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Earthquakes are one of the major disasters in the world today. They have claimed thousands of lives in the recent years and rendered many more homeless.
Depending on the magnitude of the earthquake; they can be very destructive. For instance; Haiti was hit with one with a magnitude of 7.0. It brought buildings to the ground, cut off communication of Haiti with the rest of the world leaving them quite helpless.
An earthquake can be described as the uneven shaking of the earth’s rocks that leads to breakages. They are as a result of energy release from the earth crust. Ansary, M. A. (1995) claims that during the release of the energy the country experienced seismic waves that eventually lead to tremors. The earth is divided into four major layers, these include: the crust, inner core, outer core and the mantle.
If movement occurs in the lower layers of the earth the surface of the earth is disrupted as the displacement is experienced all the way to the top. The degree of shaking of an area is determined by the seismic activity of the area. Seismic activity is the type and size of earthquake that a place experiences. The point which an earthquake is generated is referred to as a hypocenter.
The intensity of earthquake can be measured using the seismograph which has a Richter scale to determine the magnitude of the earthquake. The Richter scale was invented by Charles Richter. After the invention of the Richter scale it was followed by the invention of Mercalliscale by an Italian volcanologist called Giuseppe Mercalli in 1884 and 1906.
Theseismometers are usually located in different areas so as to record any slight movement in the earth’s crust. There are three types of earthquake which are grouped according their occurrence. They include the volcanic, tectonic, explosion and collapse earthquake. The most common cause of an earthquake is the tectonic plate movement.
This occurs when the continental plates move either towards each other causing compression of the plates or move away from each other thus building up tensional forces which causes earth movements. While there are those that slide past each other causing shearing of the earth’s crust. These plate movements are what lead to an earthquake. A small percentage of earthquakes occur as a result of volcanic activities and explosions.
Spence, W. & Sipkin, G. L. (1989) has suggested that in the United States, earthquake activities are being experienced along the borders of the continent, areas which border the pacific and the Atlantic oceans. The eastern side of the continent has a high probability of experiencing an earthquake within the next fifty years.
These areas include the California region, along the San Andreas Fault. Some states likely to experience earthquake include Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Ohio,Indiana,Maine,Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky. In the world, the distribution of the earthquake has been found to be mainly on the plate boundaries. At these boundaries faults are usually formed. These faults limit the movement of the continental plate.
After a while the other plates moved far enough as the plate which was left behind detaches itself from the fault causing an earthquake. This released energy usually spread to the main land through its seismic waves, that’s why even those away from the plate boundaries are likely to experience it.One of the latest earthquakes was on 7th of December in Komandorskiye in Russia region with a magnitude of 5.8.
If I would be forced to live in places with the high chances of experiencing earthquake like California, I would not like this is because it not only destroys our property but also poses quite a great risk to our lives. This is because earthquakes are known to be very disastrous. Some other disadvantages of living in earthquake prone areas; is that it has madeinsuring of property quite expensive.
When living in these earthquake prone areas, there is need to use the USGS resources so as to be prepared for any disaster which is likely to happen. These disaster preparedness are like, there should first be disaster readiness awareness within the family. There should be a communication devices at all times so as to enquire among themselves whether they are okay. They should have a reliable source of information concerning the frequency of occurrence and when it is likely to occur.
With the same information channel they should be able to pass any information of any suspicious activities which might occur within their home. The family should also have a first aid kit, fire extinguishers and some tools like a hammer, axe and a crowbar in case they are trapped. They should also avoid crowded places so as to avoid stampedes and suffocation in case they are trapped.
In history the two most destructive earthquake occurrences were in Eastern Sichuan, China which led to 87,587deaths and a lot of properties was destroyed and the Haiti region which had 222,570 deaths and a lot properties destroyed.
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The rate of casualties as compared the magnitude of the earthquake has quite improved due to the modern prediction mechanisms and the information has been very useful to the people because they can now be prepared thus reducing more casualties when it occurs.
Scientist are doing all they can to be able to ascertain the occurrence of an earthquake and also its magnitude, but as we know, natural disasters including an earthquake is beyond human abilities, no matter the equipment a state can have, they cannot be stopped or prevented.
With the aid of the seismograms the scientist have been able to locate where the earthquake is happening, because by using the equipment, they are able to see both the P wave and the S wave in case one of them occurs. They eventually find the exact location using the triangulation method, where three seismograms are used. This equipment came up so as to have an early detection and provide emergency responses to those affected thus reducing the number of deaths.
Just like the earth’s crust releases its energy, so does also the food we consume. They both release energy in the form of heat, the body uses the food, to produce heat that is used to maintain its temperature (Watson, J. &Watson, K. 1998). While deep into the earth’s crust there are atoms which collide against each other leading to release of energy which internmolten the rocks into magma. This magma increases the pressure into the earth’s crust and is eventually released violently causing an earthquake.
All in all earthquake are so disastrous and since we have no power to control them, then we should put more measures to make them less destructive like putting up building designs which are less affected by the earthquake and also being fully prepared for a disaster.
Ansary, M. A. (1995). Moheskhali Earthquake: A Damage Study, Journal of Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Spence, W. & Sipkin, G. L. (1989). Measuring the size of an earthquake.Deventer: Kluwer Law and taxation publishers.
Watson, J. &Watson, K. (1998). Volcanoes and Earthquakes. Oxford: Oxford University press.