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What is an earthquake?
An earthquake is what happens when two blocks of the earth
suddenly slip past one another. The location below the
earths surface is called the hypocenter, and the location
directly above it on the surface of the earth is called the
epicenter. Scientists cant tell that an earthquake is a
foreshock until the larger earthquake happens. The largest,
main earthquake is called the mainshock. Aftershocks are
smaller earthquakes that occur afterwards in the same place
& can continue for weeks, months, and even years.

Image from http://soskits.com

Why does the earth shake?

While the edges of faults are stuck together,
the rest of the block is moving, energy that
would normally cause the blocks to slide past
one another is being stored up. When the
force of the moving blocks finally overcomes
the friction of the edges of the fault, it
unsticks, all that stored up energy is released.
The energy radiates outward from the fault in
all directions in the form of seismic waves like
ripples on a pond. The seismic waves shake
the earth as they move through it, and when
the waves reach the earths surface, they
shake the ground and anything on it, like our
houses and us!

How are earthquakes recorded?

Earthquakes are recorded by instruments called
seismographs. The recording is called a seismogram. The
seismograph has a base that sets firmly in the ground, and a
heavy weight that hangs free. When an earthquake causes the
ground to shake, the base of the seismograph shakes too, but
the hanging weight does not. Instead the spring or string that it
is hanging from absorbs all the movement. The difference in
position between the shaking part of the seismograph and the
motionless part is what is recorded.

How can you prepare for

an earthquake?
An earthquake can happen
at any moment therefore you
and your family should be
prepared. It is imperative to
have a communication plan
developed. In case your
family is separated you
should have a place to meet
and an emergency contact
preferably a relative from out
of state. It is also important
to have an earthquake kit
prepared with items like
food, water, clothes, first aid
kit, battery operated radio
just to name a few items. For
more information on how to
prepare your home, and
your family including your
pets you can visit

Safe areas during an earthquake? Due to their unpredictability you

never know where you might be when the next earthquake will hit. It
is important to remember to drop, cover and hold on. The best area to
take cover is under a strong table or desk in order to protect you head
and neck. If by chance you are in an area that is prone to tsunamis it
is important to evacuate immediately and if you are at the beach
immediately move to higher ground.

Can scientist predict an

Different studies have been
conducted in order to try and
discover ways to predict
when an earthquake will
occur. Some of the studies
that have been conducted
include measuring radon
emissions or variations in
electromagnetic fields. Some
have even hypothesized that
the behavior of animals prior
to an earthquake could also
be a potential precursor to
an earthquake.
Unfortunately no concrete
way to predict an
earthquake has been
developed, consequently;
earthquakes remain
unpredictable and it is
important to always be

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