Earthquakes are one of the many disasters to which our home planet Earth is susceptible.
Since our schooldays we have been familiarized with what are earthquakes, how and why they happen and how to manage the disasters. But there are some interesting facts about earthquakes that we all need to know. Not only are they resourceful but also help in managing the disasters more effectively and being prepared for them as well.
To begin with, let us first understand what the term “earthquake” implies. Earthquakes, also known as tremors, quakes, temblor and bhoo-kamp in Hindi, is often caused by the release of energy in the seismic plates of Earth’s crust.
Earthquakes are natural disasters and there is no possible way to completely control the quakes. Since the creation of Earth, quakes have occurred and have often shaken Earth to its core and brought a significant change in the geography and environment on Earth.
The device used to measure the strength of the quake is called the seismometers and the readings of the strength are read through Richter scale graphs.
The naturally occurring earthquakes happen whenever there is some significant fault in the tectonic plates of the Earth’s crust and these, faults are often triggered by various factors. The earthquake’s fault type is also divided into three categories named as normal, reverse and strike-slip. These faulty movements then trigger the crust and shake the interior as well as the exterior of Earth.
Earthquakes that occur near the volcanic regions happen mainly due to tectonic faults as well due to the movement of magma in volcanoes. Such volcanic earthquakes erupt magma and cause a great amount of destruction that too widespread.
Other than this, there are many effects of earthquakes. Like shaking and ground rupture. This is one of the most common effects of an earthquake that almost every common person living on the planet must have experienced at least once. The ground ruptures involves the visible breaking and fragmenting of Earth’s surface during the quake. Such ruptures are threatening for large structures like dams, building, nuclear power stations and the like.
Landslides, avalanches and fires, are also often caused by earthquakes. The uppermost layer of the crust especially of a region where the vegetation is less and the soil is loose is often carried away and slided down during earth quakes as landslides. Fires are caused during the earthquakes by the faults in gas pipelines and electrical circuits and lines. Tsunami and floods caused by earthquake is a phenomenon that Indians are closely familiar with. One of the most disastrous Tsunami hit India also in year 2004 and the large waves produced by it left stranded millions of people. Floods triggered by the earthquakes are also a threat to human populations. The area near Sariz Lake of Tajikistan is said to be under threat of flood in case of an earthquake and an estimate of 5 billion people will suffer if the flood occurs.
Earthquakes, be it the small scale earthquakes or the great ones, causes injuries, loss of life, loss of assets, general property damage, collapse and destabilization of the nation itself.
Rift on road caused by Earthquake
And since earthquakes are most likely to be natural disasters (though there are some exceptions in which some human factors trigger small-scale tremors) we all need to be aware of some facts and figures about Earthquakes that have been witnessed by the human generations across the globe.
- Though it is disheartening to know, but a study suggests that earthquakes kill approximately 8000 people every year worldwide.
- According to Japanese mythology, the cause of earthquake is a mythological character which is a giant cat-fish named Namazu.
- The Tsunami that hit the Indian Ocean and the quake that triggered it is said to have the potential of generating enough energy to power all homes and businesses of U.S for at least three days.
- Earthquakes are generally caused by the geological movements of the tectonic plates but can also be caused by nuclear testing, mine testing and volcanic activities.
- On an average, an earthquake is said to last for a minute.
- Parkfield in California is termed as the “Earthquake Capital of the World” because it has a bridge that is spanning two tectonic plates.
- A quake is considered as a major one when it is of magnitude of 7.0 or above on the Richter scale and is termed as minor if the magnitude is 3.0 or below.
- The seismograph used to measure the magnitude of earthquakes was invented by John Milne in 1880.
- The Richter scale was invented by Charles Richter in the year 1935.
- The speed of the fastest seismic waves ever recorded was 225 miles or 360 kilometers per hour.
- Before an earthquake, the ponds and canals produce strange smell which is said to happen because of release of the underground gases.
- The most earthquake prone state of the world is Alaska.
- Moon also has moon quakes but they are quite weaker in strength as compared to earthquakes.
- The devastating earthquake of year 2011 that happened in Japan has created a rift of 186 mile long under the ocean.
- The Transamerica Pyramid which is 260 meter in height is designed to withhold strong earthquakes. Transamerica Pyramid – Quake-resistant
- The longest duration of Earthquake ever recorded was that of the quake in Indian Ocean in year 2004. Its duration was 10 minutes.
- The shaking of the Earth does not kill many people during a quake as in comparison to people killed by falling buildings, tsunamis, floods, and avalanches.
- The deadliest quake recorded in human history occurred in China during 1556. It took the lives of about 830,000 people.
- The largest recorded earthquake was of Chile in 1960 with the Richter scale reading of 9.5
- More earthquakes happened in Northern Hemisphere than in Southern Hemisphere.
- In the past 4000 years, an estimated 13 million deaths have been caused by earthquake and its effects.
All the above stated facts clearly underline the fact that no matter how greatly we progress in fields of science and technology, our Earth has its internal strength and it can exert in as and when required by force. Human innovations and security measures also fail in face of strength of earthquakes. The only thing that we can do to face this disaster is by being aware of its causes and plan strategically how to encounter and mitigate the effects of Earthquake.