What is the involvement of plate tectonics in earthquakes?

  • Identify and describe the involvement of plate tectonics in earthquakes
  • Discuss the impact of earthquakes on humans and their environment
  • Discuss how the earthquakes could be prevented in the future

Expert Answers

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Earthquakes generally occur along boarder of tectonic plates along the Earth's crust.  These plates are constantly moving, but at a very, very slow rate.  Eventually, there is a build up of energy and friction along a boarder or fault line.  The plates slip past on another or slide over and...

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Earthquakes generally occur along boarder of tectonic plates along the Earth's crust.  These plates are constantly moving, but at a very, very slow rate.  Eventually, there is a build up of energy and friction along a boarder or fault line.  The plates slip past on another or slide over and under one another.  This create a seismic wave that we feel as a shuttering or earthquake.  Earthquakes can be particularly devastating natural disasters for humans.  Look at the recent earthquake in Turkey.  Buildings and infrastructure are not often able to withstand the violent energy released in an earthquake.  Sometimes we can see evidence of damage by previous earthquakes in cities.  Charleston, SC is a good example.  Here many of the historic buildings are literally bolted together.  They were shaken in a terrible earthquake and the buildings that didn't fall down were bolted together to guard against future quakes.  You can actually see the large bolts on the outside of the buildings.  While we cannot prevent earthquakes, we can prevent some of the devastation caused by them.  We use seismographs to detect and predict earthquakes.  We change building codes to try and secure buildings against earthquakes.  We take many precautions to prevent damage to roads, buildings, and people.  In California, earthquakes are fairly common, but the preparations taken by the citizens and the government allow most of these quakes to be minor events.

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