An earthquake is a shaking of the ground caused by the sudden shifting of large sectionsof the earth’s crust. Earthquakes are one of the most powerful events on earth, and they can beterrifying. A severe earthquake may release energy 10,000 times as great as that of the firstatomic bomb. Rock movements during an earthquake can make rivers change their direction.
Earthquakes can trigger landslides and Volcanoes that cause great damage and loss of life.
Large earthquakes beneath the ocean can create a series of huge, destructive waves calledtsunamis.
Plate TectonicsA plate is a large section of the earth’s crust. Tectonics is the art or science of makingthings out of smaller pieces. According to sceintists, sevn to twelve large plates, and severalsmaller ones, make up the earth’s crust.
The earth’s plates are continually moving, perhaps as much as several inches a year. Asthey move, they bump against each other. They can spread apart from each other, or pushagainst each other. Somethimes, during this movement, one platre will com up over the top ofanother. In other places, two plates will slide along next to one another.
The area of the crust that breaks is known as a fault. Faults can be seen on the eath’ssuface. Any area where faults are common are called falt zones.
Four out of any five earthquakes take place around the edge of the pacific Ocean. Thispart of the world has come to be known as the “Ring of Fire” because of the numerousvolcanoes in the region. it is also an arean of great earthquake activity. Eathquakes result whenthe Pacific Plate and the neighboring plates collide.