Unit 6 How to Prepare for Earthquakes

Unit 6 How to Prepare for Earthquakes

Unit 6 How to Prepare for Earthquakes

Pre-reading activities:

Earthquake belongs to natural disasters. Do you still remember last term we learned the disasters in listening and speaking course? Natural disasters includes earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions, wild fires and droughts, because they are beyond the control of humans.

Earthquakes may claim hundreds of thousands of lives and leave thousands of people homeless. Now let’ discuss the following questions:

1. Have you ever been in an earthquake? What do you think you would do first if the room started to shake?

2. How should we prepare for earthquakes?

3. If you were going to rent an apartment, would you like to live on the top floor or on the first floor?

Structure Analysis:

Part 1. To predict when an earthquake is going to happen (para.1)

  1. Scientists have wired the Earth and sea to detect movement.
  2. People have traditionally watched animals and plants for warning signs of earthquakes.
  3. Experimental data show that the amount of redon in the water under the surface of the earth waxes before an earthquake.

Part 2. To prevent the great destruction of property caused by earthquakes (para.2)

  1. Many new structures are built with an I-joint, which appears to be the most durable type of joint. These joints of steel can move without breaking.
  2. Architects design buildings so that the building’s columns and horizontal beams are of equal strength, and vertical support columns are inserted deep into solid soil.
  3. Many new houses have relatively light roofs and strong walls.
  4. Concrete pillars for highway bridges that previously only had steel rods inside are now enclosed in steel.

Part 3. To prepare for the possibility of a great earthquake (paras.3-6)

Para.3: Regularly check and reinforce your homes, place heavy objects in low positions, attach cupboards and cabinets to walls, and fasten doors.

Para.4: Have supplies of water and food at home and at work. Keep survival supplies such as a radio receiver, a torch, extra batteries, first-aid supplies, a spade, a tent, some rope, and warm clothing.

Para.5: Keep a fire extinguisher and some proper tools to turn off gas and water lines. Arrange an auxiliary cooking and heating source. Keep a pair of heavy shoes or boots to protect your feet.

Para.6: Have earthquake emergency plans. Make arrangements in case of an earthquake for family members to leave the area in time, to meet at a place, to communicate with each other or to check in with a far away friend.

Part 4. Conclusion (Para. 7)

Even if prediction becomes possible, people still have to do their best to prevent disasters by improving building structures and by being personally prepared.

Main Idea and writing skills: the essay is centered around the main theme ---How to predict, prevent, and prepare for earthquakes. One characteristic writing technique that runs throughout the writing is a general statement supported by details.

Vocabulary & Phrases:

forecast:vt. say, esp. with the help of some kind of knowledge, what one thinks is going to happen in the future

The teacher forecast that only 15 of his pupils would pass the examination.

detect: vt. notice (sth. that is partly hidden or not clear) or discover (sth.), esp. using a special method

I detected a slight change in his attitude.

Small quantities of poison were detected in the dead man’s stomach.

watch … for: look at or observe sth. for

They have been watching the papers for news about their new improved product.


Watch for: look or wait attentively for

Will you watch for the bus while I go into the shop for a moment?

They are watch for the right moment.

Watch out: take care

Watch out! The roof is falling!

You’ll catch cold if you don’t watch out: you need a warmer coat than that.

experimental: a. of, used for, using or based on experiments

experimental schools

We’re still at the experimental stage with the new product. 试验阶段

They can only provide experimental evidence. 实验数据 An experimental class 试点班

Wax: vi. increase; grow

The popularity of the film stars waxedand waned.

Her feelings for Johnwaxand wane.

n. a waxcandle 蜡烛The floor wax has been used out; please buy some for me.

Destruction : n. destroying or being destroyedthedestructionof therainforests 雨林的破坏

The war brought death and destructionto the city. 战争给这座城市带来了死亡和破坏。

We should help to conserve the environment and discourage the unnecessary destructionof trees.

