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What is an Earthquake?

The earth is divided into three main layers - a hard outer crust, a soft middle layer and a center core. The outer crust is broken into massive, irregular pieces called "plates." These plates move very slowly, driven by energy forces deep within the earth. Earthquakes occur when these moving plates grind and scrape against each other.


An earthquake 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.

Earthquakes are caused by the movement of plates, the boundaries of the plates are the weak zones where earthquakes are likely to occur. The weak zones are also known as seismic or fault zones. Kashmir, Western and Central Himalayas, the whole of North-East, Rann of Kutch, Rajasthan and the Indo - Gangetic Plane.

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