What’s That Rumbling?

So what is that rumbling? We’ve all at some point felt a tremble. In America they have the San Andreas fault and in Japan they have tsunamis which are set off by underground earthquakes and here in South Africa we have our mines that give us the odd tremor. Whether big or small these are a violent force that uproot 10,000 people per year. The average earthquake measures 8.0 on the Richter Scale. That’s really nothing to be taken lightly. It’s even been asked what are the chances of 10.0 earthquake on the Richter Scale. I don’t think I want the answer to that question.

So what does cause an earthquake? Well, this term is used to describe any kind of seismic activity. It’s very simply the scraping of two tectonic plates against each other. You see the world resembles a baseball the way it is torn apart. These tears are what we call tectonic plates. These plates are rubbing against each other all the time and when the one plate gets stuck, it creates friction. Once the plate slips and overcomes that friction, energy is released giving us an earthquake. The same process creates tsunamis. Tsunamis are created by underwater earthquakes.

Volcanoes have a similar effect. As heat and energy are created by the flowing of volcanic ash, hot lava and gases in the magma chambers, they build up pressure and then are released through fissures in the Earth’s crust. These fissures are mostly found on top of where tectonic plates (seeing a pattern here) diverge and converge as well as where the rust is thin. Seems our baseball scars that are all over the world are what causes all these devastating acts of violence. Volcanic eruptions can actually cause earthquakes. Earthquakes can also be caused by mine blasting, landslides and nuclear testing.

There are two main points in an earthquakes–its epicenter and hypocenter. The epicenter is where we can actually see the earthquake. The hypocenter is where the all the action actually happens. The epicenter is the product of what happens underground in the hypocenter. Think of the roots of a tree, you don’t see the growth or the spread of the roots, at least not until it breaches the surface. All you can see is the tree and the size it reaches as well as the fruit it may produce. This is very much the symbiotic relationship between the hypocenter and epicenter of an earthquake.

I know this is a very basic explanation of what an earthquake is, but, in the words of Shakespeare, “brevity is the mother of wit”.

God bless all of you, my precious avidReaders. I’m sorry for being so quiet lately. Work has been insane. Thank you for your ongoing support, we have crossed the 3k subscriber mark. You’ve all been great. Keep reading 😉

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