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Earthquake 12

  • Date Submitted: 05/29/2011 11:20 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 55.1 
  • Words: 314
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Earthquake, shaking of the Earth’s surface caused by rapid movement of the Earth’s rocky outer layer. Earthquakes occur when energy stored within the Earth, usually in the form of strain in rocks, suddenly releases. This energy is transmitted to the surface of the Earth by earthquake waves. The study of earthquakes and the waves they create is called seismology (from the Greek seismos, “to shake”). Scientists who study earthquakes are called seismologists.
The destruction an earthquake causes depends on its magnitude and duration, or the amount of shaking that occurs. A structure’s design and the materials used in its construction also affect the amount of damage the structure incurs. Earthquakes vary from small, imperceptible shaking to large shocks felt over thousands of kilometers. Earthquakes can deform the ground, make buildings and other structures collapse, and create tsunamis (large sea waves). Lives may be lost in the resulting destruction.
Earthquakes, or seismic tremors, occur at a rate of several hundred per day around the world. A worldwide network of seismographs (machines that record movements of the Earth) detects about 1 million small earthquakes per year. Very large earthquakes, such as the 1964 Alaskan earthquake, which caused millions of dollars in damage, occur worldwide once every few years. Moderate earthquakes, such as the 1989 tremor in Loma Prieta, California, and the 1995 tremor in Kōbe, Japan, occur about 20 times a year. Moderate earthquakes also cause millions of dollars in damage and can harm many people.
In the last 500 years, several million people have been killed by earthquakes around the world, including over 240,000 in the 1976 T’ang-Shan, China, earthquake. Worldwide, earthquakes have also caused severe property and structural damage. Adequate precautions, such as education, emergency planning, and constructing stronger, more flexible, safely designed structures, can limit the loss of life and decrease the damage caused by...

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