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Earthquakes 101

Apr 28, 2015

Thousands of earthquakes happen across the US each year. The good thing is, almost all of them are too small to feel. Most earthquakes in North America happen west of the Rocky Mountains, but there are still 39 states that are at serious risk for quakes.

Plate Tectonics

Our planet is divided into a three main layers: a solid core, a liquid magma mantle and a crust , which floats on top. That top crust is made up of individual plates, which are kept in constant motion by convection currents in the magma.

Tectonic PlatesTectonic Plates

Types of Plate Boundaries

Earthquakes mostly occur at the boundary where one plates meets another. Plates either converge, collide, diverge or move past each other when they meet. When plates "converge," it means that one plate is slowly pushed beneath the other over the span of several thousand years. Plates that collide push rock layers upward, which creates mountains. When plates move away from each other or "diverge," lava comes up from the mantle and cools to form new sections of crust. Other plates simply move slowly past each other.

Earthquake!

In some places, the plates become locked together. Energy builds up in the locked plates, which is released in the form of an earthquake when the plates finally give. The place where the earthquake originates beneath the surface is called the hypocenter. The point on the surface directly above the hypocenter is called the epicenter - a word you've probably heard many times in the news whenever a major earthquake is reported.

Ride the Waves

An earthquake emits its power as three waves of energy. Primary waves (a.k.a. P-Waves) are felts as a sudden jolt. Secondary waves (a.k.a. S-waves) arrive moments later and are felt as a more ongoing side-to-side shaking. Surface waves arrive after the main P and S waves, and radiate outwards from the epicenter.

Earthquake WavesEarthquake Waves

Recording Zigzags

A seismograph is a machine that records the ground vibrations during a quake. A needle keeps drawing straight lines until the earth trembles, then the lines start to zigzag. The bigger the zigzags, the bigger the quake. The strength of an earthquake is measured by the Richter scale. Based on the seismograph readings, the Richter scale rates a quake using numbers 0-9, nine being the mother of all quakes.

Home-Made SeismographHome-Made Seismograph

Earthquakes: The Richter Scale

  • 1: Generally not felt, except by instruments.
  • 2: Generally not felt, except by instruments.
  • 3: Sometimes felt by people, but no damage.
  • 4: Sometimes felt by people, but no damage.
  • 5: Felt by most people, damage near epicenter (where the plates actually smashed into one another).
  • 6: Damage to buildings within six miles (10 km) of the epicenter.
  • 7: Serious damage to buildings within 60 miles (100 km) of the epicenter. Loss of life.
  • 8: Major earthquake with damage being caused to a huge area. Loss of life over 120 miles (200 km).
  • 9: Very rare. Major damage and loss of life up to 600 miles (1,000 km) away.

The Richter ScaleThe Richter Scale

Are They Predictable?

So far, scientists have yet to develop a reliable way of predicting earthquakes. There are, of course, many factors that they believe lead up to earthquakes, like change in groundwater chemistry, foreshocks (small, insignificant quakes) and strain in underground rocks. Because each quake seems to be caused by a different combination of these factors, it makes it very difficult to make predictions far enough in advance to help people. Seconds before a quake, pets like dogs and cats might get a little freaky, as they seem to be able to feel the trembling well before we do.!

What To Do In An Earthquake

One of the biggest quake dangers is being hit on the head or trapped under something. If you are indoors, stay put. Place something protective on your head and crouch under a table or stand in a doorway. If you are outside, quickly find an open space and stay away from things that will fall on you. After an earthquake, be prepared for aftershocks. Aftershocks follow earthquakes and are usually smaller than the actual quake. They are dangerous because they can cause things that were weakened from the original earthquake to fall down.

Earthquake Preparedness KitEarthquake Preparedness Kit

For more information on earthquakes check out check out www.fema.com.

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Disaster You'd Least Like to Get Caught In?

  • Hurricane.
  • Flash flood.
  • Avalanche.
  • Earthquake.

