Earthquakes occur throughout the world but the vast majority of them develop along narrow belts. These belts are tens to thousands of kilometres long and mark the boundaries on the Earth's surface. The belts are considered very active geological wise. Earthquakes occur when rocks rupture under the pressure created by continuos movement and collision of thin jigsaw-like tectonic plates found under the Earth's surface.

Seismic waves(vibrations) are then created and proceed outwards in all directions at up to 14 kilometres per second. The fastest waves would only take up to 20 minutes to reach the other side of the Earth. The focus point is the section of Earth directly above the earthquake – also known as the epicentre. The focus point can be as deep as 700 kilometres deep. Faulting causes a release of energy because stored up stress is unexpectedly transformed to motion causing an earthquake. The waves disfigure the rocks they pass through but once the waves have long gone the rocks return to their original shape. Earthquakes are most common along plate boundaries which is where the tectonic plates meet. Large earthquakes usually occur when two tectonic plates crash. About 80% of recorded earthquakes have developed at the circum-Pacific Seismic Belt which is the zone surrounding the Pacific Ocean and is characterised by frequent and strong earthquakes. It is also known as 'The Ring of Fire.' No part of the Earth is safe from earthquakes. Depending on the vibrations being carried reflects the arrival of seismic waves. There are three types of waves: primary, secondary and surface. Primary waves arrive first and distort the rocks by changing their volume. This is quickly done by expanding and then compressing them. Secondary waves are received next and disfigure the rocks by modifying their shape. Surface waves are received last but instead of passing through the Earth, they travel around. The epicentre is then established by comparing the arrival time of the P an S waves, this is done on a seismograph. The larger the time differences the further the seismogram is from the epicentre. Earthquakes are measured on the Richter Scale. This scale divides the size into categories called magnitudes. The larger the number on the scale the more damage the earthquake will cause.

The size of an earthquake is measured by comparing the maximum heights of the seismic plates recorded at a distance of 100km from the epicentre. Predicting earthquakes is based on the lowering in grounwater levels, radon gas emission and changes in animal behaviour. Also tilts and buldge in the Earth's surface and a change in the speed of P and S waves. The outcomes of earthquakes extend more significantly than the damage caused and the horror placed on the population. Society has come up with numerous methods to guard against the damage that is probable throughout earthquakes. Warning systems Research and Advances in the engineering have done an incredible job in giving resources essential to surviving during earthquakes. The way that people perceive earthquakes has a great influence on the precautionary measures that can be taken to decrease the contingency of injury, property damage and loss of life. Many people are in denial about the importance of the precautions shown therefore some of the damage that would be caused could be prevented. There are federal warnings that there could be a possible earthquake which seems like a reasonable way to protect against the affects of the disaster. This warning system could have a great impact on the economy though. Economic affects include adverse changes especially in the area where it happened. These changes include mortgage availability, property value, investment patterns and employment opportunities. The town at where the earthquake took place would notice a reduction in tax revenues for the local government which would then lead to a reduction in public services. Emotional affects include psychological affects on everyone involved in the earthquake and also of those involved. More girls than boys are affected by earthquakes. This is said to be because girls express their feelings more easily. The major earthquake that I chose was the San Francisco. San Francisco lies along the San Andreas Fault which is 32 kilometres deep and is the length of California in the United States. The San Francisco earthquake started at 5:12 a.m. On the 18th of April 1906. Towering office blocks swayed, masonry crashed to the ground and windows shattered. In hotels and homes people were thrown from their beds. Buildings and bridges collapsed, tramlines like strips of licorice, water, gas mains burst and fires spread. The aftermath 8km2 of offices, shops and houses were flattened and charred.

The death toll is not exactly know but was estimated at 700 and approximately 250, 000 people were left homeless. The damage from the earthquake and fire following was assessed at 400 million. The fire started 2 minutes after the earthquake and lasted for three days and caused more havoc than the actual earthquake. This was classed as a minor earthquake compared to others. Imagine the extent of the damage caused by larger earthquakes. Earthquake is a natural disaster that causes lots of damage and loss of lives. Earthquakes are result of the sudden release of earth’s energy stored in earth’s crust. Earthquakes are also called quakes, tremor, or seismic activity and result in the creation of seismic waves. It is measured by Richter scale; the earthquake with magnitude of 3 is harmless whereas a quake with magnitude 7 or more is harmful and causes serious damage over a large place. Earthquakes can not be predicted but the damages caused by it can be prevented by adopting some preventive measures.

