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Perhaps the Earthquake is the most fearful natural phenomenon in the human life.

It is more so, because it is unpredictable and arrives without notice or without announcing it's vigor and strength. Scientists are constantly in search of this unknown. The major events of the earthquakes from the human viewpoint are realized on review of some major catastrophes. Minute observations and records at least have been able to pin point the focus or the epicenter of these earthquakes in the historical past. These studies could reveal two great seismic belts in the entire globe. What Is An Earthquake? Apparently the answer is simple - numerous tremors, both powerful and weak are the results of disturbances within the body of the earth itself logically are called Earthquake.

What Causes An Earthquake ?

An Earthquake is a sudden tremor or movement of the earth's crust, which originates naturally at or below the surface. The word natural is important here, since it excludes shock waves caused by French nuclear tests, man made explosions and landslides caused by building work. There are two main causes of earthquakes. Firstly, they can be linked to explosive volcanic eruptions; they are in fact very common in areas of volcanic activity where they either proceed or accompany eruptions. Secondly, they can be triggered by Tectonic activity associated with plate margins and faults. The majority of earthquakes world wide are of this type. Terminology An earthquake can be likened to the effect observed when a stone is thrown into water. After the stone hits the water a series of conc entric waves will move outwards from the center. The same events occur in an earthquake. There is a sudden movement within the crust or mantle, and concentric shock waves move out from that point. Geologists and Geographers call the origin of the earthquak e the focus. Since this is often deep below the surface and difficult to map, the location of the earthquake is often referred to as the point on the Earth surface directly above the focus. This point is called the epicentre . The strength, or magnitude, of the shockwaves determines the extent of the damage caused. Two main scales exist for defining the strength, the Mercalli Scale and the Richter Scale. Earthquakes are three dimensional events, the waves move outwards from the focus, but can travel in both the horizontal and vertical plains. This produces three different types of waves which have their own distinct characteristics and can only move through certain layers within the Earth. Lets take a look at these three forms o f shock waves.
When the earth shakes due to the movements of plates below the earths crust it is known as Earthquake. Earthquakes are natural disasters, which kill thousands of people in an instant and can destroy cities and countries- human habitation across miles. The vibration during an earthquake has

the potential to wreak havoc and destruction, which is beyond imagination. The destruction is the maximum near the epicenter, the place from where the vibrations arise and spread. Of late there have been many such natural disasters, which can be associated with earthquakes like the Tsunami that hit the shores of India, Thailand and razed down buildings and annihilated many lives. It seemed like Mother Nature was avenging herself on us who have used all her endowments to the fullest extent without caring to rejuvenate them. Here we would try to find out the causes of earthquakes so that we can all contribute to the prevention of such things in our own small ways. Individual awareness would definitely lead to mass awareness. Causes of earthquakes If seen broadly we can say that earthquakes are caused due to two major reasons. The first reason is the eruption of volcanoes, which are sudden, and as is known volcanoes are seat of inner disturbance and can effect the plates which is the second cause of earthquakes. Earthquakes are caused due to disturbance in the movement of plates, which again can be caused due to various reasons like under crust waves or cracks in the plates. Effects

Earthquakes produce various damaging effects to the areas they act upon. This includes damage to buildings and in worst cases the loss of human life. The effects of the rumbling produced by earthquakes usually leads to the destruction of structures such as buildings, bridges, and dams. They can also trigger landslides. An example of how an earthquake can lead to even more destruction is the 1959 earthquake near Hebgen, Montana. It caused a land slide that killed several people and blocked the Madison River. Due to the fact that the Madison River was blocked, a lake was

created which later flooded the nearby town of Ennis.

Besides producing floods and destroying buildings, earthquakes that take place under the ocean can sometimes cause tsunamis, or tidal waves. Tsunamis are high and long walls of water which travel at a very rapid rate. They are notorious for destroying entire populations and cities near coastlines. In 1896 Sanriku, Japan, with a population of 20,000, suffered such a fate.