Pride was his destruction, for it caused the loss of all his friends.

after all

1) used for reminding sb. of certain fact) it must be remembered

2)Afterall, an actor's life is spent working with words.

3) in spite of everything

4)Afterallit is not so hard as it looks. So you see I was rightafterall.

In the end she came to see him afterall.

withstand: vt. (pt., pp. withstood) bear or not be changed by (sth.) or oppose (a person or thing) successfully

withstandthe storm 顶住暴风雨 withstandsevere tests经得起严峻的考验

The troops were too weak to withstand another attack. These shoeswithstandhard wear. 这鞋很耐穿。

joint: n.

1) a place where two things are fixed together

2) the jointsbetween two pieces of timber

Check that the joints of the pipes are sealed properly.

3) the place where two bones are connected

My knee jointshave been aching for a week.

The man is getting old and his joints are stiff.

a. belonging to or shared between two or more people

a jointdecision 共同的决定 a jointventure 合资企业

The joint winners of the competition will each receive $500.

Have you and your husband got a joint account at a bank? ?

column: n.

1)a tall post, usu. round and made of stone, either supporting part of the roof of a building or standing alone as a monument

Columns are usually made of stone, wood or metal, and used as supports or ornaments to a building.

2) one of several blocks of print into which a page is divided

There are two columns on each page of this dictionary.



1) a long thick piece of wood or metal, esp. used to support weight in a building or other structure
The workers are examining the beamsin the ceiling.

2) a line of light that shines from an object that gives out light

a beamof light 一缕光线 a laser beam一束激光 the beamof a car's headlights 车头灯的光线


1)smile happily

He beamed a cheerful welcome as he opened the door.

2)send out light and warmth

The sun beameddown upon the peaceful village.

3)broadcast a signal

The news was beamed to East Africa by satellite.

vertical: a. standing or pointing straight up or at an angle of 90º to a horizontal surface or line
a vertical line 垂直线
The cliff rose in a verticalwall from the sea.

pillar: n.

1) a strong column made of stone, metal or wood which supports part of a building, or sth. generally of this shape

The visitors are deeply impressed by these huge stone pillars.

He was leaning against a pillar near the door.

2) a strong supporter of sth.

a pillarof the local golf club

Scientists are pillarsof the modern society.

enclose: n.


The little park was enclosed on all sides by tall apartment buildings.

They enclosedtheir yard with a fence.

It became the largest city in Western Europe, with walls enclosing an area of no fewer than 483 acres.

2)send (sth.) in the same envelope or parcel in addition to sth. else

the enclosed函内附件

I enclose herewith a cheque for 200 US dollars. 兹附上200美元支票。

Enclosed is an important leaflet highlighting local service telephone numbers for use during normal working hours.

attach … to:

1)fasten or join sth. to sth.
The picture wasattachedto the wall by a nail.

2) cause (oneself) to join as a member of

The youth division isattachedtothe club.

This institution isattachedtothe University of Texas.

cabinet: n.

Who left the doors of the cabinet open?

2)(also the Cabinet) (with single or plural verb) the most important ministers in a government, who have regular meetings with the Prime Minister

a cabinetcouncil 内阁会议a CabinetMinister 内阁大臣 a cabinetmember 内阁成员

The cabinet consists of eight men and two women.

fasten: vt. secure or fix sth. firmly

Please fasten your seat belts.

His eyes were fastenedon me all the time I was speaking.

"Fasten your windows and doors before you go to bed," said mother to her children while leaving.

in addition to :as an extra person, thing or situation to

She speaks five foreign languages inadditiontoEnglish.

Inadditionto extreme warmth, the rainforests also need lots of moisture.

receiver: n.

1) a piece of equipment that changes radio and television signals into sound and / or pictures

a radioreceiver收音机 a color television receiver彩色电视接收机

2) the part of a telephone that people hold to their ears and mouths

3)take up the receiver拿起听筒 put down the receiver放下听筒 hang up the receiver挂断电话

battery: n.

