Thomas Kostigen (@weathersurvival)
May 1, 2015
Get earthquake facts, including what causes an earthquake, and test your knowledge and survival skills before the next great shakeout.
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Earthquakes happen when:
Any of these scenarios can cause a quake, though shifting plates are the most common cause.
The Richter scale measures:
The magnitude of an earthquake is measured by the energy released within the earth. The mathematical scale was developed in 1935 by Charles Richter of the California Institute of Technology to compare the size of earthquake energy waves recorded by seismographs.
Earthquakes occur most during which time of year?
Earthquakes can happen anytime of year. There is a common misconception that earthquake weather exists. In fact, dating back to the ancient Greeks, people believed earthquakes occurred during hot and dry weather. Because earthquakes take place miles underground, they can happen in any type of weather.
An earthquake along the San Andreas Fault could:
LA is always inching toward San Francisco. It could get pushed closer if a major quake occurred along the San Andreas Fault, where two tectonic plates touch. The plates continually move, but where they touch they get stuck and pressure builds up underneath. When they slip, they cause quakes.
The safest place to be during an earthquake is:
The idea of a doorframe being safest is a myth. And many people get injured by falling debris while outdoors, so never head outside during an earthquake. The best thing to do during a quake is “stop, cover, and hold.” That means drop to the floor, take cover by getting underneath a sturdy desk or table and hold on until the shaking stops.
An earthquake can be forecast how far in advance?
Seismologists can forecast the likelihood of earthquakes occurring as many as 30 years in advance. An early warning system giving a notice of an imminent quake has been developed by the United States Geological Survey but hasn’t been fully put into effect.
To communicate during or after an earthquake, it’s better to:
“Text first, talk second.” Texts will often go through when calls won’t, so there's a better chance of getting your message out. Also, calls use more “space” on landlines and cellular networks. Many people calling at the same time can cause congestion and outages, according to the Federal Communications Commission.
Earthquakes happen only in certain areas.
Earthquakes can happen anywhere, any time. However, earthquakes typically occur in the areas where there are faults, under which pressure builds. The world’s greatest earthquake zone is found along the Pacific Ocean, where 81 percent all of the world’s earthquakes occur.
Earthquakes can cause:
Earthquakes can cause tsunamis, avalanches, and landslides. When it comes to volcanos, however, the cause and effect is the other way around; magma exerts pressure on rocks until they crack and create small earthquakes.
The number of earthquakes around the globe this century has:
While technology and recordings have become more advanced, the actual number of earthquakes hasn’t changed, according to seismologists. There is even evidence that the number of magnitude 7.0 or greater earthquakes has decreased.
Homeowners insurance covers:
Most property insurance policies do not cover damages from earthquakes. Separate policies are needed to cover losses related to earthquakes. Some states have government mandated insurance plans that provide coverage to those unable to obtain traditional earthquake coverage. It’s worth checking with your provider to figure out options.
If you smell gas after an earthquake inside your home:
Gas leaks can be extremely dangerous and cause fires. Twenty five percent of building fires after an earthquake come from natural gas leaks when piping and appliances are damaged. Notify your local fire department or gas company even if you only suspect a leak.
If you get trapped after an earthquake:
Shout or bang on metal, such as a pipe. Lighters and matches can spark fires, especially if there are gas leaks. Kicking up dust can make it hard to breathe. If you can, cover your nose and mouth with a piece of cloth.
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