An earthquake is a shaking of the ground caused by the sudden breaking and movement of large sections (tectonic plates) of the earth's rocky outermost crust. The edges of the tectonic plates are marked by faults (or fractures). Most earthquakes occur along the fault lines when the plates slide past each other or collide against each other.
What do we do in an earthquake?
What should we do?
Keep calm and take cover under a desk, table or against interior walls. Stay away from windows, outside doors or walls, display shelves and anything that can fall and hurt you, such as lighting, furniture or fixtures.
Do not rush for the exit which may start a stampede.
If you are outdoors, stay away from buildings and overhead electrical cables. Remain in the open until the tremor stops.
Do not use candles, matches or other naked flames during and after the tremor, as there might be a gas leak; and -
If driving, stop quickly and safely and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under trees, buildings, bridges, overpasses or overhead electrical cables.
What should we prepare?
Practice earthquake drills with your family.
Check if your insurance covers earthquake damage.
Study tips of how to prepare in some cases.
Have two designated places your family can meet after the earthquake.
Make an earthquake kit with basic food, shelter and water.
Why do earth quakes happen?
Earthquakes are usually caused when rock underground suddenly breaks along a fault. This sudden release of energy causes the seismic waves that make the ground shake. When two blocks of rock or two plates are rubbing against each other, they stick a little. They don't just slide smoothly; the rocks catch on each other. The rocks are still pushing against each other, but not moving. After a while, the rocks break because of all the pressure that's built up. When the rocks break, the earthquake occurs.
During the earthquake and afterward, the plates or blocks of rock start moving, and they continue to move until they get stuck again. The spot underground where the rock breaks is called the focus of the earthquake. The place right above the focus (on top of the ground) is called the epicenter of the earthquake.