Q:

Where do earthquakes occur most often?

A:

Quick Answer

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.

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Full Answer

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.

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Related Questions

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    How often do earthquakes occur?

    A:

    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.

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    Where do earthquakes tend to occur?

    A:

    While earthquakes can occur almost anywhere, they are most common around the edges of the great tectonic plates of the Earth's crust. The plates are always in motion, and the edges tend to rub up against one another, building up the energy that results in an earthquake.

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    Why do earthquakes occur in California?

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    California has a relatively high number of earthquakes due to its position on both the Pacific and North American Plates. These plates are in constant motion, and earthquakes occur when their sides slip against one another suddenly.

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    How many earthquakes occur each year?

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    According to the United States Geological Survey, several million earthquakes occur worldwide each year. It is difficult to refine this estimation to an exact number because many earthquakes go undetected, either because they occur in locations that are uninhabited or barely inhabited, or they are too small in magnitude to be detected by seismographs or other forms of detection.

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