By | May 24, 2015

Objective: To demonstrate a dip – slip and strike – slip fault movement.

Standards: Structure of the Earth System (plate tectonics and its relation to volcanoes, mountain building, and earthquakes).

Materials: three similarly sized hardcover books


(1) Hold the three books firmly together with the book spines facing upward and bring them close to your chest.

(2) By reaching under, push up on the middle book so that it slides upward between the two outer books.

(3) Repeat this step many times to make a smooth and straight lift.

(4) Next, hold the books firmly out away from your body while keeping them evenly and firmly together.

(5) Make sure the books are held sideways again, with the spines facing upward and apply a large amount of force to the outside of the books to restrict them
from slipping.

(6) Release some of your pressure so that the middle book slips downward, between the two outer books.

(7) Thirdly, hold the books firmly together, spines facing upward, and resting them on a table.

Processes of mid ocean ridge formation

(8) While holding the outer two books only, slide them back and forth repeatedly.

Science Behind It: In the first two quick demos, dip slip fault movements were displayed. When the books were held close to your chest and the middle book was forced up, this resembled a thrust fault. When the books were held away from your body and the middle book slipped downward, this resembled a normal fault in a dip slip fault movement. In the third demo, a strike slip fault was shown as the movements of the books were parallel to each other and slid back and forth. This was caused by a quick buildup and release of friction, and therefore energy, between the books.