- The definition of an earthquake is the release of sudden and extreme energy that is caused by shifting in the Earth's crust.
Facts About Earthquakes
- A seismometer is used to record and measure the strength of an earthquake.
- The Mercalli scale is used to measure the earthquake. Anything seven or above is considered extremely dangerous.
- Earthquakes usually occur along fault lines, or cracks that occur within the Earth’s crust.
- Japan, New Zealand, Alaska are all located on one side of a horseshoe-shaped fault line called the "Ring of Fire" that circles the Pacific Ocean and is responsible for frequent earthquakes and frequently erupting volcanos.
- The "Ring of Fire" zone was responsible for the devastating earthquakes in Indonesia in 2004, in New Zealand in early 2011 as well as a 9.0+ quake and a series of offshore earthquakes in Japan in early 2011 which also resulted in a tsunami.
- The San Andreas Fault is a fault line discovered in 1895 that stretches about one thousand and three hundred kilometers through California in the United States, and through Baja California in Mexico.
- The San Andreas fault has been the cause behind a number of significant earthquakes, such as the San Francisco Earthquake in 1906, and the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989.
A shaking in San Francisco that measures 3.2 on the Richter scale is an example of an earthquake.
A road broken by an earthquake.Licensed from iStockPhoto
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
earthquake - Cultural Definition
A tremor of the surface of the Earth, sometimes severe and devastating, which results from shock waves generated by the movement of rock masses deep within the Earth, particularly near boundaries of tectonic plates. (See fault, Richter scale, and seismology.)
- Earthquakes are particularly likely where such plates are sliding past each other, as in the San Andreas Fault.
- Earthquakes cannot be accurately predicted, although the likelihood of a region's suffering an earthquake can be estimated.
earthquake - Science Definition
Primary and secondary waves radiate from an earthquake's focus and move through the Earth's interior. As they encounter a boundary, like that between the lower mantle and the liquid outer core, they are reflected and refracted. Secondary waves cannot travel through liquids. Surface waves radiate out from an earthquake's focus and travel only along the Earth's surface.
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