The Daily Earth

Volume 2, Earthquake Edition

What is an Earthquake?

Earthquakes are one form of natural disasters that can happen on planet Earth. Like the name suggests, earthquakes are when there is a sudden shaking of the ground. Every year, there are millions of earthquakes, but most of them are undetected. However, earthquakes can be very deadly. Many deadly earthquakes have occurred in the past, resulting in a lot of deaths and a lot of damages. Find out more information about earthquakes and learn some fun facts in this special Earthquake edition of The Daily Earth.

How Do Earthquakes Happen?

On Earth's surface, there are about twenty tectonic plates that are always moving slowly past each other. Sometimes, these plates squeeze or stretch, which causes huge rocks to form at their edge. The rocks do not move and instead, push against each other. After a while, the rocks break because of all the pressure. When the rocks break, the earthquake happens.

How are Earthquakes Measured?

Earthquakes are measured by the Richter Scale. The Richter Scale was invented by Charles F. Richter. In the Richter Scale, the information recorded on a seismograph is converted into fractions, decimals, whole numbers. For example if the earthquake wasn't really strong but you could still feel the vibrations on the ground it might be measured in the 4.0's. The information on the seismograph also shows the magnitude of an earthquake. Unfortunately most scales such as the Richter Scale don't show accurate estimates for large earthquakes. People still use the Richter Scale today and they try to get the closest results to the right answer. The highest magnitude the Richter Scale has ever measured was 9.5.

Ring of Fire

Surrounding the Pacific Ocean is a 25,000 mile zone known as the "Ring of Fire". The Ring of Fire is made up of mountains, volcanoes, and ocean trenches that starts at New Zealand and passes through east Asia, the Aleutian islands in Alaska and stops at the western coasts of North and South America. This horse-shaped area has very high levels of earthquake activity, and is called the "Ring of Fire" because of the 452 active and dormant volcanoes that are in this area. About 90 % of the world's earthquakes are in the Ring of Fire, and it causes almost 50,000 earthquakes a year.

Top 5 Deadliest Earthquakes since 1900's

  1. Haiti. On January 12, 2010, an earthquake with a 7.0 magnitude hit Haiti, resulting in 316,000 deaths.
  2. Tangshen, China. On July 27, 1976, an earthquake with a 7.5 magnitude hit Tangshen, China, resulting in 242,769 deaths.
  3. Sumatra, Indonesia. On December 26, 2004, an earthquake with a 9.1 magnitude hit Sumatra, Indonesia, resulting in 227,898 deaths.
  4. Haiyuan, Ningxia, China.On December 16, 1920, an earthquake with a 7.8 magnitude hit Haiyuan, China resulting in 200,000 deaths.
  5. Kanto, Japan. On August 1, 1920 an earthquake with a 7.9 magnitude hit Kanto, Japan, resulting in 142,800 deaths.

Ways You Can Be Prepared and Prevent Damage from Earthquakes

Although you can't prevent earthquakes from happening, there are many ways you can be prepared so that you are safe if an earthquake does hit you. One way you can be prepared for earthquakes is to have an emergency plan set in place for you and your family. You should have a safe place in your house to go to that does not have any fragile objects or anything that can fall and hurt you. Another way to be prepared is to have a first aid kit handy, in case you or someone in your family gets injured. You should also have canned food and water ready. Some new buildings are earthquake proof, because they have a strong structure to keep the foundation sturdy. If you own a home, you should bolt or place sandbags around your house, so that it can withstand the force of an earthquake.

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Adam Ali

Class 4-406

Project Earth