What are earthquakes? Well, they are the movement of the earth’s surface in the outermost layer. Before we get into what causes an earthquake, it is important to know the layers of the earth. The earth is made up of four main layers. Going from the innermost layer to outermost, they are the inner core, outer core, the mantle, and the lithosphere. At the top of the lithosphere is the crust.
The lithosphere makes up the outermost surface of the earth. It consists of huge sections that cover the earth. These sections are almost like puzzle pieces and fit together which. The individual sections are known as tectonic plates. These tectonic plates are constantly moving, creating small earthquakes that are too small for us to feel. However these small earthquakes result in tension that builds up in the earth’s surface. Once this tension becomes big enough, cracks will form along the surface of the earth. These cracks are known as fault lines. The area at the place where the Earthquake starts is called the epicenter. Earthquakes happen when there is large, sudden movement along these fault lines. Places that are located near or along these fault lines experience the most earthquakes. For example, California and Chile experience a lot of earthquakes as these places are found near fault lines. The largest ever earthquake ever to happen was on May 22, 1960 in Chile. This earthquake is known as the Valdivia earthquake and was at a 9.5 magnitude. A magnitude is what Geologists use to rate the size of earthquakes.
Earthquakes that are extremely great can result in natural disasters. These include things like landslides, tsunamis, flooding, and other major events. Powerful earthquakes can be very dangerous as they can injure or even kill people. They also can be extremely damaging as buildings and other structures can fall down resulting in lots of rubble.
Seismic waves are the energy caused by an earthquake and travel through the Earth’s surface. The vibration we feel when an Earthquake occurs are the seismic waves. Scientists use seismometers to measure the seismic waves of an earthquake. A seismometer can also tell scientists the time when the earthquake began, the place where it happened, and how intense the earthquake was.