An earthquake is a sudden and intense shaking of the ground caused by the movement of tectonic plates in the Earth's crust. Earthquakes can cause widespread damage, especially in densely populated areas.

What is an Earthquake, what Causes Earthquake

An earthquake is a sudden and intense shaking of the ground caused by the movement of tectonic plates in the Earth’s crust. Earthquakes can cause widespread damage, especially in densely populated areas.

The primary cause of earthquakes is the movement of tectonic plates, which are large slabs of rock that make up the Earth’s crust. When two plates move apart, collide, or grind against each other, the energy that is released creates seismic waves that cause the ground to shake. Earthquakes can also be caused by human activities, such as underground nuclear tests or the construction of large dams, which can alter the stress and pressure on the Earth’s crust and trigger an earthquake.


  1. Facts about Earthquakes

Here are some facts about earthquakes:

  • Earthquakes occur when the Earth’s tectonic plates move, causing the release of energy in the form of seismic waves.
  • Earthquakes can be caused by natural processes such as plate tectonics or human activities such as mining and construction.
  • Earthquakes can range in size from small, barely noticeable tremors to massive, devastating events that can cause widespread damage and loss of life.
  • The Richter scale is used to measure the magnitude, or strength, of an earthquake, and the Marcella scale is used to measure its intensity or the amount of damage it causes.
  • Earthquakes can trigger secondary hazards such as landslides, tsunamis, and fires, which can cause additional damage and loss of life.
  • Earthquakes are most common along plate boundaries, such as the San Andreas Fault in California, but can also occur in the interior of plates, such as the New Madrid Seismic Zone in the central United States.
  • Earthquakes can be predicted to some degree, but it is currently not possible to predict the exact time, location, and magnitude of an earthquake with accuracy.
  • Building codes and earthquake-resistant construction techniques can help reduce the damage caused by earthquakes, but it is still important to prepare for earthquakes by having an emergency plan and supplies.
  1. The Course of Actions Before, During and After Earthquake

Here are some actions to take before, during, and after an earthquake:

Before an earthquake:

  • Know the location of gas shutoff valves and how to turn them off in case of a gas leak.
  • Identify safe places in your home, such as under a desk or table, and make sure everyone in your household knows where they are.
  • Secure heavy furniture and appliances to the wall to prevent them from tipping over during an earthquake.
  • Make a plan with your family for how to communicate and reunite after an earthquake.
  • Have an emergency supply kit that includes food, water, first-aid supplies, and important documents.

During an earthquake:

  • If you’re inside, take cover under a desk or table, or against an interior wall away from windows and objects that could fall.
  • If you’re outside, move to an open area away from buildings, power lines, and trees.
  • If you’re driving, pull over to the side of the road and stop. Avoid bridges, overpasses, and power lines.
  • Stay calm and wait for the shaking to stop.

After an earthquake:

  • Check yourself and others for injuries and provide first aid if necessary.
  • Turn off the gas if you smell gas or hear a hissing noise.
  • Evacuate the building if it is damaged or unsafe.
  • Avoid using the phone unless it is an emergency, as phone lines may be congested.
  • Stay away from damaged buildings, power lines, and fallen objects.
  • Wait for official instructions from emergency responders and follow them carefully.
  1. Earthquake Prediction

Currently, it is not possible to predict earthquakes with certainty. However, scientists use various techniques to monitor and study earthquakes in an effort to improve our understanding of when and where they are likely to occur. Some of these techniques include:

  • Seismic monitoring: This involves using instruments to measure and track earthquakes, including their location, magnitude, and the types of seismic waves they produce.
  • Pattern recognition: By analyzing patterns in the frequency, location, and size of earthquakes, scientists can identify areas that are at higher risk for future earthquakes.
  • Stress buildup analysis: Scientists can study how the Earth’s crust is deforming and storing energy, which can help indicate areas that are at risk for future earthquakes.
  • Ground deformation monitoring: This involves using GPS and satellite-based techniques to measure changes in the Earth’s surface, which can provide information about potential earthquakes.

