Since Earth is always moving and shifting and constantly being pushed and pulled much strain can be built up over time. We have learned that earthquakes occur when strain that has been built up over a period of time is suddenly released. When this happens the crust begins to shake and tremble, this movement is commonly referred to as an earthquake.
In some cases earthquakes can cause damage to cities and towns and even take lives, but depending upon the earthquake's strength and the location of the scene, earthquakes can be harmless or barley even felt by people.
Earthquakes are classified by a scale called the Richter Scale. It ranges from 0-10 where 0 is the weakest and 10 is the strongest. With this scientists can rate the earthquake, but they are also learning how to predict one.
The happening of earthquakes on Earth is not random. Earth is made up of plates that are moving frequently. Usually earthquakes accumulate along these plate boundaries. It is easy for scientists predict when an earthquake will strike, but predicting where is difficult.
To track which plates have a better chance of an earthquakes occurring scientists are coming up with new technology. They use tools such as satellites. The satellites will examine the Earth's crust. Different satellites can track movement, temperature changes, elevation, etc.
An example of a tool used to track plates is Interferometric-Synthetic Aperture Radar. This can be a satellite or an aircraft that takes pictures from space and sends them down to use so we can interpret them. By doing this it will help us predict earthquakes.
There are many different factors involved with earthquake prediction, one being the study of past events. Scientists study the earthquake’s intensity is a specific place because this will help them predict what the next earthquake will be like in this same location. Scientists would have been able to figure out the exact time of when an earthquake hits but due the very deep earth crust, they are unable too. However, they use other factors to get them to a closer prediction.
Satellites are a more updated tool that scientists are using. With satellites scientists can see changes in the ground motion, while also determining where areas of high strain are building up. Earthquakes can be spotted sometimes when ground temperature rapidly increases. Scientists can get the information by looking at infrared radiation which shares information on ground temperature. Seismographs are another factor in earthquake prediction. They tell scientists about ground movement along seismic waves. From past earthquakes too deep into the ocean and as far out as space, it all comes together to create a scientific earthquake prediction .
Earthquakes in general happen along oceanic and continental plates It is unusual for big earthquakes to happen on the same plates but the amount of stress and strain can contribute to a bigger (or smaller) outcome.
Some examples of places that get bigger earthquakes are; Western North America, Western South America and islands off the coast of East Asia.
The black circles symbolize the locations where many of the big earthquakes frequently strike.