Earthquakes happen all the time, and can be barely noticeable or terribly devastating. What causes them? What can we do to be prepared?
What causes earthquakes?
Approximately how many earthquakes occur each year that people can feel? How many of these cause property damage?
How many times more energy does a magnitude 5 earthquake release than an earthquake with a magnitude of 4?
What are engineers focusing on to keep people safe from earthquakes in the future?
- About 80% of the planet's earthquakes occur along the rim of the Pacific Ocean due to the fault lines there.
- Scientists use the Richter Scale to rate earthquakes based on the strength and duration of their seismic waves.
- Earthquakes often cause other hazards, such as mud slides, fires, floods and tsunamis.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry earthquake Noun
the sudden shaking of Earth's crust caused by the release of energy along fault lines or from volcanic activity.
fault line Noun
fracture in a rock caused by tectonic activity pulling one side of the rock in a different direction.
Richter scale Noun
ordered series of numbers (1-10) used to indicate the amount of energy released during an earthquake. The Richter scale is now outdated. Scientists now use the moment-magnitude scale.
seismic shock wave Noun
vibration that travels from the focus of an earthquake in all directions.
instrument that detects and records vibrations caused by seismic shock waves.
tectonic plate Noun
large, moveable segment of the Earth's crust.