What is an earthquake?

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

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

For his part, he epicenter It 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 perceived with the greatest intensity.

earthquake or earthquake

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 seismwhich in turn comes from the Greek σεισμός (seismós), which means ‘shaking’. For its part, the word earthquake comes from the Latin terraemotuswhich 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 plates shift, collide, or deform, they produce energy that is released as 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 interior magma to the surface, it creates seismic shocks in the earth.

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In the same way, the movements of slopes or the subsidence of rock cavities can generate earthquakes or earthquakes.

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

consequences of earthquakes

quake or earthquake
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.

Every year, 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.

See also:

  • Richter scale
  • Seismology
  • Tectonic plates

types of earthquakes

We can classify earthquakes or earthquakes according to the type of movement they present.

  • oscillating earthquakeis one in which the movement of the tremors occurs horizontally, producing a kind of rocking or oscillation, a sensation similar to moving from one side to another.
  • trepidatory earthquake, is the one where the movement presents vertical jerks, that is, from top to bottom. This type of movement can cause things to be thrown into the air.

earthquake resistance

As earthquake resistance or seismorresistance is called the set of rules and requirements of structural order that a building must meet to be able to withstand an earthquake. Seismic resistance is especially necessary in areas of great seismic activity.

As such, it comprises a set of aspects related to the design and construction of buildings, fundamentally those related to the structural configuration (dimensions, materials, resistance, etc.). The purpose of the earthquake resistance is to prevent the building from collapsing, totally or partially, during an earthquake.

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artificial earthquake

An artificial earthquake is one that is produced by man through the detonation of explosive material inside the earth. In general, they are low intensity earthquakes, induced to carry out studies in the subsoil, and to search for hydrocarbons or minerals, among other things.