A shaking of the ground caused by movement in earths crust.

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What is an Earthquake?

An Earthquake is a sudden shaking of the ground caused by movement in the earths crust. (movement of the tectonic plates) Sometimes caused by volcanic action.

How is this a hazard?

This is a hazard to humans because buildings can be damaged by the ground shaking or settling beneath them. This can cause the building to collapse. Buildings collapsing is a problem for obvious reasons.

Regions most at risk

1. Japan - It is sitting on the ring of fire* which is very prone to earthquakes.

2. Nepal - A civilian in Nepal is more likely to be killed by an earthquake than anywhere else.

3. India - The Indian tectonic plate moves at a rate of 47 mm a year.

4. Ecuador - This country has many active volcanoes.

5. Philippines - Lies on the edge of the Pacific Plate, an active zone for earthquakes.

6. Pakistan - Sits on top of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates.

7. El Salvador - Has suffered extreme damage in the past due to earthquakes.

8. Mexico - Placed in one of the most apt places for an earthquake, the Cocos Plate.

9. Turkey - Falls into the tectonic plates between Eurasian, Arabian and African.

10. Indonesia - Vulnerable to not only earthquakes but many other natural disasters.

(Ring of fire - an area on the basin of the Pacific Ocean where many earthquakes and volcanoes occur.)

United States Regions at Risk

Alaska, Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

How is it measured?

Earthquakes ability of destruction is measured by Richters.

Earthquake occurances

San Francisco, California: April 18, 1906 - This was a magnitude 8 earthquake. Happened at 5:12 in the morning. Any brick buildings in the city had collapsed, while most wooden ones stayed intact until the fires that started burning for days after it. The death toll was around 500 people.

Anchorage, Alaska: March 27, 1964 - This was a magnitude 7.5 earthquake. The Pacific Plate slipped under the ocean floor causing large waves to go many feet up and down. A tsunami was caused because of this earthquake. Traveled all over the Pacific Ocean and killed people even on the beach in California.

How to prepare and protect yourself

Preparation: If you live in a highly active area for earthquakes you should have a plan of where you will shelter yourself. Make sure that items that could fall and injure someone are secured. Keep critical supplies stored along with important documents. Find out if the building is earthquake resistant.

Protection: Stay where you are if you are inside until the shaking stops, drop to your hands and knees. Stay away from dangerous objects. Hold onto anything sturdy that you can. If you are in bed, stay there and cover your head and neck with a pillow. If in a car, stop your car somewhere where things will not fall onto you and brace yourself.