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Types Of Earthquakes

Updated on October 22, 2011

An earthquake is perhaps the most deadly and the most dangerous natural phenomenon of earth. It is characterized by the sudden tremors on earth’s surface caused due to the release of energy from its crust.

At times the tremors in an earthquake are of such a great intensity that they can collapse an entire city within the time span of just few seconds. Over the years many researches have been made as to how these earth quakes occur? Why they occur? and When do they occur?

Although geologists and scientists today have extensive information regarding their cause, they still are unable to predict when an earthquake will occur. However, there are certain areas which have been given the name of fault lines by the geologists as they believe that these areas are likely to go through an earthquake.

Damage caused by an earthquake in Peru.
Damage caused by an earthquake in Peru.

Even though it is still not possible to predict when an earthquake will occur, it is now easily possible to measure the magnitude of the tremors occurred in an earthquake.

In 1935 a device to measure the intensity and the magnitude of the seismic waves of an earthquake, was invented by an American seismologist Charles Richter.

The device is known as the Richter scale. The Richter scale has a scale from 1-9.

An earthquake that falls below the point of 4.5 in the Richter is called a minor one and does not cause much of harm; however an earth of magnitude above 4.5, according to the Richter scale, is capable of causing damage.

An earthquake above 7 is extremely severe and can cause a mass destruction.

Damage caused by an earthquake in California.
Damage caused by an earthquake in California.

An earthquake, simply defined as the shaking of the earth’s surface. On the basis of what causes this shaking, earthquakes are classified into four types. Following are the four types of earthquakes:

Tectonic Earthquakes

The earth’s crust consists of loose broken fragments of lands known as the tectonic plates. These tectonic plates have the ability to slowly and gradually move. Now, these plates can away from each other, towards each other, can collide or can slide past each other. 

Eruption in the Chaitn Volcano, Chile. Such eruptions can cause earthquakes.
Eruption in the Chaitn Volcano, Chile. Such eruptions can cause earthquakes.

When the two tectonic plates slide over each other a huge tremor takes place, and that’s how a tectonic earthquake occurs.

Tectonic earthquakes are the most common type of earthquake. It may be of small or of extremely high magnitude. Most of the mass destruction caused by an earthquake over the history is due to the tectonic earthquakes.

The tremors caused by tectonic earthquakes are mostly severe and if they are of high magnitude, they can completely destroy a whole city within seconds.

Volcanic Earthquakes

Volcanic earthquakes are comparatively less common than the tectonic earthquakes and usually occur either before or after a volcanic eruption.

There are two types of volcanic earthquakes: Volcano tectonic earthquakes and L ong period volcanic earth quakes.

The volcanic tectonic earthquakes occur usually after a volcanic activity has taken place. The magma that erupts during an earthquake leaves a space, to fill the space left by the magma the rocks move towards the space to fill it in, causing severe earthquakes.

Most of the times after the release of lava, the lava falls on its vent blocking it, and not letting the pressure release. The retained pressure does not stay for long; it releases with a huge explosion. The explosion causes a severe earthquake, mostly of extremely high magnitude.

The long period volcanic earthquakes occur post a volcanic eruption. Few days before the great explosion, the change in heat of magma below the earth’s surface creates seismic waves, causing an earthquake.

Entrance of a mine.
Entrance of a mine.

Collapse Earthquakes

Collapse earth quakes are comparatively small earthquakes and they take place around underground mines.

These earthquakes are also referred to as the mine bursts. The collapse earthquakes are caused by the pressure induced within the rocks.

It results in the collapse of the roof of the mine which causes further tremors. Collapse earthquakes are common in small towns near these underground mines.

The Nagasaki, Japan, atomic bombing.
The Nagasaki, Japan, atomic bombing.

Explosion Earthquakes

The explosion earthquakes are caused due to the nuclear explosions.

These man induced earthquakes are one of the biggest side effects of the modern nuclear war.

In the 1930s during the American nuclear tests many small villages and towns suffered through such tremors, many of them were completely destroyed due to this heinous act.

Facts About The Deadliest Earthquakes On Earth


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    • profile image

      Rishy Grover 11 months ago

      This is very helpful material for my holidays projects and thanks a lot for this.

    • profile image

      neel madhav joshi 6 years ago

      nice and brilliant info it helped me a lot in my assignment

    • profile image

      shifa 6 years ago

      nyce...article helped me a lot in my assignments...

    • profile image

      arnabh reja 6 years ago

      thanxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx it helps me lot to complete my project thank u very much

    • profile image

      doyinsola koleade 6 years ago

      TANXXXX it help me a lot in my assignment

    • profile image

      karan 6 years ago

      Thanks for giving me information about earthquake because I need it.

