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Earthquakes and Volcanoes

Seattle, 2001

El Salvador, 2001

India, 2001

Izmit, Turkey, 1999

Kobe, 1995

Northridge, 1994

Taiwan, 2000

Worlds Largest Earthquakes




Approx. casualties

1. Chile 2. SumatraAndaman 3. Prince William Sound, Alaska 4. Andreanof Islands, Alaska 5. Kamchatka Peninsula

9.5 9.0 (9.3) 9.2 9.1 9.0

1960 2004 1964 1957 1952

>2000 >162,000 (Largest) (>112,000 in Indonesia) 125 Not reported Not reported
Source: United States Geological Survey (USGS)

An earthquake is the shaking and trembling that results from the sudden movement of part of the Earths crust. The most common cause of earthquakes is faulting. During faulting, energy is released. Rocks continue to move until the energy is used up.

Types of Earthquakes
Shallow Earthquake
Up to 50 Km from Earths surface.

Intermediate Earthquake
50-300 kms

Deep Earthquakes
Below 300Kms

San Andreas Fault

The San Andreas fault extends 960 km from Mexico to the north of California. The land to the west is moving north. The land to the east of the fault is moving south. All the rocks do not move at the same time so earthquakes occur in one area and then another.

San Francisco Quake

IN 1906, movement along the San Andreas fault caused an earthquake in San Francisco.

Earthquakes which occur on the ocean floor produce giant sea waves called tsunamis. Tsunamis can travel at speeds of 700 to 800 km per hour. As they approach the coast, they can reach heights of greater than 20 meters.

Sumatra-Andaman Islands Earthquake

Magnitude: 9.0 (9.3)

Date-time: Sunday, December 26, 2004 at 7:58:53 AM (local time)

Depth: 30 km (18.6 miles) Distances:

* 250 km (155 miles) SSE of Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia

* 310 km (195 miles) W of Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia

* 1260 km (780 miles) SSW of

Bangkok, Thailand

Source: United States Geological Survey (USGS)


After-Shock Zone

Sumatra to the Andaman Islands, 1000 km to the North. Width of rupture zone about 100 km Maximum slip about 20 m

Earthquake Energy

Sumatra-Andaman (2004)-New Sumatra-Andaman (2004)

Source: Earthquake by: Bruce A. Bolt

Earthquake and Tsunami


all earthquakes generate tsunamis.

Characteristics of an earthquake that may generate tsunamis: 1. Epicenter underneath or near the ocean 2. Fault causes vertical movement of the seafloor over a large area (up to a 100,000 square kilometers). 3. Large in magnitude ( > 7.5 )

4. Shallow focus ( < 70 km)

What is a Tsunami ?
Japanese word meaning HARBOR WAVE A water wave generated by an IMPULSIVE MOTION of the sea floor EARTHQUAKES Also called a TIDAL WAVE or SEISMIC SEA WAVE


Basic Mechanism of Tsunami


deep water, tsunami waves move very fast, with a very long wave length and small amplitude. In shallow water, the tsunami waves slow down. Wave lengths shorten and amplitudes increase significantly.

Source: Earthquake by: Bruce A. Bolt

Most faults occur between the surface and a depth of 70 kilometers. The point beneath the surface where the rocks break and move is called the focus. The focus is the underground origin of an earthquake.

Directly above the focus, on the Earths surface is the epicenter. Earthquake waves reach the epicenter first. During an earthquake, the most violent shaking is found at the epicenter.

Seismic Waves
There are three main types of seismic waves. Primary Secondary Surface

Primary Waves
Seismic waves that travel fastest are P waves. They travel through solids, liquids and gases. They move at different speeds depending on the density of the material through which they are moving. As they move deeper in the Earth they move faster. P waves are push-pull waves.

Secondary Waves
Seismic waves that do not travel through the Earth as fast as P waves do are called secondary or S waves. S waves travel through solids but not liquids or gases. S waves cause particles to move from side to side. They move at right angles to the direction of the wave.

Surface Waves
The slowest moving seismic waves are called surface waves or L waves. L waves originate on the Earths surface at the epicenter. They move along the surface the way waves travel in the ocean. The Earths surface moves up and down with each L wave. L waves cause most of the damage.

The Seismograph
Invented in 1893 by John Milne, a seismograph detects and measures seismic waves. A weight attached to a spring remains nearly still even when the Earth moves. A pen attached to the weight records any movement on a roll of paper on a constantly rotating drum. The drum moves with the Earth and affects the line.

Seismologists study earthquakes. They can determine the strength of an earthquake by the height of the wavy line recorded on the paper. The seismograph record of waves is called a seismogram. The Richter scale is used to calculate the strength of an earthquake.

The Richter Scale

The amount of damage created by an earthquake depends on several factors. The earthquakes strength The kind of rock and soil that underlie an area The population of the area The kind of buildings in the area The time at which the earthquake occurs

Rossi-Forrels Scale
1. Imperceptible
Recorded by sensitive seismographs only

2. Feeble
May be felt by no. of persons at rest.

3. Very Slight
Felt by several people at rest. It is strong enough for the duration and direction to be recorded.

Rossi-Forrels Scale
4. Slight
Felt by several people in motion. Movable objects disturbed, cracking of the doors, windows etc.

5. Weak
Disturbance of furniture and beds. Ringing of bells

6. Moderate
General awakening of those asleep; stopping of clocks; people leave their houses.

Rossi-Forrels Scale
7. Strong
Overthrow of movable objects, fall of plaster from the walls, general panic without damage to the buildings.

8. Very strong
Fall of chimneys, cracks in walls of buildings.

9. Severe
Partial of total destruction of some buildings

Rossi-Forrels Scale
10. Destructive
Great disasters, disturbance of strata.

