When we look out for most destructive and unpredictable natural disasters, earthquake tops the list with a record of more than million innocent lives to its name. Earthquakes cause tremendous destruction not only in areas where they are centered but nearby areas as well. Effects of earthquakes are far more devastating than what one can presume. Earthquakes are one of the most dreaded natural disasters which can affect the earth without any warning. There can be many questions related to this natural monster like the cause behind it, facts about earthquakes and history associated with it.
What Causes Earthquake
The main reason behind earthquakes is the moment of tectonic plates under the earth’s crust. Tectonic plates are floating on the molten magma beneath the earth’s crust. These tectonic plates are gigantic land masses which are constantly in a moving motion, but at a very slow rate. When these plates move to a same direction, they result in a clash, which is observed as earthquake on the earth’s crust. The place under the earth’s crust where the plates clash is the center of the earthquake and is called as the hypocenter. The place on the earth crust which is above the hypocenter is called as epicenter. This is the area where the maximum destruction is caused. Other common reason for earthquakes is the volcanic eruptions. Volcanic eruptions are caused when the molten magma under the earth’s crust is under enormous pressure and it looks for an opening and exerts pressure on the weaker part of the crust to release that pressure. This release results in a massive explosion which in turn results in an earthquake of a high magnitude.
Here in this article we have mentioned some interesting facts about earthquake which will enhance your knowledge about this natural destructive force.
A City In Chile Moved 10 Feet
Believe it or not, but Maule a place in the South American country Chile drifted about 10 feet from its actual position. The magnitude of this horrific earthquake was measured about 8.8 on the Richter scale. This makes it the fifth largest ever recorded earthquake reading. The image below represents the relative direction and magnitude of the ground movement in the vicinity of the quake. The reason behind this earthquake was an oceanic plate colliding with a continental plate and was being pushed into the Earth’s molten mantle below.
About 500000 Earthquakes a Year
According to the recent surveys done all across the world, reports suggest that there are near about 500000 earthquakes every year. Most of them are micro earthquakes which have a value of less than 2 on the Richter scale. The maximum amount of earthquakes range from 3 to 4 on Richter scale which are regarded as very light earthquakes that are often felt, but rarely causes damage. Around 100 earthquakes range 6 to 7 on Richter scale which are considered as strong earthquakes and can be destructive in areas up to 160 kilometers. The most destructive earthquakes range from 8 to 9 on Richter scale and are very rare, but can cause serious damage in areas several hundred miles across.
March Is Not Earthquake Month
Stats show that there are minimum numbers of earthquake recorded in the month of March. However, the largest earthquake ever recorded was on March 28, 1964, Prince William Sound, Alaska, which had a magnitude of 9.2 and killed 125 people, causing $311 million in property damages. If you look out for more earthquake history you will find that the next three earthquakes in U.S. occurred in February, November, and December. The month of February is considered to be the month of earthquake and even is celebrated as the earthquake awareness month.
Earth’s Bulge Was Trimmed
One of the largest earthquakes was recorded on December 26th, 2004 in the Indian Ocean. The earthquake was so destructive that it had effects in the countries of Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Sri Lanka and India. This earthquake was recorded of magnitude 9 on the Richter scale which almost certainly altered the shape of the earth. This major shift in the earth’s plates was affective enough to shorten the day by fractions of a second.
The Pacific Ring of Fire
The Pacific Ring of Fire is a ring of volcanoes around the Pacific Ocean. The Ring of Fire contains 452 volcanoes and is home to over 75 percent of the world’s active and dormant volcanoes. This fact makes it the most earthquake prone area where 90 percent of the world’s earthquakes and 81 percent of the world’s largest earthquakes happen. The ring complies of countries like Japan, Philippines, Tonga, Bougainville, Sumatra, Bali, Java, Flores, Timor, New Zealand, Haida Gwaii, British Columbia and Canada.
The Deadliest Earthquake Ever
Earthquakes cause more deaths than any other natural calamity. The earthquake on January 23, 1553 had a magnitude of 8 and resulted in the death toll of about 830,000 people. This earthquake was located in Shansi, China and the damaged area was up to 270 miles away. The second deadliest earthquake was also located in Tangshan, China on July 27, 1976 where the dead toll was estimated around 655,000. The tsunami in Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004 had a magnitude of 9.1 on Richter scale and lead to 227,898 deaths.
Earthquakes Kill Approximately 8000 People Each Year
According to the earthquake surveys, there are almost 8000 deaths due to earthquake every year. If the records are searched back around four thousand years, the death toll rises up to thirteen million, causing more deaths than any other natural disaster. As a matter of fact the death rate in earthquakes has significantly doubled in last 300 years.
The Indian Ocean Earthquake
The tsunami in the Indian Ocean that took place on December 26, 2004 was an undersea mega thrust earthquake. The earthquake is known by the scientific community as the Sumatra–Andaman earthquake. The earthquake was caused when the Indian tectonic plate clashed with Burma tectonic plate, resulting in a series of devastating tsunamis in the Indian Ocean. The earthquake had a magnitude of 9.1 and had duration of 10 minutes. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history with Indonesia was the hardest-hit country, followed by Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand.