What causes an earthquake?
- There are more than one million earthquakes a year
- Tectonic plates float on soft rock and are always moving
- The plates rub against each other which causes friction and pressure
- Plates slip and cause a jolt that we feel it as a sudden earthquake
What causes an earthquake?
Tectonic plates are floating on a bed of soft magma and rock below the earth's crust. Sometimes they move away from each other and sometimes they go towards another plate. When the plates touch they may rub against each other which causes friction.
The pressure builds up until one of the plates may no longer be able to withstand the force. The weaker plate slips out of position. It may even crack in places. Humans on the earth's surface feel this sudden movement and it is known as an earthquake.
The movement of the earth's crust is called seismic waves. The size of these seismic waves is measured on the Richter Scale.
Tsunamis, volcanoes and other natural disasters
- What causes a Tsunami?
Tsunamis are a natural disaster with devastating effects. Here you'll find a detailed breakdown of what causes a tsunami, which is perfect for school projects and essay answers.
- The biggest tsunamis in history
The biggest tsunami ever was caused by an enormous 8.3 magnitude earthquake in Alaska on July 9, 1958. A landslide of rock fell into a lake and caused a wave bigger than the Empire State Building. Read more...
- What are the effects of a tsunami?
The effects of a tsunami are devastating. They are one of the world's worst natural disasters that can hit a country. Tsunami damage is first caused by the immense force of the tidal wave...
- What causes a volcano to erupt?
Volcano eruptions are caused when magma shoots up from the earth's crust. The effects of volcano eruptions can be devastating. Read this article a full guide on what causes volcanoes to erupt.
How long do earthquakes last?
Earthquakes usually only last for a few seconds. However, earthquakes are often followed by a series of aftershocks. These are caused by the continued moving of the plates pushing against each other as they settle into their new positions. Aftershocks are never usually as powerful as the initial earthquake.
Sometimes where earthquakes happen below the sea they cause a tsunami.
What are the effects of an earthquake?
Earthquakes happen regularly and are fairly common in areas that lie on fault lines - the places where tectonic plates meet. One such area is Japan. The country may feel several earthquakes a year. However, the buildings have been designed to withstand minor tremors.
Earthquakes cause problems when they are very powerful. The force of the seismic waves causes buildings to shake. Sometimes the buildings will collapse. Over the years, many thousands of people have been killed when earthquakes have caused buildings to fall down.
Was the Japan 2011 earthquake caused by a supermoon
The earthquake that struck off the north east coast of Japan in March 2011 caused a killer tsunami that devastated the country.
But was the initial earthquake caused by a supermoon?
Experts had been warning just two days earlier that the movement of the moon could trigger unpredictable events and natural disasters on Earth.
The theory was that on March 19 the moon would be at its closest to the earth since 1922, some 221,567 miles away to be precise. They claimed that the gravitational pull of the moon would cause disruption on the earth.
The theory was giving added weight because only a few weeks earlier an earthquake had killed hundreds of people are destroyed buildings when it hit Christchurch in New Zealand.
Astrologer Richard Nolle first developed the supermoon theory in 1979.
He said that supermoons have a historical association with strong storms, very high tides, extreme tides and also earthquakes.
Scientists have, of course, dismissed the supermoon theories as nonsense, pointing out that Japan and New Zealand both have long histories of earthquakes and natural disasters.
An earthquake hits Haiti in the Caribbean. It wrecked the nation, and it's thought to have killed between 100,000 and 200,000 people. Countless buildings were devastated and 1.5 million individuals were made homeless. Troops and support had to be sent in to help the recovery
Around 150 individuals lost their lives in Italy when a quake struck in a metropolis called L'Aquila. More than 50,000 individuals were made homeless by the tremor.
Around 87,000 people are thought to have died in China by when a quake struck the Sichuan region of the nation. Some five million homes were obliterated in the shudder which measured 7.5 on the Richter scale, and was the largest to strike the nation for 30 years.
More than 450 individuals recorded dead in Peru by a tremor measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale.
More than 3,000 people were left dead by a seismic tremor that struck the Indonesian island of Java. Something greater than 200,000 people were made homeless by the quake, which measured 6.2 on the Richter scale.
The death count rose to 300,000 when a quake in the Indian Ocean measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale caused a colossal tsunami to hit some Asian nations. The worst affected nations were Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand.
An estimated 50,000 people were killed after a tremor in Iran, which measured 6.3 on the Richter scale.
Over 1,000 folks are killed and practically 7,000 harmed in a shake in Algeria, which measured 6.7 on the Richter scale.
Thousands lost their lives in a remote part of Afghanistan when a tremor measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale struck.
Thirty-thousand individuals died and around 50,000 were seriously injured by an earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale in Gujarat, India.
More than 1,000 residents died in a 7.2 quake in El Salvador.