The point where earthquake start is called focus and the point just above the focus on earth surface is called epicenter. The earth is made of many tectonic plates which are continuously moving inside the earth surface when these plates brush against each other they cause earthquake. Most earthquakes occur at the edges of these plates therefore the area which is located at these edges is likely to face more earthquake. Japan is one such country that is located on earthquake belt and thus there are numerous earthquakes that take place over there. The earth inner layers are full of molten lava which can also trigger earthquake. The movement of molten rocks or magma results in waves that causes trembling of earth surface. An earthquake which occurs due to movement of molten lava can work as warning against volcanic eruption. The earth crust move to and fro to release its energy created due to intense pressure inside the earth crust. On earth surface the earthquake is felt as shaking and trembling. The main effects of earthquake are listed below: Shaking and ground rapture: When earthquake occur the first impact is shaking of the earth’s surface it can be felt for small earthquake also but it does not result in any kind of disaster. But when the earthquake is of higher magnitude then the shaking is do intense that it results in the collapsing of buildings. The area near epicenter is likely to face more disaster than other areas near by it. Also the destruction depends on geological, geomorphological and geostructural feature. Area with soft soil is more prone to excessive destruction than with hard soil. Ground rapture is the visible faults on the surface of earth sometimes these faults can be so large that it can become serious problem for constructions like dams. They can be several meter large.

Landslides: Earthquake when occur at high altitudes can shake slopes can result in instability and thus result in land slides. It becomes a serious problem as roads are blocked due to this and it gets difficult to provide relief to the earthquake victims. Also it results in greater destruction. Avalanches: It also occur at high altitudes and at the mountains that are covered with snow the instability of the earth surface and trembling makes the snow roll down the slope with great speed. It makes impossible to provide relief to the victims. Fires: The earthquakes result in the rupture of gas or petrol pipes thus fire spread and becomes a serious problem as it gets impossible to control such fire. For example in San Francisco earthquake more lives were lost due to fire than due to earthquake. Soil liquefactions: This results due to sand losing its strength and converting to liquid. This causes buildings and man made structures to sink in and ultimately collapsing upon themselves. Tsunami: Tsunami is a Japanese word meaning long sea waves. Tsunami occurs with earthquake more than 7.2 and it results in rushing of sea water at very great speed in the coastal area. Tsunami waves can be as high as 100 meter and can travel 600 to 700 km in 1 hour. All the coastal area gets logged with water and then results in birth of various diseases. Floods: If dams are damages due to earthquake it can result in floods that is flowing of water from water source to land it results in diseases and shortage of potable water. Due to earthquake and its effects lot of destruction occurs it results in loss of lives, collapsing of buildings and loss of crops. Earthquakes can be stop but its effects can be reduced by taking some preventive measures. Scientists are working to predict earthquake, engineers have designed buildings that can stand a high magnitude earthquake. People are made aware of what to do can they feel shaking of earth. The foremost thing for us is to turn of any source of fire and reach out for open place. Earth quake is a very natural disaster and you might be asked by your instructor to write an earthquake essay or earthquake term paper. If you have any difficulty in writing any earthquake paper then you can ask writers of to write a custom essay for you.

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Earthquakes have plagued our lives for as long as people have inhabited the earth. These dangerous acts of the earth have been the cause of many deaths in the past century. So what can be done about these violent eruptions that take place nearly with out warning? Predicting an earthquake until now has almost been technologically impossible. With improvements in technology, lives have been saved and many more will. All that remains is to research what takes place before, during, and after an earthquake. This has been done for years to the point now that a successful earthquake prediction was made and was accurate. This paper will discuss a little about earthquakes in general and then about how predictions are made. Earthquake, “vibrations produced in the earth's crust when rocks in which elastic strain has been building up suddenly rupture, and then rebound.”(Associated Press 1993) The vibrations can range from barely noticeable to catastrophically destructive. Six kinds of shock waves are generated in the process. Two are classified as body waves-that is, they travel through the earth's interior-and the other four are surface waves. The waves are further differentiated by the kinds of motions they impart to rock particles. Primary or compressional waves (P waves) send particles oscillating back and forth in the same direction as the waves are traveling, whereas secondary or transverse shear waves (S waves) impart vibrations perpendicular to their direction of travel. P waves always travel at higher velocities than S waves, so whenever an earthquake occurs, P waves are the first to arrive and to be recorded at geophysical research stations worldwide.(Associated Press 1993) Earthquake waves were observed in this and other ways for centuries, but more scientific theories as to the causes of quakes were not proposed until modern times. One such concept was advanced in 1859 by the Irish engineer Robert Mallet. Perhaps drawing on his knowledge of the strength and behavior of construction materials subjected to strain, Mallet proposed that earthquakes occurred “either by sudden flexure and constraint of the elastic materials forming a portion of the earth's crust or by their giving way and becoming fractured.”(Butler 1995) Later, in the 1870s, the English geologist John Milne devised a forerunner of today's earthquake-recording device, or seismograph. A simple pendulum and needle suspended above a smoked-glass plate, it was the first instrument to allow discrimination of primary and secondary earthquake waves. The modern seismograph was invented in the early 20th century by the Russian seismologist Prince Boris Golitzyn. “His device”, using a magnetic pendulum suspended between the poles of an electromagnet, “ushered in the modern era of earthquake research.” (Nagorka 1989) “The ultimate cause of tectonic quakes is stresses set up by movements of the dozen or so major and minor plates that make up the earth's crust.”(Monastersky Oct, 95) Most tectonic quakes occur at the boundaries of these plates, in zones where one plate slides past another-as at the San Andreas Fault in California, North America's most quake-prone area-or is subducted (slides beneath the other plate). “Subduction-zone quakes account for nearly half of the world's destructive seismic events and 75 percent of the earth's seismic energy. They are concentrated along the so-called Ring of Fire, a narrow band about 38,600 km

