Earthquakes & Seismology
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Earthquakes & Seismology




Earthquakes are one of a handful of natural disasters that occur virtually without warning. State-of-the-art seismic prediction methods provide at best only vague probabilities of occurrence, with certainties measured in decades. Yet earthquakes take place every day; a year without a major, devastating quake in some part of the world is both fortunate and rare.

The vast majority of earthquakes are a natural consequence of plate tectonics, a mechanism through which the Earth’s crust has been broken into large plates riding on convection currents within the Earth’s fluid mantle. Tectonic plates, which are created along ocean ridges (sea floor spreading) and sink at their edges (subduction), do not move uniformly in either direction or speed; where they rub at their boundaries, tremendous stress is produced. The sudden release of this stress — the potential energy stored within deformed rock being converted into the kinetic energy of seismic waves — is what we call an earthquake.


Follow links to the right to learn more about earthquakes and seismology. At the left margin, Related Links address topics of interest pertaining to earthquakes, including the hazards presented by earthquakes and associated phenomena — liquefaction, landslides and tsunamis. View the Technology & Science SiteMap for a complete list of our technology and science-related topics.

See Tech, Science & Engineering Jobs and Earth & Space Sciences Jobs if you are seeking a career in seismology or earthquake research.


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