Despite these efforts, earthquakes are still largely unpredictable, and it is not currently possible to predict their exact timing, location, and magnitude with accuracy. Therefore, it is important to be prepared for earthquakes by having an emergency plan and supplies.

  1. How Earthquakes are Measured

Earthquakes are measured using two different scales: the Richter scale and the Marcella scale.

  • Richter Scale: The Richter scale is a measure of the magnitude, or strength, of an earthquake. It was developed by Charles Richter in 1935 and uses a logarithmic scale, meaning that each unit on the scale represents a tenfold increase in magnitude. For example, a magnitude 5.0 earthquake is ten times stronger than a magnitude 4.0 earthquake. The Richter scale ranges from 0 to 9.
  • Marcella Scale: The Marcella scale is a measure of the intensity or the amount of damage caused by an earthquake. It ranges from I to XII and takes into account factors such as the type of building construction, the type of ground, and the intensity of shaking felt by people. The Mercalli scale provides a more complete picture of the impact of an earthquake than the Richter scale, which only measures the magnitude of the earthquake.

Both the Richter and Marcella scales are important tools for understanding earthquakes, and they are used together to give a more complete picture of an earthquake’s strength and impact.

  1. Human Activities Causing Earthquake

Yes, human activities can cause earthquakes, although the majority of earthquakes are still naturally occurring events. Some human activities that can cause earthquakes to include:

  • Mining: The extraction of coal, oil, gas, and minerals can cause the ground to subside, resulting in earthquakes.
  • Reservoir-induced earthquakes: The filling of large reservoirs with water can change the pressure on the Earth’s crust and cause earthquakes.
  • Oil and gas extraction: The injection of wastewater and other fluids into the Earth’s crust can trigger earthquakes.
  • Construction: The excavation of large underground cavities and the building of large dams can alter the balance of stress in the Earth’s crust and cause earthquakes.

Human-caused earthquakes are usually smaller and less frequent than naturally occurring earthquakes, but they can still have significant impacts on local communities, particularly if they are in populated areas. It is important for policymakers and industry to consider the potential seismic impacts of their activities and to take steps to minimize the risk of earthquakes.

6 While Driving

During an earthquake, if you’re driving a vehicle, it’s generally recommended to stop and pull over to a safe place, such as the side of the road. Here’s why:

  • Stopping the vehicle reduces the risk of collision with other vehicles, obstacles, or other hazards.
  • The motion of the vehicle can make it difficult to assess the intensity of the shaking and make it harder to stay balanced.
  • If you’re on a bridge or an overpass, it’s particularly important to stop because these structures can be more vulnerable to damage during an earthquake.

Once you’ve stopped, turn off the engine, put on the parking brake, and stay inside the vehicle until the shaking stops. This can provide some protection and reduce the risk of injury from falling objects or debris. After the earthquake, be cautious when driving, as roads and bridges may be damaged, and there may be hazards such as fallen power lines, cracked pavement, and unstable buildings.

7. 10 steps for Earthquake Preparedness

Here are 10 steps for earthquake preparedness:

  • Make a plan: Develop a plan for how you and your family will respond in the event of an earthquake. Make sure everyone knows what to do and where to go for safety.
  • Secure your home: Secure heavy objects, such as bookcases and televisions, to prevent them from falling and causing injury.
  • Prepare an emergency kit: Assemble a kit of essential supplies, including food, water, first aid supplies, a flashlight, and a battery-powered radio.
  • Identify safe places in your home and workplace: Identify safe places in your home and workplace, such as under a desk or against an interior wall, where you can take cover during an earthquake.
  • Practice earthquake drills: Practice earthquake drills with your family and coworkers so that everyone knows what to do in the event of an earthquake.
  • Learn first aid: Learn basic first aid skills and CPR so that you can help yourself and others in the event of an injury.
  • Secure your water and gas shutoff valves: Learn how to shut off the water and gas valves in your home in the event of a gas leak or water damage.
  • Prepare your vehicle: Make sure your vehicle is equipped with emergency supplies, including food, water, and a first aid kit.
  • Plan for aftershocks: Aftershocks are common after earthquakes and can cause additional damage. Make sure you have a plan for what to do if an aftershock occurs.
  • Stay informed: Stay informed about earthquakes and emergency response plans by listening to the news, signing up for emergency alerts, and following the advice of local authorities. 