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rainbowpoptart
rainbowpoptart posted in Random:
Didn't seem all that great to me. Nothing's happened all day. :P A family friend got married under it in Montana, though, which is pretty awesome (assuming it was visible there).
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Springstorm
Springstorm posted in Random:
Just 30 minutes ago, the solar eclipse of 2017 was at its peak. Meanwhile, I was watching from our backyard, flashing my eclipse glasses of and on. It was an  AMAZING  experience! So much so I typed "amazing" with bold, italic, and underlined full caps. Just when it began, I could see that little hole in the sun as the moon's shadow drifted along. When it reached totality, we took turns rapidly putting on the glasses. It was incredible to see the shadows of the trees turning into the shape of a crescent. So, what did you think of the eclipse? Put your thoughts in the comments.  [s:p/zxl]
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Ksaylor6
Ksaylor6 posted in Food:
soooooddddddaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!
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H2CO3
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snoopynwoodstock123
Prologue 0-3: Hello, Sister Despair Awkwardly making steps up to the first group, I decided to introduce myself to the first person in my line of sight- a boy with silvery hair, who appeared quite intimidating to me. "Uh... h-hello." I began, "My name's Misaki Yami. Who are you?" The boy's mysterious poker-face remained unmoving as he introduced himself. "Mitsuru Hirota." He simply said, with nothing more. MITSURU HIROTA SECONDARY FINE ARTIST Mitsuru Hirota, from what I know, is a highly-praised artist prodigy who earns quite a bit from his work. However, he rarely ever gives it up, despite it piquing the attention of multiple museums. In terms of furthering our conversation, he didn't seem to be the talkative type- so I moved on. The next person I noticed was a childish-looking blonde girl with huge blue eyes, grinning cheerily at me as I walked over. I didn't even get a chance to open my mouth as she started talking so quickly. "Hi! My name's Haru Uyeda." She chirped sweetly, "It's nice to meet you!" HARUMI UYEDA SECONDARY BALLERINA A girl like Haru really isn't difficult to know about; she's an exceptional ballerina, and has made it to both national and international performances. Astounding, considering her young age- and how she appears far younger, too. "So! So!" She stood up on her tiptoes to look me in the eye. "Who are you?" "I-I'm Misaki Yami," I smiled nervously. "It's nice to m-meet you too, Haru." A giggle escaped Haru's lips as she skipped away to someone else who called her over, waving. I couldn't help but wave back, feeling slightly bad that we didn't get to talk any more. I moved along to someone else- a boy with dark hair wearing almost all-red. He smiled pretty quickly, and I managed to get out my introduction before he did. "My name's Misaki Yami," I flatly stated. "Who are you?" "Oh! I'm Rin. Rin Okumura," the boy grinned as he ran a hand through his hair. RIN OKUMURA SECONDARY CHEF Rin, much like Ruka, was virtually inescapable in his medium. He's everywhere on cooking channels due to his young age and how well he came to the top of his career. "Uh, hey..." Rin suddenly said, a nervous edge now in his voice. "Did you wake up in a classroom? By yourself?" "Y-yeah. Why do you ask?" I raised an eyebrow. "Ah. That makes all of us, then." He smiled, trying to cover up his nerves, most likely. "Wh-what do you mean, all of us?" I tried not to yell, but I couldn't  help but raise my voice. "No need to get mad! I just..." Rin paused. "Well, everyone else here had the same happen. I'm hoping that this is all a big joke, honestly." I felt a little embarrassed after that, so I just nodded and left without another word. Honestly, this all being a big joke or dream would be great... well, I want to at least have a chance of entering Hope's Peak again, but... something about this made me uneasy. The next person I saw  was a black-haired girl, absentmindedly staring into nothing. She seemed... odd, to say the least, but I couldn't just go ignoring people. I walked over, and hesitated. She seemed completely undistracted by me, so how do I get her attention? I