Earthquakes occur most often along the edges of oceanic and continental plates. Oceanic plates are the large pieces of the Earth's crust that are located beneath the oceans. Continental plates hold the Earth's large land masses.
Earthquakes occur when the Earth's plates move and rub against or bump into each other. Quakes occur most frequently along the edges of plates, but they are also common along faults, which can be far from the edge of a plate. Faults are cracks where smaller sections of the plate move against each other. Cracks may be defined as normal, reverse or strike-slip faults. One of the most well-known faults, the San Andreas Fault, is a strike-slip fault.Learn More
Earthquakes are usually triggered when rock located beneath the ground, on top of fault lines, breaks and suddenly releases a significant amount of energy. The immediate and rapid release of energy caused by earthquakes generates seismic waves, which cause shaking motions that start below the Earth’s surface and spread across large distances.Full Answer >
Most earthquakes occur along the boundaries between the Earth's tectonic plates. The crust of the Earth is divided into plates. When a plate collides with or slides past another plate, this causes earthquakes. For example, as the Pacific plate moves past the North American plate, many earthquakes occur along the coast of California.Full Answer >
Earthquakes happen daily across the United States, though they vary in magnitude. For instance, the United States had 3,836 earthquakes in 2012, but only five of them were above six on the Richter scale, and none of them exceeded seven.Full Answer >
Earthquakes are the result of two of the Earth's crustal plates slipping past each other, otherwise known as plate tectonics. The vibrations caused by this sudden movement reverberate through the surrounding rock structures, and they are felt as tremors. Earthquakes are most common among the geologically active regions at the borders between plates of the Earth's crust, also known as fault zones.Full Answer >