Earthquakes occur due to the shift in the earth’s crust. This movement releases high amount of seismic energy that causes tremors in the earth’s surface. These tremors are known as earthquakes. The movement of the Earth’s crust can be subjected to various factors. It can happen under the impact of meteors or it can be a result of volcanic eruptions. Sometimes these underground movements can be due to the nuclear tests conducted under the surface of the earth or mine collapse. The intensity of these tremors is gauged on the seismic scale that is the estimation of the amount of heat excreted from the earth’s surface.
A study conducted by the United States Geological survey revealed that every year approximately 1.3 million earth quakes occur with magnitude higher than 2.0. Earthquakes having low seismic value do not cause much damage. However, the ones that rate higher on the modified rector scale are capable of destroying huge buildings, houses and cause significant damage to the lives of human beings in the midst of all that.
What Causes Earthquakes?
There are three types of faults that are responsible for the movement in the earth’s crust.
Normal Faults – These faults occur in areas in which the crust extends. This type of fault causes the rocks to drop more on one side as compare to the other. This imbalance causes the tremors in the surface of the earth’s crust.
Reverse Faults – Reverse faults are the ones that cause earthquakes with higher magnitudes, sometimes as high as 8. It happens when the accumulation of rocks is slightly elevated in one direction as compared to the other side.
Strike Skip Faults – The movement of this type of fault is different from that of normal and reverse faults. The deposition of the rocks differs in horizontal direction rather than the vertical. The imbalance is created in horizontal format. Due to this reason the earthquakes occurring due to this fault have low intensity.
One of most destructive earthquake in recent times was the 2011 Japan earthquake that measured 9.0 on the modified rector scale. This event caused a tsunami which together claimed approximately 15,000 lives and injured another 6 thousand. This event damaged over a million homes and left 4.4 million without electricity and 1.5 million without water. Additionally the event damaged three nuclear power plants which cause the evacuation of large area throughout Japan.
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