The Science of Earthquakes

Objective

To understand different types and causes of earthquakes.

Difficulty

Procedure: Medium

Concept: Medium

Concept

An earthquake is a natural disaster that shows the unfriendly forces of nature. It is quite it is a glamorous doing of the nature too. The earth shaking its gigantic shell is definitely incredible phenomena. However it isn’t too surprising if you know little bit about what is beneath.

Earth is made up of layers, and we live on top of the solid outer most layer. However 22 miles below is another layer called mantle which is very viscous. Mantle is like lava. It is composed of earth’s elements in a very hot soup. Surprisingly 70% of earth’s volume is consisted of mantle. Below mantle is earth’s core.

So it is not so surprising considering we are think lay of crust floating on top of a hot soup. Most of the continent is stable but some are not. How do we tell? It shows up as faults, volcano and other geological signs and these are prone to earth quakes than other areas.

So are all the earthquakes deadly? The answer is no. Some are benign and some cause the ground to split or cause Tsunami. How do we tell the difference? The difference lies on the mode of transportation. Depending on how the shock wave travels it is called p or s wave. You can imagine shaking up and down may cause more trouble than shaking horizontally.

Obviously we can’t dig 22 miles to directly observe the inner structure of earth. So scientists are often forced to use indirect measurement and study of geological conditions we can observe. With this they can even make a prediction when the next earthquake will be!

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References