1)a device that produces electricity to provide power for radios, cars, etc.

dry battery干电池 batterycharger 电池充电器
The car won't start because the batteryis dead.

2)a group or set of things that are kept together

She faced a batteryof questions.

rope: n. a strong, thick cord made of some material twisted together

a skipping rope跳绳用的绳子

We need some ropeto tie up the boat with. 我们需要用绳子把船系住。

Those boxes should be tied with ropes.

v. fasten or bind with rope

He roped his horse to a tree.

alternative: n. a choice

There are several alternatives open to us at the moment.

We have no alternative in this matter, do we?

fragment:n. a small piece or a part, esp. when broken from sth. whole

She dropped the bowl on the floor, and it broke into fragments.

I heard only a fragmentof their conversation.

v. (cause to) break into small pieces or parts (使)成碎片
The vase fell and fragmented into small pieces.

chaos: n. a state of complete confusion and lack of order

The meeting ended in chaos when demonstrators threw tomatoes at the speakers.

down: a. not working
My computer was down this morning.

The central heating system of this office building is down and several workers are repairing it right now.

sensible: a. based on or acting on good judgment and practical ideas or understanding

a sensibleman 理智的人 a sensibledecision 明智的决定

I think it would be sensibleto leave early, in case there's a lot of traffic.

Prevention is always more sensible and less costly than cure.

check in:report one's arrival, as at a hotel desk, airport, etc.

It's advisable to checkin early to get a good seat on your flight.

accuracy: n. being exact, esp. resulting from careful effort

Accuracy is essential in the calculation.

Every bank pays close attention to the speed and accuracyof its staff.

occurrence: n.

1) event; incident; happening

Car theft is now a very common occurrence.

A snowstorm is an unusual occurrence at this time of the year.

2) the fact of sth. happening

The greatest occurrence of heart disease is in those over 65.

They are taking measures to guarantee against the occurrence of hijacking.

resistant: a. offering resistance water-resistant防水的 heat-resistant防热的 bullet-resistant防弹的

Conservative people are usuallyresistantto change.

No one has come up with an idea as to how to improve plants to make them more resistantto disease.

precaution: n. an action which is done to prevent sth. unpleasant or dangerous from happening

The school is warned to takeprecautionsagainst fire.

You probably like to take chances rather than precautions.

make a difference: have an effect on sb. or sth.

The sea air has madeadifference to his health.

Your support will certainlymakeadifferencein our cause.


make no difference: be not important
It makesnodifferenceto us if the baby is a girl or a boy.

concerning: prep. about; with regard to

Concerning your letter, I am pleased to inform you that your plans are quite acceptable to us.

This book deals with questions concerningthe French Revolution.

To come out of爬出/ 有…结果

Good reward will certainly come out of your good intention.你的好心自然会有好报。

withstand the power of earthquakes 抵御地震的力量

Any friendship that can’t withstand the trial of hardship is not likely to last long.

To be a major concern 关注重点

How to prevent the resurgence of SARS is one of the major concerns among the pnblic.


To insert sth. in/into between 把…插进…中间

The Maxwell House inserted in a newspaper an ad: Good to the last drop.麦斯威尔:滴滴香浓,意犹未尽。

To enclose sth. in包入 卷入

Enclosed in his letter was a birthday card on which was a message---- Turn my little card into white clouds that take my endless blessing to you


To prepare for the possibility of 为…的可能性作好准备

The purpose of college life is to prepare us for the possibility of future challenges.


attach sth to 把…附加在/依附于…之上

She is fondly attached to the good old days she shared with him.深深眷恋着与他共享过的美好时光。

To make water safe to drink使水饮用安全

What matters to us is how to make our campus life meaningful and fruitful.


