Earthquakes are a natural phenomenon that has a devastating effect on life and the environment. They can hit any place at any time but are usually more frequent in the Mid-Atlantic Range, the Circum-Pacific Seismic Belt and Alpide Earthquake Belt. It’s natural for an area closer to the epicenter of an earthquake to have robust vibration intensity, resulting in severe damages and higher casualties. However, the recent Turkey-Syria earthquake had the longest earthquake survivor, whom the rescue teams discovered 11 days after the seismic event actually took place
The incident has raised a question regarding the length of survival time of the trapped victims. Experts opine it largely depends on factors like the injury level, prevalent weather conditions, access to water etc. Let us discuss how earthquakes happen, what procedures seismologists follow to measure them and how to prepare beforehand to evade their terrible effects.
Earthquake: Its causes and effects!
Earthquakes are one of the most horrific natural disasters caused due to the movement of the tectonic plates along the fault line. It appears as a violent shaking to the earth’s surface, resulting in landslides, fissures, fires, tsunamis and avalanches, taking a toll on human life and property. There are also other reasons why earthquakes happen. The following are some of them:
- A volcanic eruption can cause a shift in the tectonic plates leading to disruptions in the earth’s surface.
- Human actions like mining and the construction of tunnels can often produce seismic waves, inviting an earthquake.
- An underground explosion of nuclear or chemical devices releases forces that cause earthquakes.
By now, you already know how earthquakes occur; let us delve into the effects it produces. Here they are:
- An earthquake can destroy entire cities. It collapses buildings, bridges and other structures, causing grave physical and financial injuries, often resulting in death.
- The seismic waves during an earthquake cause the ground to shake heavily. This can result in landslides and road cracks, causing higher chances of accidents and hampering normal life.
- Walls of the dams can collapse due to the high magnitude of an earthquake, flooding an entire village.
Measuring an Earthquake: Use of Richter & MMI Scale!
Do you wish to know how earthquakes are measured? You require having an in-depth understanding of the Richter and MMI (Modified Mercalli Intensity) Scale. They are the essential tools that measure the magnitude and intensity of the seismic shock. Magnitude means the size of the earthquake or the energy released during the seismic event. The Richter scale records it in numbers ranging from 0 to 10. Conversely, the MMI scale can record the intensity of damage caused by the earthquake. The measurement in this device ranges from 1 to 12.
As earthquakes are unpredictable, the best way to avoid damage to life and property is to have prior preparations. You can chalk out an emergency plan and keep all your vital documents in one place. Also, keep items like flashlights, fire extinguishers and whistles handy.
Besides, if you are staying in an earthquake-prone zone, stock up on necessities for emergency needs and consider fixing the structural issues of your house to prevent it from collapsing. Last but not the least, do not panic and safely move to an open area to avoid severe damage.