    • profile image

      anonomous 6 years ago

      your article helped me out a lot with hw bcause i needed to know about types of earthquakes

    • profile image

      JOE 6 years ago


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      AMIT 6 years ago


    • profile image

      sabrina brown 6 years ago

      brilliant info it help me to do my home work

    • profile image

      cherise malano 6 years ago

      oh my that many died

    • profile image

      aaron 6 years ago


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      sergei 6 years ago

      thanks for the info. it helps a lot

    • profile image

      edleena 6 years ago


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      peddie 6 years ago

      thanks this helped a lot with my geography project(:

    • profile image

      jamela 6 years ago

      it gaves me more idea especially now that i am finding some referrences on my research paper

    • profile image

      ciera 6 years ago

      this actually really helaps with projects and stuff like that

    • profile image

      Nimmi 6 years ago

      thanks a lot....

    • profile image

      unknown 6 years ago


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      Unknown ???????? 6 years ago

      this helps in my project but do you know me ??????????????

    • profile image

      mahima 6 years ago

      this helped me in my project.

    • profile image

      karen 6 years ago

      its a nice article it helps me doing assignments !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! thank you................... yipee

    • profile image

      kat21 6 years ago

      i like this!!!thank u!i'd finish my assignment!

    • profile image

      rohit 6 years ago

      awsum project ,helped me loadzzzzz,thanx :)

    • hassam profile image

      hassam 6 years ago from Pakistan

      If you tell me what exactly you need, I would try to help you out! :)

    • profile image

      goth girl 6 years ago

      I was searching for stuff about earthquakes from the moment I woke up (9:00), to now. I have somme answers, but this site really dos'nt have a lot of information

    • profile image

      mary grace 6 years ago

      good information !

    • profile image

      shiela marie 6 years ago

      tnx 4 helping me 2 may helps me a lot of is nice..

    • profile image

      werty 6 years ago

      oh very good very nice hope other see this I repeat very good very nice

    • profile image

      ur mum and dora 6 years ago


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      6 years ago


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      shravan 6 years ago


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      vikram solanki 6 years ago

      thanks for tis great information.iwas only known copy paste,but now i know 4 types of earthquake.

    • profile image

      Aeron Biscocho 6 years ago

      thanks! i finish my assignment because of that!!! thank you!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      sravya krishna bhanu 6 years ago




      "Thank U"

    • profile image

      Shivam Verma Jaiswal 6 years ago

      thank u.. it's a very nice infrmatn here.!!

    • profile image

      shirou tougi 6 years ago

      thank you so much

      it helped a lot on

      my projects!

    • profile image

      anj navarro 6 years ago

      tnx it helps me a lot from doing my homework....tnx

    • profile image

      archita 6 years ago

      ít's nice,but could be better.

    • profile image

      s a b 6 years ago

      good information with simple language thanks

    • profile image

      neha 6 years ago

      good information..!!

    • profile image

      huda 6 years ago

      it helped me to complete nd submit it on time

    • profile image

      piggy bansal 6 years ago

      it had helped me to do my hw

    • profile image

      Hope 6 years ago

      thanx, the info helped a lot

    • profile image

      lalala1011 6 years ago

      @writerofthisarticle: tks dude... @syed: r u from nps chennai?

    • profile image

      syed 6 years ago

      THANKS a lot.It helped me do my project on Earthquakes.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 6 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I am just watching about one that lasted for days, wow and I thought staying out of California was the answer, lol. Great hub.

    • profile image

      barbie 6 years ago

      this is nice

    • profile image

      yamm 6 years ago


    • profile image

      shreya  7 years ago

      .......thanxxxxx.......this helped me a lot in the completion of my ppprrrooojjjeecccttt...........

    • profile image

      shreya 7 years ago

      thankz 4 this information!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      tyu 7 years ago

      thank you!!!

    • hassam profile image

      hassam 7 years ago from Pakistan

      Well I do know about this program and the conspiracy theories related to it which might be true to some extent.

      But causing an earthquake measuring 9.0 on richter scale requires tremendous amount of energy, which even a nuclear explosion can't create.

      None the less one cannot rule out the opinion that the research is aimed at creating destruction in the natural harmony of the planet.

    • Rockandrouge profile image

      Rockandrouge 7 years ago from Valencia, Spain

      Do you know that they could be caused by HAARP? ..

    • profile image

      harshavi sunil keni 7 years ago


      , its helped me to do my best and best project

    • profile image

      zainulabedin 7 years ago

      Great research on earth quake.

      Thanks for sharing.

    • edmondpogi profile image

      edmondpogi 7 years ago

      Very informative post. You made some good points. I especially found it useful where you stated the value of technology.

      Safety First Earthquake Emergency Campaign

    • profile image

      Anj 7 years ago

      nice article ! helped me a lot with my homework . Thanks !

    • profile image

      lyn 7 years ago

      this articles give some information for my report

    • profile image

      KLeichester 7 years ago

      Good information you have here. Thanks a lot for sharing.

    • profile image

      priyanka 7 years ago

      thanks it helped me know more abt earthquake nd helped me in my project

    • profile image

      Pahm 7 years ago

      thanks.. it helped me a lot in my homework

    • hassam profile image

      hassam 7 years ago from Pakistan

      Thanks! :)

    • Tracy Ann profile image

      Tracy Ann 7 years ago from Washington

      Nice article. English could use some work but very full of information. I have linked it to my own article about the next Mega-Thrust Earthquake in Washington State.


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