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Science of Earthquakes - Term Paper Example

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This paper reports a study on the naturally occurring phenomena of earthquakes. A detailed background environmental science is presented, also covering the risk assessment of likely impacts, risk mitigation measures, and the economic, environmental, and human impacts this hazard poses…
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Science of Earthquakes
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Download file to see previous pages When this energy is released, it creates seismic waves, which then cause motion in the tectonic plates. These tectonic plates are large rocky sections which are what create the earth’s outermost crust. Earthquakes commonly occur on the fault lines which are found on the tectonic plates. This happens mostly when the plates are sliding past one another or when they come to a collision (Rose, Benadives and Chang, 2002).
There are different terminologies used when describing the science of an earthquake. The focus is the origin of the quake itself. One of these words is the fault or fault line which is used to describe the surface upon which two tectonic plates slide past each other. Another term that is commonly used in earthquake science is hypocenter, the point at which an earthquake begins. The epicenter, on the other hand, is the point on the surface of the earth, which is directly over the hypocenter (Rojahn, 2005).
These shifting masses of underground tectonic plates normally send out some shock waves which are very powerful. The strength of the waves is enough to change the earth’s surface. This means that it can thrust up cliffs and even open up huge cracks on the ground. The waves are normally grouped into two categories: Primary waves, Secondary Waves and Surface waves (Access Science).
Primary waves, or P-Waves, are very similar to sound waves. They are short wavelength, high-frequency longitudinal waves. They can also pass through liquids and solids. When the shockwaves occur underneath the earth’s surface, they normally move the ground in a forward and backward direction due to the compression and decompression that they cause. However, the displacement of the ground is relatively small. P-Waves have a special characteristic that makes it possible for them to be refracted and reflected. Sometimes, they can be conditioned to change into Secondary Waves (Access Science). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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