •Provides sufficiently complex, short informational texts worthy of being read, reread, and analyzed

    Each level includes:
    •10 Student Informational Text Cards, 6 copies each
    •1 Teaching Guide
    •Magazine-style storage box

    Visit the Scholastic Guided Reading Program website for more information.

    $129.00 You save: 25%
    Supplementary Collection | Grades 2-3
    Add To Cart
    Educators Only
    Guided Reading Lecturas Cortas Level J
    Grades 2-3 $129.00
    Add To Cart
  • Teacher Store
  • The Teacher Store  


    by Patricia Lauber

    May 18, 1980, 8:32 A.M.:

    An earthquake suddenly triggered an avalanche on Mount St. Helens, a volcano in southern Washington State. Minutes later, Mount St. Helens blew the top off its peak and exploded into the most devastating volcanic eruption in U.S. history.

    What caused the eruption? What was left when it ended? What did scientists learn in its aftermath?

    In this extraordinary photographic essay, Patricia Lauber details the Mount St. Helens eruption and the years following. Through this clear accurate account, readers of all ages will share the awe of the scientists who witnessed both the power of the volcano and the resiliency of life.

    $5.21 You save: 25%
    Paperback Book | Grades 4-6
    Add To Cart
    Educators Only
    Grades 4-6 $5.21
    Add To Cart
Privacy Policy




Here's something interesting from