How do earthquakes affect the hydrosphere?


Quick Answer

Earthquakes affect the hydrosphere in many ways, including the formation of tsunamis. While conditions must be correct to form the wave, the tsunami has great destructive ability. Tsunamis are capable of destroying all the inhabitants on an island and bringing mass destruction to low-lying areas along the coast of continents, according to HowStuffWorks.

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Full Answer

Earthquakes and hydrosphere interaction cause changes in the course of rivers and streams. The Montana Office of State Tourism tells the story of the formation of Earthquake Lake, near West Yellowstone on Aug. 17, 1959. The earthquake was responsible for a landslide dropping 80 million tons of rock into the Madison Canyon River gorge. In addition to causing 28 deaths, $11 million in damage to highways and forest and flooding, it is also responsible for the formation of a natural dam across the canyon that blocks the water flow to create the lake.

In the Mississippi River Valley, an earthquake is responsible for reversing the flow of the river. The Dec. 16, 1811, magnitude 8.6 earthquake was the source of alterations to the region's topography by as much as 15 feet. Geologists blame the momentary reversal of the flow of the direction of the Mississippi River for the formation of Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee.

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