cautiously tapped her shoulder, and the girl snapped out of her daze in a shot. "Oh, sorry." The girl smiled politely. "I wasn't paying attention, huh? I'm Kurimuson, by the way. Kurimuson Amiria Sooyaa... call me Kuri." KURIMUSON AMIRIA SOOYAA SECONDARY CONTEMPORARY DANCER Kuri (her full name very... strange) is known mostly for her work in music videos and other video media as a dancer, and has quite a big following as far as the dance world goes. I was abruptly brought out of my thoughts by Kuri speaking again. "Hmm... what are you occupied about?" She raised an eyebrow, smirking. "Could it be...?" "Could it be what?" I instinctively snapped back, before covering my mouth; that warranted a giggle from the raven-haired girl. "Oh, nothing." She furtively grinned, "You may not understand, but it has something to do with our... predicament." The way Kuri spoke so casually about our situation felt suspicious in some way that I couldn't place. Ignoring her and saying a quick goodbye, I moved on to the fifth person in the group- who was quick to latch onto my hand. Looking up to see a fairly-attractive boy with red hair and a charming smile, I couldn't help but feel flustered. Well, who wouldn't? Quickly brushing him off, I asked him the same monotonous question whilst introducing myself in tedium. "It's nice to meet you, Misaki," the boy smiled comfortingly. "I'm Kaze Takenaka." KAZUKO TAKENAKA SECONDARY PASTRY CHEF Considering his young age, it's ridiculous to say that Kaze is pretty big in the world of baking. His food is of a pretty high standard, and though he doesn't work in big bakeries, he still has a reputable skill. "So, Misaki..." Kaze continued, "Do you... have your phone?" "I should..." I subconsciously felt around in my pocket, and... nothing. Where was it? Was it stolen? Panicking, I instinctively let out a dramatic "It's gone". "Oh, you too?" Kaze looked quite relieved. "I was so worried when I couldn't find mine... I just hope I get it back." "Me too... I really need it." I felt a little more relaxed to find out Kaze didn't have his, too. "Anyway, I should probably go... sorry." Saying a brief goodbye to Kaze, I turned on my heels toward the next person- a rather-pretty girl with long brown hair. "Before you go introducing yourself," the girl practically spat, "I'm not keen on talkative people." My eyes widened. She didn't seem like the nicest person, really, but... she might just be grumpy over what happened, if what Rin said is true. Even still, I didn't want to get on my bad side. "O-okay... I'm Misaki Yami." I felt nerves creep into my voice. "Toneyo Kikuchi. Nice to meet you or whatever." TONEYO KIKUCHI SECONDARY THEATRE ACTRESS Toneyo's name isn't uncommonly-seen on theatre billboards, as she's one of the most popular actresses in the country; she's constantly touring from what I know. Apparently, she might even make it to Broadway or the West End. "Can you stop standing around staring at me?" Toneyo's venomous voice brought me out of my thoughts. "You're getting on my nerves... at least you don't talk much." Deciding that it would be for the best that I leave her alone, I found myself face-to-face with the last person in the group: a girl who looked... odd, to say the least. Her hair in crazy colours and strange fashion sense... was she even human? "Hey, you alive in there?" She joked, "Earth to...?" "Misaki." I abruptly cut her off. "I-I'm Misaki Yami." "Well, nice to meet ya!" The girl grinned. "I'm Lauren Moon. Hope we can get along!" LAUREN MOON SECONDARY MYTHOLOGY RESEARCHER I'm not too big on history stuff, but apparantly Lauren Moon is one of the big names in that crowd. She knows everything there is to know about mythology, whether it's about ancient Greeks or ancient Egyptians. I soon noticed that Lauren was whispering to... herself? No- she was whispering to that pyramid necklace she was wearing. "Uhh... Lauren?" I questioned, "I hope you don't mind me asking, but... why are you talking to... a necklace?" "Necklace?!" Lauren appeared flustered. "This isn't a necklace, this is the Millenium Puzzle! I can communicate with Atem through it." That... sounded strangely familiar. Where had I heard that before? Again, after a few more questions, I moved away from Lauren. Well, that was the first group done... now onto the second. Who will I meet there?
reply about 18 hours