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Earthquakes
  
Map Of Major Tectonic Plates In The Worldby BlatantWorld.com on Flickr

How are earthquakes caused?

An earthquake is what happens when two blocks of the earth suddenly slip past one another. The earth has four major layers: the inner core, outer core, mantle and crust. The crust and the top of the mantle make up a thin skin on the surface of our planet. This skin is made up of many pieces which keep slowly moving around, sliding past one another and bumping into each other. These pieces are called tectonic plates, and the edges of the plates are called the plate boundaries. The plate boundaries are made up of many faults, and most of the earthquakes around the world occur on these faults. Since the edges of the plates are rough, they get stuck while the rest of the plate keeps moving. Finally, when the plate has moved far enough, the edges unstick on one of the faults and there is an earthquake.

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Paso Robles Earthquakeby Hey Paul on Flickr

How do earthquakes damage the environment?

Earthquakes can destroy settlements and kill many people. Transport and communication links may be disrupted. Water pipes may burst and water supplies may be contaminated. The built landscape may be destroyed. Important natural and human landmarks may be lost. Trees can be uprooted which can cause land slides

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Damaged house following Feb 22 quakeby martinluff on Flickr

How can we protect ourselves?

During an earthquake, if you are indoors stay calm and take cover under a heavy object.  If you are outdoors, stay as far away from buildings as possible. Stay away from glass or anything that could fall. If you are in a crowded area, do not even consider running for the nearest exit. Everyone will be doing that, and crowding will lead to even more injuries. Take cover under something heavy and stay away from things that could fall on you. Be prepared for aftershocks after the initial earthquake has ended. 

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Earthquake damage - Bridge Street.by martinluff on Flickr

                              FUN FACTS

1. The worlds deadliest earthquake  happened in China in 1556 killing 830,000 people.

2.North Dakota is the area with the least amount of earthquakes.

3.Around 500,000 earthquakes happen in a year but only 100 of them do damage. 
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