What Is an Earthquake?

Gary S Chapman/DigitalVision/Getty Images

An earthquake is a sudden shaking or rolling of the ground caused by movements under the earth’s surface. Some earthquakes can be mild while others may be severe causing massive devastation to structures, life and other natural resources.

Earthquakes may trigger other natural disasters including volcanic activity, tsunamis and landslides. Earthquakes may sometimes be referred to as tremors, quakes or temblors. Severe earthquakes may move the ground enough to cause buildings to collapse and kill thousands of people. Earthquakes may also lead to flooding and outbreak of fires due to electrical lines.

Various methods have been devised to predict earthquakes allowing authorities to warn people before the disaster occurs. If warned of an impending earthquake, people may prepare by repositioning objects that may fall down and cause harm. Storing water, food supplies and important documents safely is another important measure to take. Having multiple communication options is prudent in case of an emergency.

During the shaking, it is prudent to drop down on the knees and cover the head and neck using hands. This protects against falling objects. Staying away from windows, furniture or any loose structures is prudent. In case of an emergency, use any available communication avenue to call for help.