10 things you must know about earthquakes

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Most of the earthquakes occur when two plates collide, especially in the subduction zones, where one plate is forced beneath another.

2. The amount of destruction caused by an earthquake depends on various factors including duration of shaking, distance from the fault, local conditions, building quality, population density etc.

3. Secondary earthquake hazards are soil liquefaction, landslides, rock and snow avalanches and Tsunami.
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4. Earthquakes are measured at the epicenter, the point on the Earth’s surface directly above the hypocenter (origin place inside the earth), and the magnitude is calculated on scales based on the work of Charles Richter and intensity on the Mercalli scale.

5. Richter (named after American seismologist Charles Francis Richter) is a 10 point and Mercalli (named after Italian volcanologist Giuseppe Mercalli) is an I to XII point nonlinear scale.

6. The point of rupture (hypocenter) can occur anywhere between earth’s ’ surface and a depth of 700 Km.

7. The highest recorded earthquake in the world was a magnitude 9.5 (Mw) in Chile on May 22, 1960.

8. The moment magnitude scale (Mw) replaced the 1930s-era Richter scale referred as local magnitude (ML) in the 1970s as the method of measuring the size of earthquakes in terms of energy released.

9. An average earthquake lasts around a minute.

10. Earth Scientists have developed the theory of ‘Plate Tectonics’ in the mid-twentieth century to explain the spatial patterns of earthquakes on earth.

*Dr. Rana is an Associate Professor of Geography at Deendayal Upadhyay University, Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh He can be reached at nkrana.in@gmail.com

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