Related topics: tsunami · japan · quake · tectonic plates · earth

Balloon fleet senses earthquakes from stratosphere

A new study in AGU's Geophysical Research Letters reports on the first detection of a large, distant earthquake in a network of balloon-bound pressure sensors in the stratosphere. The technique could one day be applied on ...

Understanding earthquakes triggered by wastewater injection

Since 2009, many central U.S. residents have faced increasing earthquake activity. Research has suggested that these tremors are linked to wastewater injection into deep wells by oil and gas companies. However, the precise ...

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Earthquake

An earthquake (also known as a tremor or temblor) is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves. Earthquakes are recorded with a seismometer, also known as a seismograph. The moment magnitude of an earthquake is conventionally reported, or the related and mostly obsolete Richter magnitude, with magnitude 3 or lower earthquakes being mostly imperceptible and magnitude 7 causing serious damage over large areas. Intensity of shaking is measured on the modified Mercalli scale.

At the Earth's surface, earthquakes manifest themselves by shaking and sometimes displacing the ground. When a large earthquake epicenter is located offshore, the seabed sometimes suffers sufficient displacement to cause a tsunami. The shaking in earthquakes can also trigger landslides and occasionally volcanic activity.

In its most generic sense, the word earthquake is used to describe any seismic event — whether a natural phenomenon or an event caused by humans — that generates seismic waves. Earthquakes are caused mostly by rupture of geological faults, but also by volcanic activity, landslides, mine blasts, and nuclear experiments. An earthquake's point of initial rupture is called its focus or hypocenter. The term epicenter refers to the point at ground level directly above the hypocenter.

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