Causes, Effects and Geographical Distribution of Earthquakes

Updated on August 3, 2017
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Varsha is an enthusiast writer who loves to share informational content. She mostly writes about geographical phenomena.

Causes of Earthquakes

Earthquakes are caused by disturbances in the interior of the earth and other causes.

  1. Tectonic Movements: The disturbances inside the earth are called tectonic movements. These forces bring about changes on the earth surface and physical features like mountains, plateaus and rift valleys are formed. Most disastrous earthquakes are caused by tectonic forces. Tectonic forces create tension and pressure and the stress begins to build up inside the earth. When the stress tends to be more than what the rocks of the earth can bear, the rocks are broken and displaced from their state of equilibrium. It is known as faulting. The energy accumulated during faulting is released. This release of energy gives rise to mighty waves. These waves originate from a point called Focus in the interior of the earth and then spread out in all directions. On the surface whatever comes into their contact begins to vibrate. The chief cause of earthquakes felt often in California in the USA is often the San Andreas Fault found there.
  2. Volcanic Eruptions: The volcanic eruptions are often very violent and cause vibrations in the earth crust. Sometimes the vent of a volcano is blocked temporarily and explosive eruption takes place suddenly causing tremors in the earth crust. The Krakatoa that erupted in 1883 became the cause of a violent earthquake there.
  3. Other Reasons: The roofs of underground caves sometimes give way and release great force to cause minor tremors in the earth crust. Nuclear explosions also release massive energy to cause tremors in the earth crust.

Source

Effects of Earthquakes

Earthquakes are less advantageous and more harmful to man. Damage done is chiefly in following respects:

  1. Loss of Property: Severe earthquakes reduce to rubble human structures ranging from huts to palaces and single storey to multi storey buildings. Even pipelines laid under the ground and railway lines are damaged or displaced. The best example of this type of damage is Koyana earthquake in 1970.
  2. Loss of Life: Earthquake tremors of a few seconds takes the lives of thousands of people. Many people have been rendered homeless or suffered injuries in various ways.
  3. Changes in the course of rivers: On account of the impact of earthquakes, sometimes rivers also change their course. Consequently, when floods come they play havoc with people's lives.
  4. Tsunamis: The earthquakes in the sea generate massive waves called Tsunami in Japanese language. It sometimes rises to the height of 20-25 metres. It causes great damage to life and property of people living in coastal areas as well as to tourists. Tsunami caused by an earthquake in the sea near Sumatra on 26th Dec, 2004 hit southeast Asian countries including India and Sri Lanka. There was heavy damage in these countries. More than 3 lakh people died.
  5. Mud Fountains: On account of earthquakes of high intensity, warm water and mud fountains also burst.
  6. Cracks in Earth Crust: Earthquake cause cracks in earth's crust anywhere in fields, roads, parks and even hills. They are thus rendered useless. The San Andreas fault in California, U.S.A. was created in a similar manner.

Source

Did You Know?

About 90% of the world's earthquakes and 81% of the world's largest earthquakes occur along the Ring of Fire.

Geographical Distribution of Earthquakes

It is true that the earthquakes can happen in any part of the world. But in the areas of faulting and folding or of crustal weakness, the frequency of earthquakes is more than anywhere else. The earthquakes are concentrated in two main belts.

  1. Circum-Pacific Earthquake Belt: This belt includes all the coastal areas around the vast pacific ocean. This belt extends as an isostatically sensitive zone through the coasts of Alaska, Aleutian Islands, Japan, Philippines, New Zealand, North and South America. This zone accounts for 68% of all earthquakes on the surface of the earth. The most talked about earthquake areas in this zone include Japan, Chile, California and Mexico.
  2. Mediterranean-Asia Earthquake Belt: This belt begins from Alps mountain range and passes through Turkey, Caucasus Range, Iran, Iraq, Himalayan mountains and Tibet to China. One of its branches passes through Mongolia and Lake Baikal and another branch extends to Myanmar. About 31% of world's earthquakes are located in this region.
  3. Other Areas: These include Northern Africa and Rift Valley areas of the Red Sea and the Dead Sea. In addition to these, the ocean ridges are also active earthquake zones.

Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        Nishant 3 days ago

        Quite helpful for geography projects!

        very good

      • profile image

        Gargi 6 days ago

        Nice things for projects

      • profile image

        Aarya 8 days ago

        Very nice nd helpful points it helped a lot In my geography project Ty !

      • profile image

        Ayush Hudait 9 days ago

        It was very good

      • profile image

        Rashmi 2 weeks ago

        Maam this was very helpfull for my assignment thanks for this

      • profile image

        Sara 6 weeks ago

        Perfect fact

      • profile image

        aaryan 6 weeks ago

        i think the distribution of earthquakes is into 4.according to spacial distribution earthquake regions are circum pacific belt,midatlantic belt,midcontinental belt and interplate seismicity.if i am right post a reply varsha

      • profile image

        Vijay daa 2 months ago

        nice for student

      • profile image

        Tayong 3 months ago

        This is helpful too

      • profile image

        Kyle 3 months ago

        This was helpful for my school assignment.

