Earthquakes are among the natural disasters like floods, volcanoes, tsunamis etc. Earthquakes are brought about when plates comprising the crust of the earth are displaced due to the intense force. As a result, the friction holding together the plates is overcome and they slide over one another. This causes vibrations to be produced which are felt by us. The extent of these vibrations can be very minute and go from being unnoticeable to being highly devastating and bring down buildings etc.
P waves or Primary waves cause particle movement back and forth in the same direction as that of the wave travel while Secondary or S waves cause vibrations perpendicular to their direction of travel. There are three classes in general of earthquakes. They are tectonic, volcanic and artificially produced. The tectonic class is considered to be the most destructive of the lot because it comprises the movement of a number of major and minor plates of the earth’s crust as a result of which they slide over one another and produce a major shake on the earth.
Earthquakes produced below seas produce waves of high length whose common name is Tsunami. This causes huge waves of up to ten meters to strike the coastline and wash away life with it.
There are two ways to measure earthquake intensity. One of them is the Richter scale which is named after the American seismologist Francis Richter and is a logarithmic scale. Another scale is invented by the Italian seismologist Giuseppe Mercalli and is graded between I to XII.
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