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~~Earthquakes also known as a quake, tremor or temblor occurs as a result of plate tectonics or shifting plates in the crust of the earth that causes a quake when the frictional stress builds in the gliding plate boundaries and causes a failure at a fault line. Elastic strain energy is released during an earthquake and waves radiate shaking the ground.

Earthquakes are measured using observations from seismometers and measured mostly on the local magnitude scale that is also referred to as Richter scale. An earthquakes point of of initial rupture is called its focus or hypocentre. The epicentre is the point at ground level directly above the hypocenter.

Scientists are able to predict where major quakes might occur but they cannot forecast specific locations or accurate timing. Magnitude 3 or lower is considered weak earthquakes while magnitude 7 and over will cause serious damage over larger areas. Major earthquakes have ruined entire cities and affected the whole nation. Alternatively, minor earthquakes can be induced or may be caused by human activity which includes extraction of minerals from the earth and the collapse of large buildings.

The recent biggest earthquake in history was the 9.0 magnitude earthquake in Japan in 2011and the largest Japanese earthquake ever. The shallower an earthquake, the more damage it causes to building and other structures.

Earthquakes manifest themselves at the earth surface by shaking and sometimes displacement of the ground. A tsunami will occurs when the epicentre of a massive earthquake is located offshore and the seabed displaced.

It is possible to protect yourself and family and even property from the terrible effects of an earthquake by doing the following:

•  Create an emergency kit.

•  Shelves must be fastened securely to walls.

•  Store breakable items such as bottled foods, glass in closed cabinets with latches.

•  Fasten heavy items such as mirror and pictures securely to walls and away from beds,      couches and anywhere people hang around.

•  Brace all overhead light fixtures and top heavy objects.

•  Repair all defective electrical wirings and leaky gas connections. These are potential fire risks.

•  Secure your water heater, refrigerator, furnace and gas appliances by strapping them to the wall or the floor.

•  Repair any deep cracks in walls, ceilings or foundations.

•  Create safe spots in each room under a sturdy table or against an inside wall.

•  Create earthquake drills with your family members: Drop, cover and hold on.

When the earth shakes beneath our feet is a time when we need to worry about the benefit of others and provide the assistance we can give

Earthquake Browser HERE  – The map of earthquakes in the world online

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