11. Catastrophic
Wooden structure collapse, railway tracks twisted.

12. Absolute Ruin

Land faults and slips, movement and collapse of buildings.

Predicting Earthquakes
Scientists have identified warning signals the help predict earthquakes with greater accuracy. Often changes occur in the speed of P and S waves before an earthquake occurs. Sometimes slight changes in the tilt of the Earths surface can be detected. Some scientists believe animals behavior is affected.

Formation of a Volcano

Deep within the Earth, under tremendous pressure and at great temperatures, rock exists as a hot liquid called magma. This molten rock is found in pockets called magma chambers.

When the magma reaches the surface, it is called lava. The place in the Earths surface through which magma and other materials reach the surface is called a volcano. In some places, lava can build up to forma cone-shaped mountain. The opening from which lava erupts is the vent. Volcanoes often have more than one vent.

Dark-Colored Lava
There are four types of lava. One is dark-colored and contains a lot of water. This is rich in iron and magnesium and cools to form igneous rocks such as basalt. This lava is thin and runny and most tends to flow. The islands of Hawaii and Iceland were formed by many lava flows.

Light-Colored Lava
The second type of lava is light in color. This lava, contains little water and is rich in silicon and aluminum. Light-colored lava causes explosive eruptions. Silicon tends to harden in the vents and form rocks. Steam and new lava build up under the rocks. When the pressure becomes great, a violent explosion occurs. When this type of lava cools it form the igneous rock, rhyolite, which resembles granite.

Combination Lava
The third type of lava has a chemical composition similar to that of both the dark-colored type and the light-colored type. Different varieties of igneous rocks in the Earths crust, such as andesite, are form from this type of lava.

Gaseous Lava
The fourth type of lava contains large amounts of gases such as steam and carbon dioxide. When this lava hardens, it forms rocks with many holes in them, due to gas bubbles. Pumice and scoria are igneous rocks formed from this type of lava.

Volcanic Eruptions
During volcanic eruptions, many rock fragments are blown into the air. The smallest particles are called volcanic dust. (less than 0.25 mm) Volcanic Ash ( 0.25 -5mm) falls to the Earth and forms small rocks. Volcanic bombs (a few cm to several meters) are molten and harden as they travel through the air.

Andestic & Granatic Lava's

Krakatau off the Java Trench, 1997 eruption

Most volcanoes that extrude andestic & granatic lava's are confined largely to continental margins or volcanic island chains located adjacent to deep ocean trenches.

Types of Volcanoes
Different types of volcanic eruptions form different types of volcanoes. Cinder cones Shield volcanoes Composite volcanoes

Cinder Cones
Volcanoes made mostly of cinders and other rock particles that have been blown into the air are called cinder cones. Cinder cones form from explosive eruptions. Because the material is loosely arranged, the cones are not high. The have a narrow base and steep sides such as Paricutin in Mexico.


A Cinder Cone: Wizard Island, Crater Lake, Oregon

Anatomy of a Cinder Cone, Hawaii

Shield Volcanoes
Volcanoes composed of quiet flows are called shield volcanoes. Because it is runny, the lava flows over a large area. After several eruptions, a dome-shaped mountain is formed such as Mauna Loa (4km over sea level) in the Hawaiian Islands.

Shield Volcano: Haleakala, Hawaii

Composite Volcanoes
Volcanoes built up of alternating layers of rock particles and lava are called composite volcanoes or stratovolcanoes. During the formation of a composite volcano, a violent eruption first occurs, hurling volcanic bombs, cinder and ash out of the vent. Then a quiet eruption, produces lava flow that covers the rock particles. After alternating eruptions, a coneshaped mountain forms such as Mount Vesuvius.

There is often a funnel-shaped pit or depression at the top of a volcanic cone. This pit is called a crater. If the crater becomes very large as a result of the collapse of its walls, it is called a caldera. A caldera may also form when the top of a volcano explodes or collapses.

San Cristobal Volcano, Nicaragua

Photo Credit: G. Mattioli

Crater Lake, Oregon

Jemez Caldera, New Mexico

How Calderas Form

Volcanic Activity
Volcanoes are rather unpredictable . Some erupt regularly, others have not erupted in modern history. Scientists classify them as active, dormant or extinct.

Active Volcanoes
An active volcano is one that erupts wither continually or periodically such as Mount Katmai in Alaska and Mount St. Helens in the Cascade Range.

Dormant Volcano
A volcano that has been known to erupt within modern times but is now inactive is classified as a dormant volcano. Mount Rainier in Washington state are example of dormant volcanoes in the United States.

Extinct Volcano
A volcano not known to have erupted within modern history is classified as an extinct volcano. They have been worn away almost to the level of their magma chamber. Scientists can be wrong. Mount St. Helens was considered to be dormant but erupted after long periods of inactivity.

Volcano and Earthquake Zones

Most major earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in three zones of the world. Scientists believe that there is a great deal of movement and activity in the Earths crust in these three zones.

Ring of Fire
One major earthquake and volcano zone extends nearly all the way around the edge of the Pacific Ocean. This zone goes through New Zealand, the Philippines, Japan, Alaska and along the western coasts of North and South America. The San Andreas fault is part of this zone.

Mediterranean Zone
A second Major earthquake and volcano zone is located near the Mediterranean Zone and extends across Asia into India. Many countries in the zone, including Italy, Greece and Turkey, have violent earthquakes. Many volcanic eruptions also occur in this zone.

Mid-Atlantic Ridge Zone

The third major earthquake and volcano zone extends through Iceland and to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. There is under the ocean a long range of volcanic mountains called the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Range. Scientists believe that the volcano and earthquake activity are due to the formation of new parts of the Earths crust along the ridge. The volcanic island of Iceland is part of this zone.