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To: USGS Earthquake Hazards Program (EHP)

From: Shiv Parekh

Subject: Earthquakes
Date: July 31, 2019

Millions of people around the world are affected by earthquakes. Large or small the earthquakes
are shaking and shifting the ground beneath us. Shaking of the ground happens when two
tectonic plates rub or push against each other sending vibrations throughout the upper layer of
the earth. If the tectonic plates push towards each other it can push upwards and form a mountain
overtime. When the plates push downward it can form a deep valley. The damages would be
unimaginable if the plates were to push upward or downward under a major city. The location of
an earthquake can have different effects. If there is an earthquake in a mountainous region it can
lead to landslides, when it occurs in the ocean it can lead to a tsunami. The shifting and shaking
is changing the environment and the way humans live day to day.

Minor shifts and shaking in the earth can overtime compromise the structural integrity of homes,
buildings, bridges, and even dams. Large shifts and shaking can lead to very catastrophic things
such as collapsing buildings, fires, explosions, and toxic chemicals leaking into the water.
Shaking causes the most injuries to people when items in a household are not secured properly.
If a person is not in a safe place they can be hit by shattered glass from the windows, falling
objects from shelves or counter tops, and even larger objects like the refrigerator falling and
getting crushed. Another problem shaking causes is that it can disrupt entire ecosystems that
have many different types of animals, trees, and plants. If an ecosystem gets damaged from
falling trees or from chemicals spilled it can take a really long time for it to repair itself.
Depending on the damage sometimes it may not be able to have a good ecosystem for certain
animals or plants to live in anymore.

Earthquakes cannot be prevented from happening, but we can prevent large scale disasters.
People can reinforce their home doors, windows, and secure loose items that could fall on to
them. Buildings can be built with stronger foundations to withstand the swaying of the building
when the ground is shaking. Also, gas line fires can be prevented by installing flexible gas lines
so that if the earth does move it won’t crack. Many things can be done to prevent as much
damage from happening but sadly there is nothing we can do to prevent no damage from
happening. Making these changes to our cities and homes is absolutely necessary in order to
insure the safety of everyone. If these changes are not made the consequences can spread such as
wild fires caused or power outages. Everyone benefits from these changes because the less
chance for damage the lower the risk is for loss of life. The more we can minimalize the damage
the less it costs to fix everything and does not hurt the economy.

Shiv Parekh