All Weather News

Understanding Earthquakes

14 Feb 2018, 11:23 am

Earthquakes happen when two pieces of the earth slip past one another. This most commonly occurs near a fault…or a fracture near 2 blocks of rock.

There are several major faults in the US. The most notable ones are the New Madrid Fault, the Ramapo fault and of course, the San Andreas fault.

The San Andreas Fault is found in California where more than 10,000 quakes happen every year. And About 15-20 quakes happen each year that can be felt but not all are devastating. Earthquakes are commonly ranked by the amount of energy they release and the impacts they cause. The Richter scale is a way to measure earthquakes, with lower numbers like 2 or 3 given to less intense quakes, while higher numbers like 8,9, or above often are the most intense and impacting. 

The last big quake to happen in the US was early in 2018 when a 7.9 major earthquake hit just off the Alaskan coast. Major earthquakes like this are rare. Since 2000, only 11 major earthquakes have occurred in the U.S..

But earthquakes happen all over the world. Each year an average of 500,000 earthquakes are recorded. Only 20% of those quakes are actually felt by humans and more astonishing…only .0002%, or near 100 quakes per year, cause damage!

Unfortunately, there is no way to predict earthquakes right now.

For WeatherNation, I’m meteorologist Andy stein