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.
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.Learn More
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 happen when rock beneath the earth suddenly moves. Stresses in the earth make blocks of rock break and move along a fault line, which is a crack in the earth. The rocks may move, slip downward, upward or sideways. Many earthquakes take place on the edge of the seas. As of 2014, earthquakes can't be prevented but can be somewhat predicted.Full Answer >
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.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 >