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An earthquake is a violent movement of the ground caused by the release of energy that arises from the interior of the Earth. This energy can arise from a natural source such as the breaking of rocks in the earth’s crust, by a volcanic eruption, or by non-natural sources such as explosions.
When the rocks of the earth’s crust are cracked, divided or broken, a release of accumulated energy occurs, and these earthquakes are known as tectonic in origin. Generally these breaks occur along fractures of the earth’s crust or geological faults, which in turn are associated with the movement of tectonic plates. Volcanic earthquakes release the energy produced by the breaking of rocks due to the movement of magma under the surface. While explosion earthquakes can generate weak seismic waves. These processes can cause seismic “noise”. This noise is the vibration of seismic waves towards the surface.
What causes earthquakes?
A tremor can respond to various causes, natural and of human origin:
Geological processes. Earth’s tectonic plates move below the surface, over magma, and often collide with each other, generating seismic waves that bounce back to the surface. This can also occur in the presence of volcanic activity.
Geothermal facilities. The human hand can also accidentally cause tremors, as occurs with the microseisms that often occur when cold water is injected into geothermal reservoirs, where the earth’s own heat makes the liquid boil and produces geysers.
Fracking. There is debate about the possibility that hydraulic fracturing or fracking methods, consisting of the injection of water and chemical materials into hydrocarbon wells to increase or promote the extraction of valuable matter, may increase the seismic instability of the area and cause earthquakes.
Nuclear tests. Atomic weapons testing is so destructive that it must be done far from human and wildlife, which is why it is often carried out underground. These explosions are so strong that they can impact the tectonic plates and transmit vibrations that cause small earthquakes.
What to do when an earthquakes happen
There are continuous earthquakes today in the world and earthquakes happen when you least expect it. Earthquakes are natural phenomena that happen suddenly, without warning. Unlike hurricanes, earthquakes effects are not predictable.
Before earthquakes happen:
In your home, determine the objects that could become a hazard during an earthquake, such as pictures, mirrors, lamps, hanging flower pots, etc. and relocate or secure them so that they cannot fall on you in the event of an earthquake.
- Practice earthquake drills. In advance, each member of your family, office or school should know where to stand in the event of an earthquake; for example, under a desk or sturdy table.
- Learn where and how to shut off electricity, gas and water at main switches and outlets.
- Set up an out-of-town phone number that your family members can call to let others know they are okay.
- Keep a supply of non-perishable food and drinking water for at least 3 days.
During earthquakes happen:
- If possible, stay calm and stay indoors for the duration of the earthquake.
- Get on the floor, take cover and hold on! Take only the steps that allow you to get under a safe place, such as a sturdy desk or table. Once there, hold on to one leg with both hands.
- Stay away from windows, glass, mirrors, exterior doors or walls and anything that may fall on you such as lamps and furniture.
- If there is no table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and duck away from windows and bookshelves.
If you are in…
- The street: stay away from poles and power lines.
- A building: Get under a table or desk, away from windows and outside walls. Stay there until the movement has passed. DO NOT use the elevators.
- Inside a busy place like a restaurant or a movie theater: Stay where you are. Don’t run for the doors. Stay away from shelves that contain objects that could fall on you.
- A moving car: Stop as quickly as possible and stay inside the vehicle until the shaking stops. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, bridges, or power lines. Then proceed cautiously, checking the road and bridges for damage. If you must go outside, be on the lookout for falling objects, downed power lines, and walls, bridges, etc.
Later earthquakes happen:
- If you get caught in debris:
- Do not light a fire.
- Try not to move or kick up dust.
- Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or your clothing.
- Tap a pipe or the wall so rescuers can find it. Use a whistle, if you have one. Shout only as a last resort, as doing so may swallow dangerous amounts of dust.
- Know that after an earthquake, aftershocks will come. If the place where you were was affected by the first tremor, avoid going back to it. These aftershocks are generally less violent than the main earthquake, but strong enough to cause additional damage to weakened structures.
- Check for injuries. Do not attempt to move seriously injured people unless they are in immediate danger of death or further injury. If you have to move an unconscious person, stabilize the neck and back first, and then call for help immediately. If the victim is not breathing, carefully position the victim for mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
- Maintain the injured person’s body temperature with a blanket, but make sure they don’t get too hot.
- Never give liquids to an unconscious person.
- If the power goes out, use battery-powered flashlights. Do not use candles or matches indoors after an earthquake, as gas may leak.
- Inspect your home for structural damage. If you have questions about safety, have a civil engineer inspect your home before you return.
- Clean the floor of spilled medicines, bleach, gasoline, and other flammable liquids. If gasoline fumes are detected and the building is not well ventilated, exit immediately. If you smell gas or hear a hissing or blowing sound, open a window and go outside.
- Turn off electrical power, if you know or suspect damage. Turn off the water supply at the main intake if the water pipes are damaged. Do not run down the toilet until you know the sewer is in good condition.
- Open cabinets carefully, as objects can fall off shelves.
Earthquakes today consequences
Earthquakes can have various consequences, such as:
Urban destruction. The fall of buildings, the collapse of houses and other urban accidents often accompany the vibratory movement of earthquakes, and often take a high price in human lives, especially if the population is not prepared and educated in seismic matters.
Ground slides. Elevations such as hills, hills and mountains can yield to the force of earthquakes and thus generate avalanches or avalanches capable of burying entire populations.
Fires. Falling urban or industrial facilities often causes electrical damage or the release of flammable chemicals, often leading to fires.
Soil liquefaction. Seismic waves are so strong that they can force soil material to release contained water, losing strength and becoming muddy, which is lethal to the stability of houses and buildings.
Tsunamis. Large earthquakes can transmit their vibrations to the water of the oceans, thus generating an artificial shaking of it and then large waves known as tsunamis.
The Richter seismological scale, also known as the local magnitude scale (ML), is an arbitrary logarithmic scale that assigns a number to quantify the energy released by an earthquake, named after the American seismologist Charles Francis Richter.
How earthquakes today are measured?
The seismograph is an instrument used to record the intensity, duration, and other characteristics of earth tremors during an earthquake. At present, the use of two scales for measuring earthquakes in the world has been taken as a convention: the Richter scale and the Mercall scale.
Earthquakes near me just now
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Earthquakes today facts
- The largest recorded earthquake in the United States was a magnitude 9.2 that struck Prince William Sound, Alaska on Good Friday, March 28, 1964 UTC.
- The largest recorded earthquake in the world was a magnitude 9.5 (Mw) in Chile on May 22, 1960.
- The earliest reported earthquake in California was felt in 1769 by the exploring expedition of Gaspar de Portola while the group was camping about 48 kilometers (30 miles) southeast of Los Angeles.
- The fastest wave, and therefore the first to arrive at a given location, is called the P wave. The P wave, or compressional wave, alternately compresses and expands material in the same direction it is travelin.
- Moonquakes (“earthquakes” on the moon) do occur, but they happen less frequently and have smaller magnitudes than earthquakes on the Earth. It appears they are related to the tidal stresses associated with the varying distance between the Earth and Moon. They also occur at great depth, about halfway between the surface and the center of the moon.