For millions of years, California has been shaped by natural forces and continues to be reshaped every day. These forces include earthquakes, volcanoes, glaciers and erosion. On a larger scale, plate tectonics influences the shaping of California as the Pacific Plate rubs against the North American plate. That results in earthquakes and volcanic activity which further changes the face of California.


This part of the website is designed to provide students with links to help them understand and enrich their knowledge of the forces which shape California. Each of the major forces is defined on this page and links to investigate are provided. Additionally, the students should engage in hands-on activities which will help them to see the effects of the natural forces. Enjoy your journey through the shaping of California.


View the timeline of specifics for
Shaping California



General Earth Science Links~

Outstanding Geology Site-this site has great explanations!

This Dynamic Earth

Interact with the Earth!

Geology for Kids

The Earth-Inside Out!

Savage Earth-a PBS series

Ask an Earth Scientist




Plate Tectonics~

The idea that the continents move and drift over the surface of the earth as they sit on giant plates.


Plate Movements

Introduction to plate tectonics-a bit technical

Earth history with plate tectonics

Plate Tectonics from Enchanted Learning

Animation of the breakup of Pangea

Plate tectonics from NASA

Plate tectonics matching game

Plate tectonics concentration game

Plate tectonics word search

Plate tectonics flash cards




A sudden movement of part of the earth's crust


California Earthquakes

San Andreas Fault Facts

Earthquake Activities

Life Along a Faultline

Earthquakes vs. Volcanoes

Understanding Earthquakes

What to do in an Earthquake

Photos of the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906

How a seismograph works




An opening in the earth's crust through which lava escapes


Fun Volcano Facts

What is a Volcano? YouTube Video

Volcano World

Volcano from Enchanted Learning


Parts of a Volcano

Volcano Images and Classifications

California's Volcanoes

Mt. Lassen

Volcano Factoids

Can we predict volcano eruptions?

Pele-Tale of the Volcano Goddess

Watch Kilauea erupt from space

The Biggest Eruption Ever!





A large body of moving snow and ice





All About Glaciers

What Makes a Glacier?-video

Glaciers from Discovery Kids

Glacier Videos and Photos

Glacier Facts for Kids

Glacial Erosion





The carrying away of rocks and soil by wind and water




Geography 4 Kids-Erosion

The Virtual Cave

Dirtmeister's Erosion Site

Erosion Facts for Kids

Rivers and Sediment

Erosion from Ducksters

Water Erosion Prevention

Prevent Soil Erosion






Weathering is the processes which wears rock and other materials down and break them apart


Weathering vs. Erosion-video

Geography 4 Kids-Weathering

Weathering the Face of the Earth

View the Effects of Weathering

Weathering-Destroying Rock

Weathering Animation








Rocks and the Rock Cycle

There are three types of rocks: igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic. The rocks constantly are changing form through the rock cycle which is the neverending changes
in rocks.


Learn about Rocks in the Rock Cycle

Rocks and Minerals-YouTube Video

Slide Show of Rocks

How are rocks formed?

Rocks and Minerals Fun Facts

Rock and Mineral Identification

Rock Cycle Graphic/Information

The Rock Cycle for Kids

The Interactive Rock Cycle

Identifying Minerals

Take a rock and mineral quiz

Games about Rocks and Minerals