Q:

How do earthquakes transmit energy?

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Quick Answer

An earthquake occurs when the movement and breaking of rock masses happen on pre-existing faults. Once an earthquake hits, energy is created through seismic waves that travel through the Earth's crust.

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Seismic waves transport energy though different areas. Seismic waves are physical waves that have many different parts. The crest is the high point of the wave, while the trough is the low point. The distance that is between the crests or troughs is the wavelength. The wave height represents the vertical distance that is from the undisturbed surface to the wave crest. Typically, the bigger the waves are, the more energy they provide. The large waves are steep and have a unique shape.

The ground shakes during an earthquake due to the energy from the waves. The closer it gets to the epicenter, the more the ground shakes. Once the seismic energy makes its way through the rocks, the energy will then dissipate. The waves move at various speeds depending on the size of the waves. At the epicenter, all the waves are created there at roughly the same time, which makes the ground shake very abruptly for a small amount of time. The waves that are created by the earthquake are measured and recorded by a seismograph.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How do earthquakes occur?

    A:

    Earthquakes occur when two blocks of earth suddenly slip past each other. This sudden release of energy causes the seismic waves that make the ground shake. The surface where they slip is known as the fault or fault plane.

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  • Q:

    Where do most earthquakes happen?

    A:

    Most earthquakes happen along the boundaries of the tectonic plates that make up the Earth's crust, though earthquakes can happen anywhere on the planet. Earthquakes are also common along faults, which are deep fissures under great pressure within a plate or along multiple plates.

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  • Q:

    How do we measure earthquakes?

    A:

    The strength of an earthquake is measured by its Moment Magnitude Scale, or MMS. The MMS measures the total energy, or seismic moment, of an earthquake. The seismic moment of an earthquake is measured based on three factors: the distance rocks slide, the area of the fault slide and the rigidness of the rocks that are broken.

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  • Q:

    How do earthquakes form?

    A:

    Earthquakes are formed by a sudden, violent underground movement of the Earth's crust. These natural phenomena typically occur along a fault line or fault plane, which is a geological region of compressed rocks dividing crustal plates.

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