- Natural events such as volcanic eruptions and meteor impacts can cause earthquakes, but the majority of naturally-occurring earthquakes are triggered by movement of the earth’s plates.
- Scientists use the different speeds of seismic waves to locate the epicentre (the point on the surface directly above where the earthquake originated) of earthquakes.
- The most powerful earthquake ever recorded on Earth was in Valdivia, Chile. Occurring in 1960, it had a magnitude of 9.5.
- Each year the southern California area has about 10,000 earthquakes; the majority of which go unnoticed. If there is a large earthquake, however, the aftershock sequence will produce many more earthquakes of all magnitudes for months.
- The damage caused by earthquakes also depends on their depth and fault type.
- The earthquake that hit the Tohoku region of Japan on March 11, 2011, had a magnitude of 9.0 and killed over 15000 people.
- The magnitude of an earthquake is a measured value of the earthquake size.
- The swimming pool at the University of Arizona in Tucson lost water from sloshing (seiche) caused by the 1985 M8.1 Michoacan, Mexico earthquake 2000 km (1240 miles) away.
- Most earthquakes occur at depths of less than 80 km (50 miles) from the Earth’s surface.
- Alaska is the most earthquake-prone state and one of the most seismically active regions in the world, experiencing a magnitude 7.0 earthquake almost every year, and a magnitude 8.0 or greater earthquake approximately once every 14 years.
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