To put out扑灭、生产、投资、发挥

His speech ended in an appeal to college students to put out all their subjective initiative during the course of college studies. 他演讲结束时呼吁大学生在大学学习期间充分地发挥出全部的主观能动性

To agree on

Different people attach different meanings to life, on which it is hard for them to agree.


To check in

He checked in at this hotel under a false name last night but this morning he checked out.

to predict earthquakes with accuracy精确预测地震

The satellite system can help man draw maps with great accuracy.卫星系统可以帮助人类非常精确地绘制地图。

to be resistant to…

The best way of keeping yourself far away from diseases is to build up your resistance to them by exercising.使自己远离疾病的最好途径是通过锻炼身体增强对疾病的抵抗能力。

Language Notes:

  1. In both Japan and China people have long believed that earthquakes can be forecast. (Para. 1)

Meaning: In both Japan and China people have believed for a long time that earthquakes can be predicted.

Please note that the verb “forecast” can be an irregular verb (pt., pp. forecast or forecasted).

2. In Japan, scientists have wired the Earth and sea to detect movements. (Para. 1)

Meaning: In Japan, scientists have placed wires on the Earth and in the sea to discover the movements of the surface of the Earth.

3. The Chinese have traditionally watched animals and plants for warning signs of earthquakes. (Para. 1)

Meaning: The Chinese people have a tradition of looking for warning signs of earthquakes by watching animals and plants.

4. For example, the Chinese have noted that before an earthquake, hens' behavior changes — they refuse to enter their cages at night. (Para. 1)

Meaning: Just for an example, the Chinese people have found that before an earthquake, hens would change their normal behavior — they refuse to enter their cages for the night.

5. They have also noticed that snakes come out of the ground to freeze to death and that dogs bark a lot, even normally quiet dogs. (Para. 1)

Meaning: They have also noticed that snakes leave their holes in the ground and are frozen to death, and that dogs bark a lot, even those dogs that are normally quiet.

6. …there were reports of large schools of fish swimming near the surface of the water. (Para. 1)

Meaning: …there were reports saying that large groups of fish were swimming near the surface of the water.

7. Perhaps most interesting, and most easily measured, is a chemical change in ground water before a quake.(Para. 1)

Meaning: Perhaps what is most interesting and most easily measured is a chemical change in ground water before an earthquake.
Please note the order of the sentence. It is reversed.


Experimental data seem to indicate that the amount of radon (Rn) in the water under the surface ofthe Earth waxes before an earthquake. (Para. 1)

Meaning: Data collected from experiments seem to indicate that the amount of the element radon (Rn) in the water under the surface of the Earth increases before an earthquake.

9. In addition to preparing their houses, people in these regions need to prepare themselves. (Para. 4)

Meaning: Besides preparing their houses, people in these areas need to get themselves ready for earthquakes.

Question Answering

Para. 1

1. How can we know about warning signs of earthquake?

Tips 1) wire the earth and sea …

2) watch animals and plants …

3) the amount of radon waxes …

2. What animals show what signs?

Tips 1) hens — cages

2) snakes — freeze

3) dogs — bark a lot

4) fish — surface

5) birds — noisy — fly unusually

Para. 2

3. How are most of the people killed in the earthquake?

Tips By falling buildings.

4. What building structures mightprevent the great destruction of property?

Tips 1) an I-joint

2) equally strong columns & horizontal beams

3) deep vertical support columns

4) light roofs & strong walls


5. What should people do to prepare their houses?

Tips 1) check/reinforce homes …

2) place heavy objects …

3) attach cupboards & cabinets …

4) fasten doors …


6. What should people do to prepare themselves?


survival supplies — water & food,radio receiver, torch, extra batteries, first-aid supplies, spade, tent, rope, clothing, fire extinguisher, auxiliary cooking & heating source, heavy shoes or boots.


7. How can family members be informed in a large earthquake city?


check in with a far-away friendor relative

Para. 7

8. What should be a major emphasis forall government programs and earthquake-related research projects?


education concerning how to survive an earthquake