Causes of Earthquakes
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Causes of Earthquakes

This article contains information about how an earthquake is caused with a brief look on some of the most devastating earthquakes ever recorded.

Earthquakes have claimed millions of lives throughout the centuries. Fortunately, in today’s generation, we are able to withstand some of its devastation with earthquake proof buildings. On the other hand, we are able detect the signs of an upcoming earthquake using the Richter Scale. However, we are still not yet able to prevent earthquakes from happening. This would mean that no one is safe from upcoming earthquake because there isn’t any sort of technology to prevent it from happening. This article contains information about how an earthquake is caused with a brief look on some of the most devastating earthquakes ever recorded.

The Causes of Earthquakes

An earthquake has two major causes. Firstly, earthquakes could occur due to the eruption of volcanoes. Secondly, tectonic activity related to plate margins and faults would also trigger earthquakes. This second cause is the most frequent cause of most earthquakes.

Tectonic Earthquakes

The Earth’s surface is always moving. This is known as plate tectonics. The Earth itself is made up of several plates such as the European plate and the American Plate. At some points of the Earth, two plates begin crashing into one another whilst in slow motion or they end up being on top of another. When two plates begin moving towards different directions, the rocks start bending and pressure begins to build. After withstanding too much pressure, the rock cannot bend any longer which causes rocks to break from the plate, causing both plates to shake rapidly.

Studies have been completed on earthquakes and these were the results that had been discovered. People in the past had known about earthquakes yet they didn’t know what the cause was. The first person who suggested that earthquakes were caused by faults was Bunjiro Koto who studied the great Japanese earthquake in 1871.

Volcanic Earthquakes

Volcanic earthquakes are rare occurrences. These types of earthquakes occur due o the eruption of volcanoes. When volcanoes occur, an earthquake could hit around 10 to 20 miles around the base of the volcano. However, if major volcanoes erupt, it could lead to devastating effects around the world. Similarly in 1883, a volcano eruption named Krakatau in Indonesia had exploded. This was heard thousands of kilometers away in Australia. The shock waves from the earthquake had caused tsunamis reaching over 36m high killing over 36,000 people.

Some of the Great Earthquakes Since the 1900’s

Country Magnitude Year
Temuco Valdivia, Chile 9.5 1960
Japan 9.0 2011
Turkey 6.7 1975
Southern Italy 6.5 1980
Sanriku, Japan 8.4 1933
Bihar, India-Nepal 8.1 1934
Sumatra 9.1 2004


Overall, earthquakes can be very dangerous and could be the cause of anyones death. Always be careful when you’re at home or abroad because an earthquake might just occur.

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