Understanding Earthquakes and How They Occur

Sitting on your study table, doing your homework and suddenly the surface beneath the table starts shaking, subsequently moving everything present on the table. What’s happening? It may be an earthquake taking place. What is an earthquake?

If you want to know how natural disasters occur, then you need to take a deeper look into geology.  The study of geology consists of many natural phenomena, including volcanoes and earthquakes. The latter is what we’re going to focus on.

Understanding Earthquakes

The rumblings and shaking of the earth’s surface is known as an earthquake. Energy can build up over a prolonged period of time beneath the earth’s surface, resulting in tension caused by two blocks of the earth suddenly slipping or breaking past one another. You can feel an earthquake as a shock under your table or feet. So what causes earthquakes to occur? Let’s take a look.

How Earthquakes Occur

The earth’s surface and submarine levels make up the earth’s crust and it is here where earthquakes occur. Massive energy is present in the earth’s inner part while some of it breaks free via volcanic activity and cracks; much of it is hoarded within the inner parts present in the crust.

The energy hoarded here results in the plates pushing up against one another. This activity is known as tectonic plates. There is massive pressure on the fault lines and immense plate’s tension due to the energy that has built up and the movement after a period of time. The fault line gives away and the plates shift. The plates move either apart from or against each other as the energy that has built up causes intense pressure.

In the form of water ripples known as seismic waves, an earthquake occurs at this point of time. On reaching the surface, these waves cause the ground to shake causing damage to everything present on it.

Types of Earthquakes

Earthquakes occur in three different forms. Following are the different types of earthquakes.

Convergent Boundary

A thrust fault is created during movement causing one plate to move against the other, the place where it occurs is known as a convergent boundary.

Divergent Boundary

A rift zone is formed when plates are forced apart from each other. The place where this occurs is known as a divergent boundary.

Transform Fault

The plates slip by each other at a transform fault.

There you have—what is an earthquake and how it occurs. Finally, a word of advice: the next time the surface under your study table moves, don’t just sit there, take the precautionary measures because you never know, it I might be an “Earthquake.”


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