What is an earthquake?

An earthquake or earthquake is a natural phenomenon that consists of a shaking of the earth's surface, produced by the movement of the inner layers of the Earth.

Every earthquake or earthquake is characterized by having a hypocenter and an epicenter. The hypocenter is the point of origin, and it is located inside the earth.

For its part, the epicenter is the point on the surface where the tectonic movement is projected. It is located above the hypocenter. Therefore, the epicenter is the point on the surface where an earthquake is most intensely felt.

Earthquakes are geological phenomena that occur periodically, but none of their aspects can be predicted: neither the place where they will occur, nor the magnitude nor the moment. They are always sudden, unexpected. Therefore, those who live in areas of high seismic risk must be prepared to know what to do in the event of an earthquake.

Earthquakes or earthquakes are studied by a branch of geophysics known as seismology. They are measured according to the Richter seismological scale.

The word earthquake derives from seism, which in turn comes from the Greek σεισμός (six), which means 'shake'. For its part, the word earthquake comes from Latin terraemotus, which means 'movement of the earth'.

Causes of earthquakes

Earthquakes or earthquakes occur due to the movement of the inner plates of the earth, called tectonic layers. When the plates move, collide with each other or deform, they produce energy that is released in the form of tremors. For this reason, these types of tremors are classified as tectonic earthquakes.

Some earthquakes or earthquakes can be caused by volcanic processes. When a volcano releases its inner magma to the surface, it generates seismic shocks on the ground.

In the same way, the movements of slopes or the collapse of rocky cavities can generate earthquakes or earthquakes.

Regions crossed by fault lines are more prone to seismic activity. Mountainous areas are a good example of this. Mountains, in this respect, give us an indication of the places through which a fault passes.

Consequences of earthquakes

Depending on their intensity, earthquakes or earthquakes can cause various consequences in nature and for human life. Among them, we can mention:

  • ground breaks;
  • destruction of material heritage;
  • deaths;
  • fires;
  • tidal waves (tsunamis);
  • ground slides.

Annually, more than three hundred thousand perceptible earthquakes occur in the world, although the vast majority of them do not cause loss or material damage. In fact, only a very low percentage is significant.

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