Q:

Where do earthquakes form?

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Quick Answer

According to the U.S. Geological Society, the area in the Earth's crust where an earthquake forms is called the hypocenter. Unpredictable in nature, earthquakes form when energy from the crust is released, causing vibrations on the surface of the earth. The magnitude of earthquakes can vary exponentially, and the stronger the magnitude, the more devastating the effects, especially on areas that are near the epicenter.

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Where do earthquakes form?
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Full Answer

The earth's crust is made up of several plates that are constantly moving. These movements are relatively slow, but they may cause earthquakes. Large earthquakes occur when the plates collide or slide past each other. The release of energy can be powerful enough to trigger an earthquake.

The boundaries where the two plates meet is often the focal point of the earthquake. However, sometimes it can spread across several other areas. Earthquakes are often located on faults. Faults are the result of fractures in the Earth's crust when the plates move.

Whenever an earthquake strikes, the major quake is sometimes preceded by foreshocks and followed by aftershocks. Foreshocks will often multiply in magnitude right before the quake; aftershocks are the opposite, and will decrease in magnitude once the quake is over. Strong earthquakes can cause avalanches and tsunamis. The magnitude of an earthquake is usually measured by a Richter scale. The Richter scale measures the amount of energy released during the earthquake.

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Related Questions

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    What instruments are used to predict earthquakes?

    A:

    As of 2015, there are no instruments available that can actually predict an earthquake, but instruments used to detect earthquakes include creepmeters, strainmeters, tiltmeters and pore pressure monitors. These tools are used by the United States Geological Survey in fault lines and volcanoes in the United States. Each tool has a unique and equally important role in helping seismologists determine when earthquakes occur.

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    What was the main cause of the Shaanxi Earthquake?

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    Like most earthquakes, the 1556 Shaanxi earthquake occurred due to the sudden shifting of tectonic plates against each other. Tectonic plates are large chunks of the earth’s crust, and the cracks between these chunks are known as faults. East Qinling’s northern Piedmont fault is the likely origin of the Shaanxi disaster.

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    What are some large earthquakes that have happened in the United States?

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    Some of the largest earthquakes in the history of the United States include the 1964 Great Alaska earthquake and the earthquake that hit the Cascadia subduction zone in 1700. The 1964 earthquake was 9.2 magnitude, and the 1700 earthquake was 9 magnitude. These are the only earthquakes in the United States to register over 9 magnitude.

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  • Q:

    What are some of the largest earthquakes in history?

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    Some of the largest earthquakes ever recorded include the Chilean earthquake of 1960, the Prince William Sound earthquake of 1964 and the earthquake in Sumatra, Indonesia, in 2004. Other large earthquakes occurred in Sendai, Japan, in 2011 and Kamchatka, Russia, in 1952. While even larger earthquakes may have occurred in the past, the technology did not yet exist for accurate measurements and records.

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