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.
The circum-Pacific seismic belt, often referred to as the Ring of Fire, experiences more earthquakes than anywhere else on Earth. The belt stretches from the southern tip of the Americas north to Alaska, across the Bearing Strait, down through Japan and into New Zealand.
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 exponent
Most earthquakes happen along the boundaries of the tectonic plates that make up the Earth's crust, though earthquakes can happen anywhere on the planet. Earthquakes are also common along faults, which are deep fissures under great pressure within a plate or along multiple plates.
Most earthquakes occur along the boundaries between the Earth's tectonic plates. The crust of the Earth is divided into plates. When a plate collides with or slides past another plate, this causes earthquakes. For example, as the Pacific plate moves past the North American plate, many earthquakes oc
Earthquakes occur most often along the edges of oceanic and continental plates. Oceanic plates are the large pieces of the Earth's crust that are located beneath the oceans. Continental plates hold the Earth's large land masses.
As of October 2015, recent earthquakes occurred 11 miles southwest of Medford Oklahoma, about 19 miles southwest of Ovalle, Chile and 17 miles north of Sorong, Indonesia. Three significant earthquakes occurred in the vicinity of Illapel, Chile between Sept. 21 and 22, 2015.
While earthquakes can occur almost anywhere, they are most common around the edges of the great tectonic plates of the Earth's crust. The plates are always in motion, and the edges tend to rub up against one another, building up the energy that results in an earthquake.
The best place to take shelter during an earthquake is underneath a sturdy desk or table, preferably one that covers the entire body. If this option is not available, protecting the head and neck is the most important safety concern. Do not stand in a doorway, as that advice is outdated and unsafe.
The United States Geological Survey offers a collection of models, animations and educational materials concerning earthquakes. Complete with models of the various aspects of the different types of earthquakes, the USGS is one of the most reliable outlets for simple, easy to understand earthquake mo