Earthquakes are tremors or shaking of the earth which lasts for a short time. It can cause the ground to tremble and shake. They occur all the time at different places around the earth. Earthquake can occur on land or under the sea floor. They occur at different intensities, some being strong, most being weak. Strong earthquakes can damage buildings, roads, dams and other constructions and can make them fall. Due to this many people can get hurt or killed. Earthquakes also cause landslides, flood and tsunamis when they occur.
Earthquakes are very difficult to predict before hand and it is difficult to tell where they will occur exactly. This makes it difficult to take precautions in advance. Most of the recent earthquakes in Nepal, Afghanistan and Jammu and Kashmir have caused tremendous loss of life because people were ill-prepared.
While an earthquake cannot be predicted, we can tell which areas and places are most likely to be hit by earthquakes. By taking measures such as constructing earthquake resistant buildings and educating people about the actions they must take during an earthquake we can reduce the loss of life and damage to property.
Causes of Earthquakes
Earthquake can be caused by erupting volcanoes and large meteorites but the biggest cause of earthquakes is tectonic activity.
The earth’s outer most layer – the crust is not a single piece of solid. Instead it is made up of many pieces called tectonic plates that float on liquid rocks beneath it known as the mantle. The mantle has currents in it just like water has and this causes the plates above it to move. The motion of the plates causes them to bump into each other or slide past one another. However, the rocks in the plates try to prevent this motion
as they rub into one another. This builds up pressure over time. When the pressure is large enough the rocks give way releasing large amounts of energy as shock waves. These shock waves or seismic waves cause the shaking of the earth.
India sits on a plate called the Indian plate and it is slamming into the Eurasian plate. This has over time created the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau. Because of this, earthquakes in this belt are very common and the area extending from the Plains of the Ganga, the North-Eastern states, the Himalayan areas of Nepal, Bhutan and Kashmir and the Hind Kush areas of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan are very prone to earthquakes.
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