What do you know about earthquakes?  Let’s find out!

1. Earthquakes usually happen at the edge of tectonic plates.
  • Tectonic plates are the outer layer of the Earth.
  • They are made of rock and are constantly moving.
2. Earthquakes occur when the plates get stuck, but keep trying to move!
  • The tectonic plates are constantly moving but sometimes they get stuck.
  • When they get stuck, pressure builds up and the plates will suddenly move.
3. Before an earthquake, foreshocks might occur!
  • Foreshocks can be one or more small earthquakes which happen in the lead up to a bigger one, which is known as the main shock.
  • Scientists can often use these to predict big earthquakes.
4. After an earthquake, aftershocks are likely to happen.
  • An aftershock is one or more small earthquakes after the main one has occurred.
  • This is because of the Earth’s crust adjusting to the effect of the main earthquake.
  • They can be very dangerous as buildings might already have damage to them from the large earthquake and so it can often cause them to fall.
5. The shock waves that travel through the ground are called seismic waves.
  • They are very strong at the centre of the earthquake.
  • The waves travel to the surface and this is when the ground shakes and destruction happens.
6. Scientists use the Moment Magnitude scale to measure how strong an earthquake is.
  • This scale measures the energy that is released by the earthquake which makes it very accurate.
  • In the past, scientists used something called the Richter scale which measured the size of the seismic waves, however, this wasn’t as accurate as it could have been.
7. The place where an earthquake starts is called the hypocenter.
  • An earthquake has to start somewhere!
  • It is always under ground, below the Earth’s surface.
8. The ground above where an earthquake starts is called the epicenter.
  • The epicenter of an earthquake is on the ground directly above the hypocenter.
  • The difference between them is the hypocenter is under the ground and the epicenter is above the ground.
9. The strongest ever earthquake was in Chile, in the year 1960.
  • It was a 9.5 on the Moment magnitude scale which is very, very high.
  • The earthquake lasted for 10 whole minutes.
10. Japan is the country where most earthquakes occur.
  • This is because Japan is within something known as ‘The Pacific Ring of Fire’.
  • This is on the edge of the Pacific Ocean and is where there is a tectonic plate edge.
  • Other countries that are affected are Philippines, United States, Chile and more.
Which of these 10 facts surprised you the most?




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