Q:

How do you define "earthquake"?

A:

Quick Answer

An earthquake is defined as a series of vibrations within the earth's crust that are caused by the rupture of its rocks. This rupture is due to the gradual accumulation of elastic strain within the crust.

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Full Answer

There are several causes for earthquakes, including sudden events such as volcanic eruptions. The most powerful earthquakes are caused by dislocations in the crust. Earthquakes often occur around faults, which are slippages between blocks on the earth's crust. Even after an earthquake has occurred along a fault line, another may occur if some stress remains in the crust.

There are several key points to an earthquake. The focal depth refers to the depth beneath the surface of the earthquake's energy origination. This point of origination is called the focus. The point on the earth's surface located directly above the focus is the earthquake's epicenter.

In addition to the immediate damage, secondary damage may be caused by the natural disasters spawned as a result of the earthquake. These disasters include landslides and tsunamis, which are often more destructive than the earthquake itself.

Earthquakes are typically measured using the Richter scale, which rates them from one to 10. This scale is logarithmic; each whole number indicates a tenfold increase.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the longest earthquake?

    A:

    The Sumatran-Andaman earthquake on December 26, 2004, is the longest lasting earthquake ever recorded. The continuous shaking lasted from 500 to 600 seconds, or about 10 minutes.

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  • Q:

    Where should you hide during an earthquake?

    A:

    The best place to take shelter during an earthquake is underneath a sturdy desk or table, preferably one that covers the entire body. If this option is not available, protecting the head and neck is the most important safety concern. Do not stand in a doorway, as that advice is outdated and unsafe.

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  • Q:

    How do you know if there was just an earthquake?

    A:

    The United States Geological Survey keeps a record of all earthquakes around the globe. In addition to providing seismic data from survey sites, the USGS also offers an application that allows users to report earthquake tremors they have felt. The USGS records all geological activity, not just earthquakes.

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  • Q:

    How do you prepare for an earthquake?

    A:

    To prepare for an earthquake, prepare your house by placing objects to minimize falling damage. Draft an emergency plan, and practice earthquake drills. During an earthquake, drop to your hands and knees, cover your head and neck, and hold on.

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