Q:

Where does the energy released by fault movement form?

A:

Quick Answer

The energy released by fault movement is formed from the motion of the tectonic plates that make up the Earth's crust. As the plates move, they rub against each other and become stuck, where energy is stored until they slip apart and cause an earthquake.

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Full Answer

The tectonic plates that comprise the crust of the planet float atop a layer of molten rock, or magma. Convection currents within the magma move the plates. When they become stuck, the energy of their motion builds up along the fault. The plates move slowly but are extremely massive, so they exert tremendous forces on each other. Once the fault breaks free, all of the energy is released in a short amount of time, and the plates often move dramatically.

There are many different types of faults, but all store energy in the same way. One of the most destructive types of faults are found along subduction zones, where one tectonic plate is moving beneath the other. When these faults release their stored energy, they produce what is known as a mega-thrust earthquake. These types of fault ruptures are particularly dangerous when they occur in the ocean, as they can cause massive tsunamis along with powerful earthquakes.

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Related Questions

  • 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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  • Q:

    Where do earthquakes form?

    A:

    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.

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  • Q:

    How do earthquakes transmit energy?

    A:

    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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  • Q:

    What is a fault in science terms?

    A:

    In science terms, a geological fault is a fracture or fissure in the Earth's crust in which there is movement on either side of the fracture. A fault line can be the boundary between two tectonic plates. There can be active and inactive fault lines.

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