8.    First Aid Drills for an Earthquake:

  • Assess the situation: Take a quick survey of the area and look for any immediate dangers, such as fire or hazardous chemicals.
  • Check for injuries: Check yourself and others for any injuries, such as cuts, bruises or broken bones.
  • Provide basic first aid: If necessary, provide basic first aid, such as applying pressure to a wound or splinting a broken limb.
  • Call for help: If anyone is seriously injured, call for emergency medical assistance.
  • Evacuate if necessary: If the building is severely damaged or there is a risk of fire or other dangers, evacuate to a safe location.
  • Continue to monitor the situation: Even after the initial earthquake has passed, it is important to continue to monitor the situation for any aftershocks or other hazards.
  • Seek medical attention: If anyone experiences symptoms such as severe headache, nausea, or dizziness, seek medical attention.

It is important to practice these first aid drills regularly so that everyone knows what to do in case of an earthquake. It is also important to have a well-stocked first aid kit available in case of an emergency.

9. Dos and Don’ts in Earthquake

Do’s during an earthquake:

  • Drop, cover and hold on: If you are indoors, drop to the floor, take cover under a sturdy piece of furniture and hold on until the shaking stops.
  • Stay away from windows: Glass windows can break and cause injury during an earthquake, so it’s best to stay away from them.
  • Stay put: If you are in a tall building, do not try to evacuate during the shaking as the stairs can be hazardous. Stay in your current location and protect yourself until the shaking stops.
  • Turn off appliances: If you are at home, turn off appliances and gas valves to reduce the risk of fire.
  • Evacuate if necessary: If you are in a coastal area, evacuate to higher ground if there is a risk of a tsunami.

Don’ts during an earthquake:

  • Don’t run outside: Running outside during an earthquake can be dangerous as the ground may be unstable and you could trip and fall.
  • Don’t use elevators: Elevators can stop working during an earthquake, making them unsafe. Use the stairs instead.
  • Don’t light matches or candles: Gas leaks can occur during an earthquake, so it’s best not to light matches or candles.
  • Don’t panic: Stay calm and take action to protect yourself, but don’t panic as it can lead to irrational decisions.

Remember that earthquakes can happen at any time and can cause significant damage, so it’s important to be prepared and know what to do in case of an earthquake.

To be Continued



    • Yes, you are absolutely right, in panic fewer people think quickly, that’s why it is so important to have some practice /rehearsals involving all members of the family to apprise them, what to do in case of such like emergency. Just few rehearsals can be so helpful in times of need. Thanks for your input. Hope you continue with the same interest in future also. Part 2 of the same is published also.

  1. Thanks for the information.
    Causes of earthquake,,,lately it is being discussed that it can be triggered in a targeted area through advanced technology. For such purpose a laboratory is suspected to be located in Alaska,USA!!!
    With respect to building codes in highly vulnerable zones,,,wooden structures be preferred for dwelling purposes.

    • Pleasure to see the invaluable sharing Dr Basharat Ali Ch. Rightly pointed out the bitter reality, unfortunately countries involved in heinous Inhuman activities don’t realize, no sooner than later, they would be facing the same. Just like first nuclear explosion opened the door for other countries to follow the path. It is Indeed a crime against the humanity, least to say. Part 2 of the same is published please.

  2. A great resource for those seeking to learn about earthquakes after the recent disaster in Turkey.
    Well done, Hamid Mahmood!
    This article offers a comprehensive overview of earthquakes, including definitions, causes, measurements, and preparation. It covers prediction methods and provides clear, concise information about earthquakes and the various scales used to measure them. The article also offers practical advice for staying safe during an earthquake.

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