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An earthquake is a shaking or trembling of the crust of the earth caused by underground volcanic action or by the breaking and shifting of rock beneath the surface.

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Introduction

Earthquakes An earthquake is a shaking or trembling of the crust of the earth caused by underground volcanic action or by the breaking and shifting of rock beneath the surface. The volcanic action and shifting rocks create strain which continues to build to a sudden release of pressure resulting in a shock wave. The vibrations produced in the crust can vary from barely noticeable to enormously destructive quakes. Historical Overview: Earthquakes have captured the imagination of people living in earthquake prone regions since ancient times. Ancient Greek philosophers blamed them on fires in the bowels of the earth. Although earthquakes have occurred and affected mankind for as long as humans have been around, historical records have been kept of these tremors since the middle of the 18th century. ...read more.

Middle

Of the three types, tectonic earthquakes are the most devastating and must account for about half of the world's destructive earthquakes. Human Inflicted Sometimes, earthquakes occur as a result of human actions such as when atomic explosives are detonated underground or when new reservoirs are filled. These artificial earthquakes are rare and relatively harmless when compared with the sheer destructive power of earthquakes caused by nature. <Volcanic> Effects of Earthquakes The most common damage and the greater amount of injuries caused by earthquakes is a result of falling objects. Much of the world's population live in densely populated urban areas which make them particularly vulnerable to building collapse and being struck by falling objects. ...read more.

Conclusion

Predicting Earthquakes Earthquake prediction has met with mixed, and normally failed results, however some success has been reported in recent years. Several countries, most notably the United States, China, and Japan, are actively supporting research in this area. In 1975, just two days before a magnitude 7.3 earthquake destroyed the city of Haicheng, the Chinese government evacuated 90,000 residents. The evidence used to support the prediction was a series of foreshocks occurring in the area five years earlier. Other possible clues being investigated are water levels in wells, changes in the earth's magnetic field and the behavior of animals. So far though, no reliable method exists for predicting, when and where an earthquake will occur and how strong it is likely to be. [PR1][PR2][PR3] [PR1R0] [PR2R1] [PR3R2]m ...read more.

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