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Author: Amanda Soderlind

This lesson will provide models or diagrams that explain how earthquakes occur, and discuss their impact on living things.

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The earth’s crust is divided into several sections called plates. When these plates move around sometimes they will interact with each other by bumping into, sliding past or sliding above or under another plate. When plates come in contact with each other they can cause earthquakes which we feel as a jarring motion on earth if we are near one. Earthquakes can be hazardous in several ways. They can cause avalanches, landslides, destroy buildings and cause potential injury or death to people nearby. Luckily, scientists have become very good at predicting when an earthquake will happen to help people prepare in advance. There are many earthquakes that are very tiny that happen on a daily basis that cause no damage and you cannot even notice. It is the larger earthquakes that can be more destructive. The point where an earthquake starts is called the focus. The point on the ground right above the focus is called the epicenter. Scientists measure the seismic waves of the earthquake to determine its magnitude or how strong it is.  Seismic waves radiate outwards from the focus and the closer you are to the focus the more you will feel the impacts of the earthquake.