10 Interesting Facts About Earthquakes

Smoldering after the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco.
Smoldering after the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco.

Earthquakes, also know as tremors, quakes and temblors, result from a release of energy from the Earth’s crust.  Earthquakes can happen unexpectedly and can be quite dramatic for its victims. Past earthquakes have killed many people and destroyed many homes, buildings and neighborhoods. Here are 10 interesting facts about earthquakes.

1. Earth’s Energy

Humans only feel 10% of the total effects of an earthquake. No more than 10% of the energy expelled by earthquakes is rated when determining the level of seismic energy. The majority of the power possessed by an earthquake is actually used to power up the earthquake’s growth. The power that comes from an earthquake also serves to create heat caused by the friction of the earth as it moves. Much of earth’s potential elastic energy is used during an earthquake. It also causes the earth’s temperature to rise. Heat flows from the interior of the earth during an earthquake.

2. Humans Can Cause Earthquakes

Earthquakes can be caused by the actions of human beings. The four activities that most often cause this to happen are the drilling and injection of oil into wells, the construction of large buildings and dams, oil drilling and coal mining. The most famous example of this took place in 2008 when the Sichuan earthquake occurred in China. The result was the death of 69,227 people. It was number 19 on the list of the deadliest earthquakes that have ever occurred. The pressure of the fault is believed to have fluctuated up to 503 meters from the center of the earthquake. It is likely that this pressure made the earthquake worse than it would have been otherwise. Australia’s largest earthquake was also blamed on the actions of humans. Newcastle, Australia was built on the previous site of several areas used for coal mining. Throughout the mining process several million tons of rocks being moved is what allegedly caused this earthquake.

3.   Small Quakes Don’t Prevent Larger Quakes

The occurrence of many small earthquakes does not make it less likely that a large one will later occur. In fact, if an area experiences a high enough number of small earthquakes they are less likely to be the victims of a larger one.

4.  Tectonic Earthquakes 

Tectonic Earthquakes can happen in any part of the world that has enough elastic energy stored up to drive a fracture into a fault plane. The earth’s largest fault surfaces are formed as a result of convergent boundaries. Motion between the earth’s plates can lead to the cracking of the fault surface of the earth.

5.  How Faults Are Created

Earth’s largest faults are created because of the actions tectonic forces cause. Most earthquakes occur because active faults are moving quickly while energy is being released from the earth.

6. Aftershocks

Aftershocks are always smaller and less intense than earthquakes themselves. In the event that an aftershock is more powerful than the previous earthquake the aftershock becomes the earthquake and vice versa.

7. Earthquake swarms

Earthquake swarms often occur and consist of a sequence of many small earthquakes. This typically happens before volcanoes erupt. An earthquake swarm took place in Yellowstone National Park in 2004.

8. Earthquake Storm

A recent theory states that there is something called an earthquake storm. In this instance a series of earthquakes occurs but they occur years apart from each other. An earthquake storm can be powerful enough to destroy regions and even entire countries. Some have suggested that this frequently occurs in Turkey today. In the past, it is believed earthquake storms may have happened towards the end of the Roman Empire as well as at the conclusion of the Bronze Age.

9.  Mythology

Earthquakes have a place in both religion and mythology. Norse mythology explained earthquakes as being Loki’s violent struggles. Loki was a God in the age of Norse Mythology. It is said to have happened when Loki murdered the God of Beauty and Light. Greek mythology states that Poseidon caused earthquakes and was even the God of Earthquakes.

10. Predicting Earthquakes

It is possible that certain animals can actually predict when an earthquake is coming. British researchers once determined that toads left a central Italy breeding site when they sensed an earthquake was coming. Five days after the toads left Central Italy experienced one that killed approximately 150 people and was a 6.3 magnitude on the scale. A town in Central Italy was badly damaged as a result.


Learn more with these Earthquakes websites.

Cite This Page

"10 Interesting Facts About Earthquakes." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 23 Jan. 2014. Web. 2 Sep. 2015. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/go/2103/10-interesting-facts-earthquakes/ >.

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