10 Earthquakes Facts

by Paul Konrardy

10 Earthquakes Facts

Whether you live in an area that’s prone to these seismic shudders or just want to know more about earthquakes, these 10 facts from the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program web page will provide some interesting information.

Earthquake Data

1. The largest recorded earthquake in the United States was a magnitude 9.2 that struck Prince William Sound, Alaska on Good Friday, March 28, 1964 UTC.

2. The largest recorded earthquake in the world was a magnitude 9.5 (Mw) in Chile on May 22, 1960.

3. It is estimated that there are 500,000 detectable earthquakes in the world each year. 100,000 of those can be felt, and 100 of them cause damage.

4. Each year the southern California area has about 10,000 earthquakes. Most of them are so small that they are not felt. Only several hundred are greater than magnitude 3.0, and only about 15-20 are greater than magnitude 4.0. If there is a large earthquake, however, the aftershock sequence will produce many more earthquakes of all magnitudes for many months.

5. There is no such thing as “earthquake weather”— statistically, there is an equal distribution of earthquakes in cold weather, hot weather, rainy weather, etc.

6. From 1975-1995 there were only four states that did not have any earthquakes. They were Florida, Iowa, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Earthquake Terms

1. A seiche (pronounced SAYSH) is what happens in the swimming pools of Californians during and after an earthquake. It is the sloshing of the water in your swimming pool, or any body of water, caused by the ground shaking in an earthquake. It may continue for a few moments or hours, long after the generating force is gone. A seiche can also be caused by wind or tides.

2. The hypocenter of an earthquake is the location beneath the earth’s surface where the rupture of the fault begins.

3. The epicenter of an earthquake is the location directly above the hypocenter on the surface of the earth.

4. The magnitude of an earthquake is a measured value of the earthquake size. The intensity of an earthquake is a measure of the shaking created by the earthquake, and this value does vary with location.

Photo Credit: PxHere

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