      • profile image

        Pooja Gurjar 4 months ago

        I like very much and it helps me very much

      • varsha bang profile image
        Author

        Varsha 5 months ago from India

        Thankyou

      • profile image

        Emilio 5 months ago

        I like this

      • profile image

        Sneha 5 months ago

        Thank you

      • varsha bang profile image
        Author

        Varsha 8 months ago from India

        thankyou supriya

      • profile image

        supriya limboo 8 months ago

        Extremely fab collections about earthquake

      • varsha bang profile image
        Author

        Varsha 9 months ago from India

        It's authentic Scarlet. Don't worry about it. I research a lot before writing any article.

      • profile image

        scarlet 9 months ago

        it is right? maybe because i`ll copy it even i dont know if it is right or wrong

      • varsha bang profile image
        Author

        Varsha 11 months ago from India

        Thankyou so much for appreciating my work. Glad to hear that it was helpful.

      • profile image

        MH RUBEL 11 months ago

        not bad

      • profile image

        Anchal 12 months ago

        Very helpful

        Thanks a lot for yr support

      • profile image

        Sergeant Fluffles 12 months ago

        Earthquakes are DESTRUCTIVE things they are terrifying and unpredictable. You never know when an earthquake will strike so always be cautious.

      • profile image

        Kylie M. 13 months ago

        Good Job!!!

      • profile image

        Kylie 13 months ago

        These are cool causes and effects

      • profile image

        Yuktha K Iyer 16 months ago

        Good explanation !!!!!!!!!!!!

      • profile image

        yo!!! 19 months ago

        it's fine

      • profile image

        tanu 22 months ago

        Thanks it help in my assignment

      • profile image

        dumisile sibanda 22 months ago

        it was useful

      • profile image

        Dj Khaled 2 years ago

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        That is very not nice if it wasn't useful for you then get the f out of here. lol jk i don't care about your opinions.

        - Savage Khaled

      • profile image

        Dj Khaled 2 years ago

        lol dis is gud for mi and mi work.

        No seriously this helped me on my geography project.

        You smart, you loyal.

        - Dj Khaled

      • profile image

        frkjewkewkldekmrekmorekmoewmkodwmokdwmkdemefomerk 2 years ago

        not helpful at all

      • profile image

        fuckerface 2 years ago

        It's really informatic web were it shown an awesome idea or details.

      • profile image

        Ruheen 2 years ago

        It is good for information, homework's eve test's its fab!

      • profile image

        2 years ago

        verrrry useful for my project so,thanks. If u will add earthquake's planning,prepardness,mitigation and recovery means it will be verrrry....good.

      • profile image

        inayat ullah 2 years ago

        Very nice discribing.

      • profile image

        Subham 2 years ago

        To be honest, it was very useful

      • profile image

        adhvaid 2 years ago

        thanks.it helped me in my project

      • profile image

        Gurkirat saini 2 years ago

        Help in project

      • profile image

        princes 2 years ago

        it is help for me

      • profile image

        rockstar 2 years ago

        Its good help's in my homework

      • profile image

        Satyam 2 years ago

        Add Your Comment.. It is very helpful for me.

      • profile image

        Messi 2 years ago

        very good information

      • profile image

        roushan raza 2 years ago

        Its very good children are eork from this

      • profile image

        Mira 2 years ago

        It helped in the group work.... Thank u so much...

      • profile image

        manmeet 3 years ago

        Nice I used it for homework thanks for this webpage

      • profile image

        sounil 3 years ago

        thanks.i was looking for a perfect document and i got it......

      • profile image

        somebody 3 years ago

        i wanna write an essay, how should i write it

      • profile image

        JOANNA DAS 3 years ago

        ALL THESE EXPLAINATIONS HELPED IN PROJECT THNXSSSSSS

      • profile image

        Ruchi 3 years ago

        Not bad but it's good

      • profile image

        Aishu 3 years ago

        Nice and its more usefull so thankyou

      • profile image

        sai sruthi 3 years ago

        Awesome and good explaintion

      • profile image

        Anirban Sarkar 3 years ago

        Thanks for helping me in my project by giving all the details of causes, effects and distribution briefly.

      • profile image

        Nimwell King Kwofie, Ghana 3 years ago

        Not bad at all but the distribution should have mentioned more towns and countries with their intensities and not just the zone and few cities and countries.

        thanks

      • profile image

        lekha 3 years ago

        Thanks

      • profile image

        zero nuni 3 years ago

        Good

      • profile image

        cece 3 years ago

        dis is good

      • profile image

        anita khan 3 years ago

        thanks for the help

      • profile image

        sphEsh.kunGwayo 3 years ago

        earthquake is a hOrribLe disaster n as i reaD moRe abOut iT i thInK its epResivE oF what oUr

        desIgners 4KiT 4 earthquake safefty dwn 4us keeP up thE gOod work

      • profile image

        Aditya Singh 3 years ago

        It was good I used it for homework but it would be more nice if you give more points to causes of earthquake overall it was good.

      • profile image

        Web surfer 4 years ago

        This document lacked in information about when It was written and published.

      • profile image

        Janae 4 years ago

        If y'all have earth quakes be ok

      • profile image

        adriana 4 years ago

        Okay

      • profile image

        Apples 4 years ago

        You give a very strong argument, but I still think not

      • profile image

        shabeera sharif. 4 years ago

        it's very useful to all of us. Whenwe were in the trouble that of earthquake to escape from it we should have like this of a information.

        thankyou.

      • profile image

        vishal singh 4 years ago

        It is very important to know about Earthquake because when they come they create so problems .and this webpage helps us to know about about earthquake.very useful webpage

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