EarthQuakes and Your Family:

The First Steps to Take!

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What are Earthquakes?

arthquakes are the shaking, rolling or sudden shock of the earthís surface. Earthquakes happen along "fault lines" in the earthís crust. Earthquakes can be felt over large areas although they usually last less than one minute. Earthquakes cannot be predicted -- although scientists are working on it!

Most of the time, you will notice an earthquake by the gentle shaking of the ground. You may notice hanging plants swaying or objects wobbling on shelves. Sometimes you may hear a low rumbling noise or feel a sharp jolt. A survivor of the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco said the sensation was like riding a bicycle down a long flight of stairs.

he intensity of an earthquake can be measured. One measurement is called the Richter scale. Earthquakes below 4.0 on the Richter scale usually do not cause damage, and earthquakes below 2.0 usually canít be felt. Earthquakes over 5.0 on the scale can cause damage. A magnitude 6.0 earthquake is considered strong and a magnitude 7.0 is a major earthquake. The Northridge Earthquake, which hit Southern California in 1994, was magnitude 6.7.

Can earthquakes be predicted?

 The answer is no, neither the USGS nor any other scientists have ever predicted a major earthquake. They do not know how to accurately predict an earthquake, and despite popular news stories to the contrary, they do not expect to know how any time in the foreseeable future. However based on scientific data, probabilities can be calculated for potential future earthquakes. And since eathquakes are  generally precedded by some seimic warning signs, the USGS is working on an earthquake early warning system that may eventually provide seconds-to-minutes of advance warning.

What to do if you are in an earthquake

Earthquakes are sometimes called temblors, quakes, shakers or seismic activity. The most important thing to remember during an earthquake is to DROP and COVER. Drop and cover means to DROP to the floor and get under something for COVER


Earthquakes: Home Hazards Hunt




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This page was updated on 23-Mar-2017