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By Topaz Group


What are earthquakes ?

What are Faults/Fault lines ?
Types of Faults
Facts about earthquakes.
Richter Scale
The 1960 Valdivia Earthquake
Video Footage

An earthquake (also known as a quake,
tremor or temblor) is the perceptible shaking
of the surface of the Earth, resulting from the
sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust
that creates seismic waves. Earthquakes can
be violent enough to toss people around and
destroy whole cities.
It can be caused by volcanic eruptions,
meteors hitting the earth or an underground
nuclear explosion but most earthquakes are
caused by the movement of earths plates.

A fault is a planar fracture or discontinuity in
a volume of rock, across which there has
been significant displacement as a result of
rock mass movement. Large faults within the
Earth's crust result from the action of plate
tectonic forces, with the largest forming the
boundaries between the plates, such as
subduction zones or transform faults. Energy
release associated with rapid movement on
active faults is the cause of most

Types of Faults

Few Facts about

The largest recorded earthquake in the
world was a magnitude 9.5 in Chile on May
22, 1960.
Tsunamis are caused by underwater
quakes or landslides (usually triggered by
quakes) displacing the ocean water.
It is estimated that there are 500,000
detectable earthquakes in the world each
year, 100,000 of those can be felt, 100 of
them cause damage.

Richter Scale
The Richter magnitude scale (also Richter scale) created by
the seismologists Charles Francis Gutenberg and Beno
Gutenberg, of the California Institute of Technology assigns a
magnitude number to quantify the size of an earthquake. The
Richter scale, developed in the 1930s, is a base-10 logarithmic
scale, which defines magnitude as the logarithm of the ratio of
the amplitude of the seismic waves to an arbitrary, minor
As measured with a seismometer, an earthquake that registers
5.0 on the Richter scale has a shaking amplitude 10 times greater
than an earthquake that registered 4.0 at the same distance, and
thus corresponds to a release of energy 31.6 times that released
by the lesser earthquake. The Richter scale built on the previous,
more subjective Mercalli Scale by offering a quantifiable measure
of an earthquake's size.

The 1960 Valdivia earthquake

The 1960 Valdivia earthquake or Great Chilean earthquake of 22 May is the
most powerful earthquake ever recorded. Various studies have placed it at 9.4
9.6 on the moment magnitude scale. It occurred in the afternoon (19:11 GMT,
15:11 local time), and lasted approximately 10 minutes. The resulting tsunami
affected southern Chile, Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, eastern New Zealand,
southeast Australia and the Aleutian Islands.
The epicenter of this mega thrust earthquake was near Lumaco, approximately
570 kilometers (350mi) south of Santiago, with Valdivia being the most affected
city. The tremor caused localized tsunamis that severely battered the Chilean
coast, with waves up to 25 meters (82ft). The main tsunami raced across the
Pacific Ocean and devastated Hilo, Hawaii. Waves as high as 10.7 meters (35ft)
were recorded 10,000 kilometers (6,200mi) from the epicenter, and as far away
as Japan and the Philippines.
The death toll and monetary losses arising from this widespread disaster are not
certain. Various estimates of the total number of fatalities from the earthquake
and tsunamis have been published, ranging between 1,000 and 6,000 killed.
Different sources have estimated the monetary cost ranged from US$400 million
to 800 million (or $3.2billion to $6.41billion today, adjusted for inflation).

Map of the earthquake