Q:

Where do earthquakes form?

A:

Quick Answer

According to the U.S. Geological Society, the area in the Earth's crust where an earthquake forms is called the hypocenter. Unpredictable in nature, earthquakes form when energy from the crust is released, causing vibrations on the surface of the earth. The magnitude of earthquakes can vary exponentially, and the stronger the magnitude, the more devastating the effects, especially on areas that are near the epicenter.

Know More
Where do earthquakes form?
Credit: Brendan Zim Flickr CC-BY-2.0

Full Answer

The earth's crust is made up of several plates that are constantly moving. These movements are relatively slow, but they may cause earthquakes. Large earthquakes occur when the plates collide or slide past each other. The release of energy can be powerful enough to trigger an earthquake.

The boundaries where the two plates meet is often the focal point of the earthquake. However, sometimes it can spread across several other areas. Earthquakes are often located on faults. Faults are the result of fractures in the Earth's crust when the plates move.

Whenever an earthquake strikes, the major quake is sometimes preceded by foreshocks and followed by aftershocks. Foreshocks will often multiply in magnitude right before the quake; aftershocks are the opposite, and will decrease in magnitude once the quake is over. Strong earthquakes can cause avalanches and tsunamis. The magnitude of an earthquake is usually measured by a Richter scale. The Richter scale measures the amount of energy released during the earthquake.

Learn More

Related Questions

  • 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 Do not stand in a doorway, as that advice is outdated and unsafe.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What does the Richter Scale measure?

    A:

    The Richter Scale measures the magnitude of an earthquake. The scale was created in 1935 by American seismologist and physicist Charles F. Richter.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is seismic activity?

    A:

    Seismic activity is described by geologists as an elastic wave traveling through the Earth following an earthquake or other geological disturbance. Seismic activity encompasses the frequency, size and type of earthquake, according to the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, which monitors seismic activity throughout the world.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What caused the Indonesian earthquake?

    A:

    The 2004 Indonesian earthquake was caused by the earth's Indian plate moving underneath the Burma plate, causing a massive release of seismic stress and resulting in faults. This led to earthquakes and tsunamis in 14 Asian countries. It is also known as the Indian Ocean earthquake or the Sumatra earthquake.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore