The aim of the current study is to explore the effectiveness of using inquiry instruction to support high school students’ learning of seismology. A total of 191 Taiwanese high school students were recruited and assigned to the guided‐inquiry condition or the structured‐inquiry condition. Students’ learning outcomes (i.e., basic knowledge of seismology, applications of basic knowledge, and attitudes toward seismology) were assessed. The results revealed that the guided‐inquiry group outperformed the structured‐inquiry group in the application of basic knowledge. In contrast, the structured‐inquiry group had a better understanding of basic seismological information. Both groups’ attitudes toward seismology were improved after the inquiry activities. The findings suggest that both guided and structured inquiries are effective in enhancing students’ learning of seismology, albeit in different ways. Accordingly, teachers should be flexible in using different approaches to inquiry activity to maximize students’ learning.