Earthquake Basics Explained
Earthquakes are sudden ground movements caused by the shifting of Earth's tectonic plates. They can occur along fault lines where plates meet or within plates themselves.
Measuring Earthquake Magnitude
The Richter scale, now usually superseded by the Moment Magnitude Scale, quantifies earthquake size. It's logarithmic, meaning each whole number increase represents a tenfold intensity increase and about 31.6 times more energy release.
Infamous Historical Quakes
The 1556 Shaanxi earthquake is the deadliest known, claiming approximately 830,000 lives in China. Modern building codes aim to mitigate such disaster impacts.
Predicting Earthquakes: A Myth?
Despite advances in seismology, accurately predicting earthquakes remains elusive. Current methods can at best provide probabilistic forecasts, not precise predictions.
Animals Detecting Quakes?
Anecdotal evidence suggests animals can sense earthquakes before humans. Researchers speculate they might detect early warning signs like electrical changes in the air or perturbations in the Earth's magnetic field.
Undersea earthquakes can displace vast amounts of water, creating tsunamis. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, triggered by an undersea quake, resulted in over 230,000 deaths across 14 countries.
Earthquake Proofing Technology
Engineers use base isolation and energy dissipation devices to 'earthquake-proof' buildings. This technology allows structures to withstand significant ground movement without collapsing.