What We Should Know About Earthquakes
Earthquakes are one of the most frightening natural disasters. Although they can be devastating, there are ways to prepare for them and lessen their impact. Here’s what you need to know about earthquakes:
How Does an Earthquake Occur
When you think about earthquakes, you might automatically picture a big, destructive tremor in California. But there is more to these natural disasters than meets the eye-and they’re actually quite common.
Earthquakes occur when the earth’s crust shifts into or out of a fault line-a crack between two pieces of rock that have been moving against each other for millions of years. The earth’s crust is made up of plates that are constantly moving and shifting; when these plates shift into each other along their fault lines it creates earthquakes!
The movement of the plates is caused by the constant movement of the Earth’s molten core. The plates are made up of rock and are constantly moving around on top of this molten core. It is this movement that creates friction, which causes heat and pressure to build up in a certain area until it reaches a breaking point. When this happens, the tension breaks open and creates a shockwave that spreads through the earth, causing an earthquake.
How Is a Fault Created
An earthquake is caused by the movement of tectonic plates, which are large sections of the earth’s crust that float on top of a layer called the mantle. Frictional forces cause these plates to move against each other, creating tension in the rock between them. The result is an earthquake!
How to Know an Earthquake’s Intensity
The intensity of an earthquake is measured on the Richter scale, which is a logarithmic scale. This means that a 6 earthquake releases 10x as much energy as a 5, but 7 is not 10 times the energy of 6.
This means that the numbers get bigger as the energy from an earthquake increases. An earthquake rated at 7 on the Richter scale releases about 7x as much energy as one rated 6. The amount of energy released depends on three things: the size of the earthquake, its distance from you, and what kind of rock it’s hitting.
500,000 Earthquakes Occur Each Year
Earthquakes occur all over the world and are a relatively common phenomenon. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), up to 500,000 earthquakes take place every year, and they can be felt anywhere on Earth.
The majority of earthquakes occur in plate boundaries, which are regions where tectonic plates meet and move against each other. There are two types of plate boundaries: convergent, where one plate is pushed beneath another; and divergent, where two plates move away from each other. Both types of boundary locations can lead to large-scale earthquakes when stress builds up over time as pressure is released during tremors.
Eighty percent of these earthquakes happen along the “Ring of Fire,” which is an area around the edges of the Pacific Ocean where there are many active volcanoes and fault lines. The ring of fire is a horseshoe-shaped area of the Pacific Ocean where active volcanoes and fault lines occur.
The ring of fire is known by many names, including the circum-Pacific belt, the Pacific Ring of Fire, and the circum-Pacific seismic belt. It’s named for its volcanic activity, not for its shape-although it does have a regular shape that makes it easy to name.
Aftershocks Happen After an Earthquake Strikes
Aftershocks are smaller earthquakes that occur in the same area as the main earthquake. They usually occur hours, days, or even months after an earthquake strikes. The largest aftershock is usually less than 1/10th of the size of the main earthquake.
Aftershocks can be dangerous because they can cause additional damage to buildings that were weakened by the initial quake and create additional cracks in roads and sidewalks where breaks already occurred during the first quake.
Can Earthquakes Be Predicted?
Earthquakes cannot be predicted by scientific methods yet, even though scientists work on predicting when they will occur every day. Scientists do know what causes earthquakes and how to predict when an earthquake will strike: by looking at past events and patterns.
Earthquakes don’t always occur along faults-the boundary between two tectonic plates that moves when there’s pressure on it-but most do. The best way that scientists can tell where a large earthquake could happen next is by looking at where these plates may have moved in the past (i.e., where earthquakes have happened). However, this method isn’t perfect because not all faults have been active recently enough for us to know their history; if we’re missing information about one fault line, then our predictions could be off!
If you live in an area where earthquakes are common, it’s important to be prepared for them. Knowing what to do when one happens will help keep you safe and protect your home from damage.