Sliding Earth

a short story about landslides and remote sensing for middle school students

In the beautiful western United States, a girl named Raquel loved exploring the outdoors and had a deep fascination for rocks and the powerful forces of nature. Little did she know that an amazing adventure awaited her.

One sunny day, Raquel's science teacher, Mr. Adams, shared some extraordinary news. He introduced Dr. Collins, a geologist, who would help them learn about mudslides and identify areas of potential danger. Raquel's eyes sparkled with excitement!

Dr. Collins, a knowledgeable and enthusiastic scientist, arrived at the school carrying maps, rock samples, and a contagious smile. She explained that mudslides occur when heavy rain, erosion, or seismic activity disturb the land, causing soil and rocks to slide down slopes. Raquel was fascinated by the idea of studying these natural events.

Together with her classmates, Raquel dived into the world of geology. They learned about different rock types, examined soil layers, and studied the topography  of the land. Dr. Collins made the lessons exciting and hands-on, organizing field trips to nearby areas affected by mudslides.

One adventurous day, Dr. Collins took the class to Oso, Washington.  It had witnessed a massive mudslide years ago. Raquel marveled at the mighty power of nature and its ability to shape the landscape. Dr. Collins explained how to recognize warning signs, such as cracked soil, steep slopes, and bare hillsides, which could indicate areas at risk. Use the map below to explore the Oso mudslide.

Inspired by their field trip, Raquel and her friends formed a team of young geologists. Armed with magnifying glasses, notebooks, and enthusiasm, they explored their own neighborhoods, searching for signs of potential mudslides. They measured slope angles, inspected soil textures, and took notes of any worrisome signs.

One stormy evening, as rain poured outside, Raquel was watching to the news. The weather reporter warned about an approaching storm and the possibility of mudslides. Remembering her training, Raquel quickly contacted Dr. Collins to share her concerns about a hillside near her house.

Dr. Collins was impressed by Raquel's keen observation and immediately alerted the local authorities. They sprang into action, warning the community and reinforcing vulnerable areas. Raquel's quick thinking had helped protect her neighborhood from a potential disaster.

News of Raquel's heroic act spread like wildfire. The local newspaper dubbed her the "Mudslide Detective," and her classmates cheered her bravery. Dr. Collins praised Raquel's dedication and invited her to assist with future research projects.

As the years passed, Raquel's passion for geology continued to grow. She pursued a career in earth sciences, tirelessly working to study and predict natural hazards. Raquel's adventure in middle school had ignited a lifelong love for exploring the mysteries of the earth.

Educational resource reference: NGSS:MS-ESS2-2 – Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience pro- cesses have changed Earth’s surface at varying time and spatial scales.

Tags: geocomic earth geology mudslide landslide rockslide remotesensing remote sensing imagery FK8