(about 24,000 mi) long, that coincides with the margins of the Pacific Ocean. The points at which crustal rupture occurs in such quakes tend to be far below the earth's surface, at depths of up to 645 km (400 mi).” (Monastersky Dec, 95) Alaska's disastrous Good Friday earthquake of 1964 is an example of such an event. Seismologists have devised two scales of measurement to enable them to describe earthquakes quantitatively. “One is the Richter scale-named after the American seismologist Charles Francis Richter-which measures the energy released at the focus of a quake. It is a logarithmic scale that runs from 1 to 9; a magnitude 7 quake is 10 times more powerful than a magnitude 6 quake, 100 times more powerful than a magnitude 5 quake, 1000 times more powerful than a magnitude 4 quake, and so on.”(Associated Press 1992) The other scale, introduced at the turn of the 20th century by the Italian seismologist Giuseppe Mercalli, “measures the intensity of shaking with gradations from I to XII.” (Associated Press 1992) Because seismic surface effects diminish with distance from the focus of the quake, the Mercalli rating assigned to the quake depends on the site of the measurement. “Intensity I on this scale is defined as an event felt by very few people, whereas intensity XII is assigned to a catastrophic event that causes total destruction. Events of intensities II to III are roughly equivalent to quakes of magnitude 3 to 4 on the Richter scale, and XI to XII on the Mercalli scale can be correlated with magnitudes 8 to 9 on the Richter scale.”( Associated Press 1992) Attempts at predicting when and where earthquakes will occur have met with some success in recent years. At present, China, Japan, Russia, and the U.S. are the countries most actively supporting such research. “In 1975 the Chinese predicted the magnitude 7.3 quake at Haicheng, evacuating 90,000 residents only two days before the quake destroyed or damaged 90 percent of the city's buildings. One of the clues that led to this prediction was a chain of low-magnitude tremors, called foreshocks, that had begun about five years earlier in the area.” (Day 1988) Other potential clues being investigated are tilting or bulging of the land surface and changes in the earth's magnetic field, in the water levels of wells, and even in animal behavior. A new method under study in the U.S. involves measuring the buildup of stress in the crust of the earth. “On the basis of such measurements the U.S. Geological Survey, in April 1985, predicted that an earthquake of magnitude 5.5 to 6 would occur on the San Andreas fault, near Parkfield, California, sometime before 1993.”(Day 1988) Many unofficial predictions of earthquakes have also been made. In 1990 a zoologist, Dr. Iben Browning, warned that a major quake would occur along the New Madrid fault before the end of the year. Like most predictions of this type, it proved to be wrong. “Groundwater has also played an important part in earthquake predictions. A peak in radon in the groundwater at Kobe, Japan 9 days before the 7.2 earthquake cause quite a stir. Radon levels peaked 9 days before the quake, then fell below the normal levels 5 days before it hit.”(Monastersky July, 95) In North America, the series of earthquakes that struck southeastern Missouri in 1811-12 were probably the most powerful experienced in the United States in historical time. The most famous U.S. earthquake, however, was the one that shook the San Francisco area in 1906, causing extensive damage and taking about 700 lives.(Nagorka 1989) The whole idea behind earthquake predicting is to save lives. With the improvement in technology, lives have been saved. New ideas and

equipment is starting to prove to be very helpful in predicting were and when an earthquake will strike. The time and research put into earthquake predicting has already started to pay off. It is only a matter of time before earthquakes will no longer be a threat to us.