Earthquake are natural phenomena albeit with huge destructive power. In the last 4,000 years, they have claimed around 13 million lives. So why do they occur? And can they be predicted? Read on to know more such fascinating facts about Earthquakes.
#1. What causes them?
By R.B. Colton [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Majority of earthquakes are caused by collision of the earth’s plate. The earth’s surface consists of 20 moving plats and any pressure from these shifting plates comes out in the form of seismic waves that travel through the earth. Other natural events such as meteor impacts and volcanic eruptions can also cause earthquakes.
#2. The sun and the moon cause tremors
It is common knowledge that these bodies create tides in the Earth’s crust. Now researchers suggest that they are also responsible for causing tremors deep underground.
Every year roughly 8000 people are impacted due to earthquakes , however, it is not the shaking of ground responsible for destruction but rather the man made objects that collapse.
#4. Before the big tremor
Ponds and canals may start to release strange smells before an earthquake. This is because of releasing of underground gases. Groundwater may also experience an increase in temperature.
#5. The Earthquake Weather
By 李元顥 [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons
Some people believe March to be the month of earthquakes, however, that isn’t true. There is no specific weather that could impact the occurrence of earthquakes. This is because the changes in barometric pressure of atmosphere due to seasons is very small compared to changes in the Earth’s crust.
#6. There are approximately 500,000 earthquakes a year
Around the world, there are as many as 500,000 earthquakes every year. However, not all of them are felt with only 100,000 being felt and about 100 causing extensive damage. In fact, the southern California region of the US experiences around 10,000 earthquakes every year with most of them going undetected.
#7. The Pacific Ring of Fire
The Pacific Ring of Fire (home to 452 volcanoes) circles the Pacific Ocean while touching coasts of North and South America, China, Russia and Japan. It is the most geologically active region of the Earth’s surface. Due to major plate collisions, majority of earthquakes occur here.
#8. The largest earthquake
The largest ever recorded earthquake occurred in Chile on May 22, 1960. It was a 9.5 magnitude earthquake with seismic waves traveling the world and shaking the entire earth for many days.
#9. Earthquake and Tsunami
An earthquake occurring on the ocean bed like the Indian Ocean earthquake of 2004 can further lead to tsunami- waves with huge destructive power and that can travel at 600 miles per hour. As they approach coast, they can reach a height of 100 feet.
#10. Foreshocks and aftershocks
A major earthquake is preceded by small tremors known as foreshocks. It is then followed by a series of other tremors for several days known as aftershocks.