Why do earthquakes happen? |Earthquake Definition, Effects, and Prevention?

Why do Earthquakes happen?

In this article, we will cover all the details on why do earthquakes happen, earthquake definition, effects, epicenter, and prevention?

In addition to that, we will answer your all queries like how do you survive an earthquake? Do and Don’ts during an earthquake.

What causes an earthquake?

It is caused due to release of energy, which generates waves that travel in all directions.

In simple words, the moving of tectonic plates below the earth’s crust generates seismic waves that shook the earth in the form of an earthquake.

Let’s also find out what is an earthquake? we will cover this topic in detail as much as possible.

Why do earthquakes happen
What causes an Earthquake| its effects and meaning

What is an Earthquake?

An Earthquake in simple words is the shaking of the earth. It is a natural event. There are two types of earthquake waves – body waves and surface waves.

Body waves are of two types. Body waves are generated due to the release of energy at the focus and moves in all directions traveling through the body of the earth.

When they interact with the surface rocks it generates new types of waves called surface waves.

These waves travel along with the surface velocity of waves changes as they move through materials with different densities.

The velocity of the wave is higher in denser material.

What causes an earthquake
What is an Earthquake?

What are the 2 types of Body waves?

  • There are two types of body waves. They are called P and S waves.
  • P waves move faster and are the first to arrive at the earth’s surface.
  • P waves are also known as Primary waves.
  • Primary waves are similar to sound waves.
  • Primary waves can travel through all materials solid, liquid and gaseous.
  • S waves take a bit of time to reach the earth surface.
  • S waves are also known as secondary waves.
  • Secondary waves can only travel through solid materials, due to this property of S waves scientists were able to study the interiors of the earth.

What is the Epicentre of an earthquake?

The epicenter of an earthquake is a point vertically above the focus.

Focus is the point beneath the earth’s surface where the earthquake began.

The main importance of determining the epicenter is to find the cause of the earthquake.

What causes an earthquake
Seismic graph used to measure magnitude of an earthquake

How do we measure an earthquake?

The magnitude or in other words, we can say how powerful an earthquake is measured by using an instrument called the Richter Scale.

It is measured by using a meter called a seismometer which produces a seismograph.

What are the effects of an Earthquake?

The immediate effects of an earthquake are shaking of earth’s surface, landslides, tsunamis, and cracking of ground.

It also causes damage to buildings, bridges, dams, fires in buildings, damage to highways, and liquefaction.

Also, it is a devastating natural disaster which brings downs human mentally and emotionally.

How to prevent Earthquake damage?

  • We cannot prevent an earthquake, it is a natural phenomena.
  • However, we can take some preventive measures to minimize its effect, which are as follows:-
  • Keep fire extinguishers, if in case a fire occurs.
  • Store hazardous material out of home.
  • Secure your household items as much as possible.
  • Stay out of home in an open area for the period of the earthquake.
  • If you are at home take shelter beneath a strong table.
  • Switch off lights to reduce electrical fire hazards.

How do you survive an earthquake?

  • Stay away from doors, walls, windows, and objects that can fall upon you.
  • If you don’t find anything nearby to take shelter, lay down and cover your head with the help of your hands.
  • Try to get into a field nearby where is enough space between buildings.
  • Learn about earthquake survival online and also educate others.
  • Prepare a medical kit and other essentials like food, water, blankets, battery to meet any kind of emergency during an earthquake.

Also read:-

What is Air and its Composition?

7 Continents of the world

Why the Sky is Blue?

Other useful resources on Earthquake

Do’s and Dont’s during an earthquake:-

If you are in a vehicle while an earthquake, stop immediately but don’t forget to look around for trees, buildings or a structure that may collapse.

Stay away from beaches since the earthquake may cause tsunamis.

Help injured people, give them first aid.

Keep away from damaged buildings.

Check your family members and neighbors that they are safe.

Don’t panic and stay calm. Prepare your best to minimize damage.

Interesting facts on causes of an earthquake and effects:-

The largest earthquake was occurred in Valdivia, southern Chile on 22 May 1960. It is also known as The Great Chilean Earthquake or 1960 Valdivian Earthquake.

Indonesia had the most numbers of the earthquake.

Uruguay a small country of South America had no earthquake history.

On 26 January 2001, the Bhuj earthquake in India was the last major earthquake.

Guwahati, Assam in India is most prone to an earthquake.


What is the original location of an earthquake is known as?

The original location of an earthquake is also known as the epicenter.

What is an epicenter of an earthquake?

The epicenter of an earthquake is a point vertically above the focus. Focus is the point beneath the earth’s surface where the earthquake began.

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