The outer layer of the Earth is made up of nine major tectonic plates that are constantly moving and rubbing against each other. When their contact is broken, an earthquake begins.
The Richter scale is a measure of the magnitude of an earthquake. It was developed in 1935 by Charles F. Richter.
The seismometer is built from a weight that hangs on a spring. The earthquake shakes the device fixed to the ground and causes the barbell to swing. The intensity of the tremor was previously recorded on paper, and today it is recorded on a computer.
Earthquakes themselves are not dangerous, but their side effects can be devastating.
Here are some of the most prominent of them:
The earthquake that struck near Valdivia, Chile, in 1960 was the most powerful temblor in recorded history. The quake left two million people homeless, injured at least 3,000, and killed approximately 1,655. (nationalgeographic.org)
One of the deadliest earthquakes of modern times occurred in the Indian Ocean (also called the 2004 tsunami). Approximately 280 thousand people were killed by these waves, thousands were injured, and many villages were destroyed. (wikipedia)
On May 12, 2008, a massive earthquake hit the mountainous central region of Sichuan province in southwestern China. The epicentre of the magnitude-7.9 quake was located near the city of Dujiangyan. Whole schools, villages, and towns were destroyed. Almost 90,000 people were counted dead or missing. (britannica.com)
In January 2010, a large earthquake struck Haiti and the Dominican Republic on the West Indian island of Hispaniola. According to the Haitian government, more than 300,000 people died, but other estimates were much lower. More than a hundred thousand survivors were forced to leave their homes. (britannica.com)
Nepal earthquake, also called Gorkha earthquake, severe earthquake that struck near the city of Kathmandu in central Nepal on April 25, 2015. About 9,000 people were killed, many thousands more were injured, and more than 600,000 structures in Kathmandu and other nearby towns were either damaged or destroyed. (britannica.com)
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서울특별시 소방재난본부, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons | English: Master Sgt. Jeremy Lock, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons