There are few things that are more unpredictable and scary than an earthquake. Earthquakes could be described as earth-shaking, causing great damage to buildings as well as loss of life.

Earthquakes happen because of faults in the earth’s crust. A fault in geographic terms is a crack in the earth’s crust. The plates on either side of the fault line sometimes press and grind against each other or slide past each other.    ​

An earthquake happens when a rock within the fault line suddenly breaks and gives way.

Sometimes rocks beneath the earth also break and are shoved upward or go downward. Either of these will cause massive shifts in the earth’s crust resulting in earthquakes.

The place where the rocks break is called the focus. The ground directly above the focus is called the epicenter of the earthquake. Earthquakes are strongest at the epicenter.

Earthquakes send out energy through the earth’s crust in shockwave waves. An earthquake that happens close to or under the sea can displace water and result in a tsunami.

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