Earthquakes are caused by sudden movement in opposing tectonic plates in the earth. As plates move against each other, sometimes the rocky edges catch against one another. The rest of the plate remains in motion, putting stress on the sticking point, and when it gives way, an earthquake occurs.Know More
When two tectonic plates are passing one another, the amount of kinetic energy involved can be enormous due to the large mass involved. When the edges catch, the friction builds up energy like a stretched rubber band. Eventually, the motion of the plates overcomes the resistance of the stuck area, and that energy is released suddenly in the form of vibrations. These waves travel through the surface of the earth, causing an earthquake.
In many cases, an earthquake can be preceded or followed by additional shocks. These are smaller quakes caused by smaller slips between the two plates. A cluster of small tremors can indicate a fault that is building up large amounts of stored energy, and can warn of a major earthquake.
One potential side effect of an earthquake is liquefaction. When soil that contains large amounts of water is suddenly shaken by a tremor, it can begin to behave more like a liquid than a solid. This can cause a sudden subsidence in the surface, creating sinkholes and causing structures to tilt and sink wildly.Learn more in Earthquakes
The 2008 Sichuan earthquake was caused by seismic activities that focused along the Longmenshan fault, a massive fault structure located between the Eurasian Plate and the Indo-Australian Plate. This caused a rupture along the fault, displacing land by up to 9 meters over approximately 90 seconds.Full Answer >
The 2004 Indonesian earthquake was caused by the earth's Indian plate moving underneath the Burma plate, causing a massive release of seismic stress and resulting in faults. This led to earthquakes and tsunamis in 14 Asian countries. It is also known as the Indian Ocean earthquake or the Sumatra earthquake.Full Answer >
According to Smithsonian magazine, the Great Kanto earthquake was caused by a seismic fault line six miles below the floor of Sagumi Bay. Close to noon on September 1, 1923, a 60 square mile portion of the Philippine oceanic plate ruptured and smashed into the Eurasian continental plate. This event produced a burst of tectonic energy that traumatized Japan.Full Answer >
The 2005 Kashmir earthquake was caused by a sudden influx of seismic stress at the highly active earthquake hot spot between the Earth's Indian plate and Eurasian plate near the Himalayan mountains. The seismic stress occurred from repetitive collisions between the two plates, which caused a fault zone to appear.Full Answer >