# 21. Earthquakes I (p ; 306)

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1 21. Earthquakes I (p ; 306) How many people have been killed by earthquakes in the last 4,000 years? How many people have been killed by earthquakes in the past century? What two recent earthquakes resulted in a combined ~360,000 fatalities? LOCATION YEAR 1. (M 7.6; 86,000 fatalities) 2. (M 9.0; 283,000 fatalities) Faults and Earthquakes Earthquakes occur along faults because tectonic stresses are constantly trying to push the two sides of a fault past each other. Which types of faults are associated with the following types of tectonic stresses? Tensional stresses: Compressional stresses: Shear stresses: Tectonic stresses are always present in the crust, but any one fault doesn t produce earthquakes every day. This is because tectonic stresses need to overcome the strength of a fault. What is it that gives faults their strength? When the frictional strength of the fault is exceeded, the fault jumps forward (slips or ruptures) suddenly, producing an earthquake. How much slip generally occurs on a fault during a single earthquake? What is the largest amount of motion ever recorded at the Earth s surface during an earthquake, and where did it occur? Amount of slip: Location: Is an earthquake produced every single time a fault slips? YES or NO? Some faults slip continuously in response to tectonic stresses, although very, very slowly. This process is called. Why do these creeping faults slip continuously instead of producing earthquakes? 1

2 Theory of Earthquakes The reason that faults fail abruptly when the friction is overcome is because the rocks build up a lot of energy by getting deformed before an earthquake. The rocks get pulled in opposite directions on either side of the fault, but they are locked together by the friction along the fault. What type of energy builds up in the rocks? In the crust, tectonic stresses are always present. So the energy stored in the rocks is violently released as fault slips and causes an earthquake. We feel this release of energy in the form of shaking of the ground. This theory for how earthquakes form is called the. After the stored energy is released, the fault stops slipping and things quiet down as the stresses build up towards the next earthquake. Often, the shaking created by a large earthquake along a fault upsets the balance on nearby faults which then undergo smaller fault rupture events. This produces a number of smaller earthquakes called, which can continue for months after the main earthquake. Earthquake Locations and Frequency If we look at a map of the world distribution of earthquakes, we can see that they appear to cluster greatly into zones of high earthquake activity. These zones indicate the. The tectonic plates are only able to slide past each other because of the faults in between them. What percentage of all earthquakes occurs along the plate boundaries? There are three main types of faults (normal, reverse, and strike-slip), and all three can cause earthquakes. So some earthquakes occur where the plates slide past each other, others where plates collide, and others still where plates move apart. About % of all earthquakes occur around the edges of the Pacific Ocean, in a belt called the. About % of all earthquakes occur far from plate boundaries in the continental interiors, where some of the largest earthquakes ever recorded happened. Examples of large continental interior earthquakes in the United States: LOCATION YEAR MAGNITUDE What is the most prominent earthquake-producing plate boundary fault in the lower 48 states of the US? (in California). 2

3 What two historical large magnitude earthquakes occurred along this fault? EARTHQUAKE NAME YEAR MAGNITUDE What other plate boundary area in the lower 48 states produced earthquakes? What was the largest earthquake ever to be associated with the plate boundary along the Pacific Northwest? YEAR: Magnitude: The eight largest earthquakes ever to hit the United States all occurred in the state of. The largest earthquake ever recorded in the United States (and the second largest ever in the world) was the earthquake in the year. What was its magnitude?. The largest earthquake ever recorded was in in the year. What was its magnitude?. Recording Earthquakes Every year, there are more than earthquakes around the world that are strong enough to be felt. How many earthquakes are recorded by instruments every year? The study of earthquakes is a field of geology called. The instrument used to record the occurrence of an earthquake is called either a or a. Old seismographs consisted of a pen attached to a free-swinging pendulum. If an earthquake occurred, the ground would move back and forth, and the pen would record a series of jagged strokes on a rotating drum of paper. The paper record of the earthquake shaking is called a. Seismographs today are a lot more sophisticated, with electronic sensors recording the ground shaking, and reporting it directly to a computer screen. 3

4 Earthquake Depth During an earthquake, the ground shakes because of the release of elastic energy when the fault slips. How is this energy transmitted through rocks?. This effect is similar to energy passing across the surface of the ocean as water waves. It is only because rocks can behave in an elastic manner that they are able to transmit elastic waves without fracturing into pieces. The elastic waves get emitted from the exact location on the fault where the slip first starts. This is called the _ or of the earthquake, which is usually many kilometers below the surface of the Earth. The point on the Earth's surface directly above the focus of the earthquake is called the of the earthquake, which can be plotted on a map. The depth of the focus of an earthquake is called the and may be anywhere from deep to deep. Seismic Waves There are a number of different types of seismic waves, which are divided into two categories: 1. _ : these are the waves that radiate away from the focus. 2. _ : these are produced when body waves intersect the Earth's surface and cause a vibration along the surface. What are the two types of body waves?: 1. (also called ) 2. (also called or ) P-waves move through rock as a series of pulses of compression and expansion. What direction do these pulses move? So a single particle in the rock just moves back and forth, back and forth, as the energy wave passes through. What other type of wave propagates in this way? As P-waves pass through the rock, there is no actual transport of the rock. It just gets a little disturbed while the energy waves passes through it. We usually feel the P-wave arriving as a sudden vertical jolt. It travels through rock at about 4 mi/sec. Are P-waves are the fastest or slowest traveling waves? FASTEST or SLOWEST? So in which order does it arrive at any location after an earthquake? 4

5 Which types of media can P-waves travel through? Solids YES or NO? Liquids YES or NO? Gases YES or NO? S-waves propagate like a snake as a back and forth motion of particles. What direction is this back and forth motion? They are the fastest waves (~2 mi/sec) so we feel them only after the P-wave has passed by. Which types of media can S-waves travel through? Solids YES or NO? Liquids YES or NO? Gases YES or NO? Surface waves travel along or near the surface of the Earth, like water waves. Body waves can produce sharp jolts and extreme shaking, but surface waves produce a gentle rolling motion, like being on a boat on the ocean. Surface waves are the slowest moving waves, and there are two types Love waves involve a back and forth horizontal motion, like an S-wave, and can be very damaging to buildings. What is the order in which a Love wave is recorded by a seismograph? Rayleigh waves cause particles in the rock to trace out an elliptical rolling motion, like the waves on the ocean. FINAL QUESTION: Rayleigh waves are the last seismic waves to be felt because they are the: 5

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