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Causes,Effects and Geographical Distribution of Earthquakes

Updated on July 19, 2013

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 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.

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.

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 Red Sea and Dead Sea.In addition to these,the ocean ridges are also active earthquake zones.


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      Varsha 4 weeks ago from India

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

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      MH RUBEL 7 weeks ago

      not bad

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      Anchal 7 weeks ago

      Very helpful

      Thanks a lot for yr support

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      Sergeant Fluffles 2 months ago

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

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      Kylie M. 2 months ago

      Good Job!!!

    • profile image

      Kylie 2 months ago

      These are cool causes and effects

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      Yuktha K Iyer 6 months ago

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

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      yo!!! 9 months ago

      it's fine

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      tanu 12 months ago

      Thanks it help in my assignment

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      dumisile sibanda 12 months ago

      it was useful

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      Dj Khaled 14 months ago


      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

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      Dj Khaled 14 months 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

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      frkjewkewkldekmrekmorekmoewmkodwmokdwmkdemefomerk 16 months ago

      not helpful at all

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

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      Ruheen 20 months ago

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

    • profile image

      21 months 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.

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      inayat ullah 21 months ago

      Very nice discribing.

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      Subham 23 months ago

      To be honest, it was very useful

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      adhvaid 23 months ago helped me in my project

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      Gurkirat saini 2 years ago

      Help in project

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      it is help for me

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      rockstar 2 years ago

      Its good help's in my homework

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      Satyam 2 years ago

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      Messi 2 years ago

      very good information

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      Its very good children are eork from this

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      Mira 2 years ago

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

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      manmeet 2 years ago

      Nice I used it for homework thanks for this webpage

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      JOANNA DAS 2 years ago


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      Ruchi 2 years ago

      Not bad but it's good

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      Aishu 2 years ago

      Nice and its more usefull so thankyou

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      sai sruthi 2 years ago

      Awesome and good explaintion

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      Anirban Sarkar 2 years ago

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

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      Nimwell King Kwofie, Ghana 2 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.


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      lekha 2 years ago


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      zero nuni 2 years ago


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      cece 2 years ago

      dis is good

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      anita khan 2 years ago

      thanks for the help

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      sphEsh.kunGwayo 2 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

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      Aditya Singh 2 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.

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      Web surfer 3 years ago

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

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      Janae 3 years ago

      If y'all have earth quakes be ok

    • profile image

      adriana 3 years ago


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      Apples 3 years ago

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

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      shabeera sharif. 3 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.


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      vishal singh 3 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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