An earthquake is the shaking of the earth that results when energy is released by sudden movements in the Earth’s tectonic plates. Earthquakes are not only deadly, but they bring about significant economic and environmental damages. They are one of the most costly natural disasters to impact our lives, especially in developing countries.
The word “earthquake” can also describe any shaking in the earth, whether it be caused by an event like a landslide or even during an eruption of a volcano.
The magnitude of an earthquake is measured by its strength on the Richter scale. This is a logarithmic scale of measurement for the amplitude of a seismic wave which has been widely adopted since it was invented in 1935 by Charles Richter, and we measure magnitude as an earthquake’s magnitude on the Richter scale and it ranges from 0 to 9. The higher the number, the less destructive impact it will have on people and property nearby.
Earthquakes can be categorized into two major types: body waves and surface waves. Body waves are what cause shaking and vibrations. Surface waves refer to seismic waves that travel along Earth’s surface, causing shaking only on the ground surface. Finally, the magnitude of an earthquake is measured with a Geologic Moment Magnitude scale (Mw). The higher an earthquake’s magnitude, the more intense it is.
Read on for more fascinating insights!
Fascinating Facts about Earthquakes
1.North Dakota and Florida are least likely to experience US earthquakes.
2. 10,000 of the annual earthquakes on Earth occur in California – it is a massive earthquake hotspot.
3.Swimming pools experience a seiche when an earthquake strikes, with ripples in the water.
4. Humans experience about 500,000 earthquakes annually, but there are many more that we don’t feel.
5. The Andes and the Himalayas are mountain regions originally formed by earthquakes.
6. The center of an earthquake is the epicenter, and it located above the surface of earth.
7. When there are underwater earthquakes, a tsunami wave can form. Check out the scary image below!
8. Earthquakes occur on the moon as well, but they’re smaller than earthly ones.
9. Thanks to the San Andreas Fault, it is said that LA and San Fran will shift dramatically over the next century.
Related: Facts about planet earth
10. Before we had awesome scientific equipment, researchers used spring pendulums to measure earthquakes. Now they have much more precise seismic measurement instruments.
11. A magnitude 9.2 earthquake hit Alaska in 1964, and was the largest tremor in the United States. In 1960, the largest earthquake in the world (a magnitude 9.5) struck Chile. The first earthquake that humans have on record dates back to 1769.
12. Earthquakes are one of the deadliest natural disasters. They are unpredictable and can happen anytime. The first recorded earthquake was in 2700 BC by Greek historian, Heracleitus.
13. There are two types of earthquakes: Subduction zones where the tectonic plates collide, and Fault lines where the tectonic plates slide against each other causing new fractures on the Earth’s crusts.
Video: Earthquakes 101 from National Geographic
Earthquakes can leave behind incredible devastation, while also creating some of the planet’s most magnificent formations. Learn about the geophysics behind earthquakes, how they are measured, and where the most powerful earthquake ever witnessed occurred.
Finally see our amazing ocean facts
Summary of Earthquake Facts
Earthquakes are considered as one of the most destructive forces on Earth. They happen when the tectonic plates that make up the surface of the planet collide with each other. The energy that they release can be felt hundreds, or even thousands, of miles away from their point of origin.
The earth’s crust is made up of several tectonic plates, all moving at various speeds and directions. When two plates collide, one plate may be forced down beneath another plate due to gravity and the pressure generated by these two colliding plates may cause an earthquake to take place.
The majority of earthquakes occur near subduction zones because subduction zones are so active and prone to subducting oceanic crust under continental crust. These zones are often found near long mountain ranges or island
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