Disaster Research Project presented by: Matthew Huey

My disaster project is on earthquakes.

Earthquakes are among our planets most destructive natural forces that causes devastating damage to various types of populated and unpopulated regions.

How do earthquakes happen and the science behind them.

Earthquakes occur when tectonic plates, that form the earth's surface, have built up large amounts of energy and begin to move over, under, and past each other causing the earth to shake. A large amount of earthquakes happen in remote areas and are too small and far enough away that we do not feel them, however the U.S Geological Survey stated that an estimated 1.3 million earthquakes, measuring a 2.0 magnitude, occur each year. These earthquakes are powerful to which we can feel the vibrations. In the 1800's scientists developed an instrument called the seismograph to measure the strength of an earthquake. They hope in the future, by collecting seismic data, they will be able to predict when an earthquake will happen.

Regions to which earthquakes happen

The 5 deadliest earthquakes in recent history.

An earthquake can happen anywhere, however here is a list of some of the worst earthquakes recorded.

  1. Haiti: Jan. 12, 2010; 7-magnitude; 316,000 people killed
  2. Tangshan, China: July 27, 1976; 7.5-magnitude; 255,000 people killed
  3. Sumatra, Indonesia: Dec. 26, 2004; 9.1-magnitude; 227,898 people killed
  4. Eastern Sichuan, China: May 12, 2008; 7.9-magnitude; 87,587 people killed
  5. Pakistan: Oct. 8, 2005; 7.6-magnitude; 80,361 people killed
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Effects and impacts of earthquakes

As you know, earthquakes can cause mass destruction of buildings, homes, roads, and highways, but they can also cause other natural disasters such as tsunamis (large waves caused by earthquakes in the ocean), avalanches and landslides. There is no determined amount of time it takes to completely recover from the destruction of an earthquake. It is documented that earthquakes, depending on the magnitude can level an entire city.

Be prepard. Tips on what to do before, during and after an earthquake

There is no real way to predict an earthquake. As discussed earlier, scientists are working on being able to provide information on when an earthquake will occur, however you can use the following tips to be ready for this type of natural disaster and what to plan for once the event has ended.

1. Build and emergency kit with things like first aid supplies, flashlights, batteries, and water.

2. Make a family communication plan, and practice earthquake drills often.

3. During an earthquake, take shelter under something sturdy, to be protected from falling objects and debris. Hold on to something and stay inside until the shaking stops. Remember there are always aftershocks from an earthquake that can cause more structures to collapse.

4. After, provide first aid where appropriate. Do not move any seriously injured people as this can further complicate any injuries they may have.

5. Wait for the all clear to return to your home. Be careful opening cabinets, as things may call from them.

For more tips and emergency information visit

Fun Facts

1. A city in Chile moved 10 feet in the massive 8.8 magnitude earthquake Feb. 27, 2010

2. The moon has earthquakes. They are less powerful and not as frequent as the ones here on earth. Shouldn't they be called moonquakes?

3. Extracting oil from the earth can cause minor earthquakes.

4. An earthquake from side of the earth can shake the other side.

5. San Francisco moves towards Los Angeles at the rate of about 2 inches a year.