Methods Of Forecasting Earthquakes


You will write a five to seven page persuasive essay that addresses a question or problem in physical geology. Your paper should present a critical and a thorough analysis of the scientific literature relevant to your question.  More specifically, you will explain (1) an interesting and/or important research question, (2) multiple working hypotheses for a natural phenomenon, (3) previous work on your topic, and (4) a logical thesis.

Potential research questions

Can earthquakes be forecasted?(Focus on this one especially the methods)

What causes intraplate volcanism?

What caused the Yellowstone Caldera?

What can be done to stop land loss in coastal Louisiana?

What caused Pangea to breakup?

How did the Rocky Mountains form?

Does climate affect uplift rates?

What caused the Pleistocene Ice Age?

How will anthropogenic climate change affect weather?

Problematic research questions

What causes plate tectonics?

What causes volcanism?

What causes prevailing wind directions?

How does granite form?

How are rocks dated?

Primary components of your research paper


The title should clearly describe the content of your research paper. Place your title at the top center of the first page. Follow the title with your name and date on separate centered spaces.


The introduction describes the question(s), problem(s), significance, alternative hypotheses, and thesis of your research paper. Begin the introduction with a statement of your research question or problem. Next, explain why your question needs an answer or why it is important to solve your problem. Briefly describe the various hypotheses scientists have proposed to explain the question. Conclude your introduction with a clear thesis statement. [1 to 2 pages]



The background describes the main concepts of your research proposal, major findings of previous work in the field, and current gaps in knowledge. Show your understanding of your research question with a thorough and critical analysis of the relevant published literature. [1 to 2 pages]


This is where you logically defend your thesis statement with evidence from peer reviewed papers. Present both evidence that supports your thesis and evidence that refutes alternative hypotheses. Separate paragraphs may be appropriate for different lines of evidence. You may also combine the background and body sections into single section. [2 to 4 pages]


Restate your thesis and summarize your arguments [half page].


Use in-text citations and include a minimum of six references from peer-reviewed journals. Do not use information from websites.

Rules for formatting your paper

  1. Divide your paper into the following sections: (1) title, (2) introduction, (3) background, (4) body (may contain subsections), (5) conclusions, and (6) references.
  2. Summarize or paraphrase all previous work. Quoted passages are not permitted.
  3. Cite all previous work parenthetically using the APA style.
  4. Double-space and left justify your entire paper (title page excluded).
  5. Use a 12 point standard font (e.g., Times, Geneva, Helvetica, etc.)
  6. Use one-inch top and side margins on letter-sized (8 1/2″ x 11″) paper.
  7. Use consistent headings and subheadings throughout.
  8. Do not add additional spaces between headings and subheadings.
  9. Include figures and tables where appropriate in your introduction, background, and body.
  10. Place single spaced figure captions under all figures.
  11. Mention your figures in the body of the paper before the figure.

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