Lesson 36: Earthquakes



In this lesson, your tutor will help you go over this topic: Earthquakes. First, read the following dialogue out loud with your tutor, then switch roles and try again. 

Kevin and Dorothy are talking about the recent earthquake in Chile.

Did you hear about the earthquake in Chile?
Yes, I heard it was 6.8 in magnitude.
I saw there was also a tsunami warning in the news.
I’m glad it was just a warning. I was told there were a lot of aftershocks.
Were there any collapsed buildings?
I don’t think so. Most of the buildings in Chile are made to withstand a powerful earthquake.
That’s good. I think it’s a good idea to have a disaster preparedness kit.
I agree. I’m sure the people in Chile were shaken up.
Have you ever been in an earthquake?
No, but I have experienced tremors before.


Go over the following vocabulary and expressions with your tutor. Read the word/expression and definition out loud, and your tutor will go over anything you do not understand. Practice creating a sentence or two to make sure you know how to use the word/expression properly.

Vocabulary/ Expressions

earthquake (n) A sudden shaking of the ground when rocks move; a disaster 

There was an earthquake in Ecuador last month.

magnitude (n) a metric to measure the size of an earthquake
The earthquake was 6.8 in magnitude.
tsunami warning (n phrase) a very large ocean wave caused by an underwater earthquake or volcanic eruption
The government gave a tsunami warning after the earthquake.
aftershocks (n – plural) a smaller earthquake following the main shock of a larger earthquake
The aftershocks were very strong.
collapsed (v – of a structure) fall down or in; give way
The building collapsed after the earthquake.
withstand (v) to not be harmed or affected by something
The buildings are made to withstand an earthquake.
powerful (adj) having a lot of strength or force
The powerful earthquake caused a lot of damage.
disaster preparedness kit (n) a package having supplies like food, water, and candles in case of an earthquake or another emergency
We have a disaster preparedness kit in our house for emergencies.
shaken up (v phrase) to become upset by a shock or bad accident, not physically injured
My parents were shaken up after the car accident.
tremors (n) a sudden shaking of the ground; a weak earthquake that doesn’t cause damage
Did you feel the two tremors today?


Practice answering the following questions with your tutors. You can use the sample answers to come up with your own answer.

  1. Have you ever been in an earthquake?
    1. No, I’ve never felt an earthquake.
    2. I experienced a 7.0 earthquake.
    3. Your answer:
  2. Do you have a disaster preparedness kit?
    1. I have never heard of such a kit.
    2. I think I will consider buying or making one.
    3. Your answer:
  3. Can the buildings in your hometown withstand an earthquake?
    1. I don’t think the buildings in my hometown can withstand an earthquake.
    2. To tell you the truth, I don’t know.
    3. Your answer:
  4. Have you ever been shaken up by something?
    1. I was shaken up in a car accident one time.
    2. I was shaken up when my parents died.
    3. Your answer:
  5. Can you give an example of something powerful?
    1. My car is powerful.
    2. The rainstorm last night was powerful.
    3. Your answer:


Use the following questions as a guideline to form an interesting conversation with your tutor. Feel free to diverge from these suggestions if anything interesting comes up.

  1. What types of disasters do you have in your country?
  2. Is it a good idea to have a disaster preparedness kit? Why or why not?
  3. Do you think it’s possible to survive in a building that has collapsed?
  4. What would you put in a disaster preparedness kit?
  5. What would you do if you were in an earthquake?


Go over any new expressions or vocabulary that you learned today.



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