Earthquake Cause and Effect Essay Sample
Earthquakes are one of the worst and deadliest natural disasters that can occur. They are due to different factors and leave behind after-effects in their wake. An earthquake is the sudden release of strain energy in the crust of the planet’s surface, which will result in shaking that resonates outwards from the source. Simply, it is the sudden shaking of the Earth’s surface and can also be called a quake, tremor, or tremblor.
Earthquakes come in different sizes, as some are weak and cannot be felt, while others are violent and can destroy cities. The frequency, size, and type of quakes experienced are called seismicity. Earthquakes can be a result of volcanic action too. Furthermore, they have various effects that disturb lives and property.
The Valdivia Earthquake, also known as the Great Chilean, is the most powerful earthquake ever recorded. It occurred on the 22nd of May, 1960, with studies placing it between 9.4 and 9.6 on the moment magnitude scale. The main cause of the quake was tension released by the Nazca plate under the South American plate. The earthquake lasted for about 10 minutes and resulted in tsunamis that affected Hawaii, southern Chile, eastern New Zealand, the Aleutian Islands, Japan, southeast Australia, and the Philippines.
Causes of Earthquakes
The main cause of the quakes is the sudden release of stress from the faults in the Earth’s crust. In this guide on how to do a cause and effect essay, we will cover the causes of an earthquake. As the continuous motion of layers transpires, it causes a gradual build-up of pressure on both sides of a fault. This happens because of plate boundaries that are moving. Once the stress is too significant, it is released in a shaky movement. So, how are earthquakes caused? Here are the factors causing quakes.
Tectonic Movements of the Earth
One of the leading causes of an earthquake is movement from the tectonics. This is a shift of the planes making up the crust. Our planet consists of about a dozen major plates and several minor ones and is constantly changing.
The tectonic plates frequently move slowly, but sometimes, they get stuck because of friction. When the stress on the crust becomes more significant than the friction, an earthquake happens to release energy. This brings about a shaky feeling in steps through the planet’s crust. Little movement from the tectonic caused big things such as the happenings in the Ring of Fire.
Seismic waves are one of the causes of earthquakes. These are elastic ripples generated by an impulse, like an earthquake. The energy from the fault in the crust of the planet will radiate outward in different directions through seismicity. Think of it as ripples on a pond. As the ripples move through the surface, they shake the floor and anything on it. These can be in the form of ripples, which is when an earthquake happens more than once. North Carolina earthquake events occur because of seismicity, although they don’t have significant damage.
Compressions in the Crust of the Earth
Compression in the crust happens when plate tectonics are pushed together. The crust will become shorter and thicker, and depending on how it reacts to the force, it can lead to an earthquake. Due to compression, many quakes that occur in Australia are caused by these shifts along faults. Also, the main cause of the Northridge earthquake 1994 was the compressions on the planet’s surface.
Volcanic eruptions are one of the less likely causes of an earthquake, depending on the volcano that erupts. The earthquake will be triggered when an explosion of an explosive volcano. These ripples have a wider effect than volcanic eruptions when they trigger an earthquake. In the case of volcanic eruptions, around 20 miles of the region around the volcano will be affected when it erupts. The largest volcanic tremor took place under Mount St. Helens in 1981, with an intensity of 5.5.
Disturbances on the Surface
In general, an earthquake can be caused by disturbances on the surface. Technology advancement is one of the popular cause/effect essay topics, which is to some extent responsible for catastrophes like an earthquake. Humanity builds skyscrapers, constructs dams, and gets water from underground. Dams and reservoirs are known to trigger earthquakes, especially when a dam structure fails.
For instance, the 2008 happening in Sichuan, China, which killed about 70,000 persons, was triggered by the nearby Zipping Dam construction. Another disturbance is groundwater extraction, as this can destabilize an existing fault. Hydraulic fracking is a method of extracting natural resources. It works when shale formations underneath are injected with a mixture of chemicals and water at high pressure. Fracking has had such an impact on the environment causing earthquakes.
Big buildings and skyscrapers can also add significant pressure on the Earth’s surface and crack rudimentary rocks.
Effects of Earthquakes
When an earthquake happens, it leaves behind five primary outcomes and fires, a significant secondary impact of quakes. The effects of earthquakes on the Earth are often devastating, with people getting killed and injured, buildings getting destroyed, and the emotional and mental health of those affected. That’s why the investigation of this topic is so crucial in minimizing the adverse outcomes.
If you need an essay discussing this or any similar topic, our custom essay writing services can help you get the job done quickly and professionally. Now, let’s get to the main repercussions of quakes.
One of the most negative effects of earthquakes is surface shaking. During this time, buildings can be damaged, humans and animals will not be able to stand up or move around, and objects can be tossed around regardless of how big they are. Lives are taken in earthquakes but not directly by the shaking. Instead, it is caused by shaking, like buildings collapsing or getting hit by large objects.
The shaking of unstable slopes and direct blowout during an earthquake can lead to a landslide. Landslides are harmful effects of earthquakes and can damage buildings, tumbling hilltop homes, and block roads and transport lines. When a landslide happens, parts of the planet slide down and block an area. It can affect transportation after the earthquake, causing increased expenditure and leading to injuries and death for people there.
Another effect of quakes is surface breaking, which happens when the earthquake breaks the surface. As the earthquake occurs along a fault-line, it breaks through the Earth’s surface and can damage roads, pipelines, railway lines, tunnels, and airport runways. They will be damaged in the aftermath of an earthquake. An example of surface damage during an earthquake was the 1906 quake in California. The main cause of the quake was a slip of the San Andreas fault. The San Andreas fault is a major fracture of the planet’s crust.
Although this is a less common effect, an earthquake causes a tsunami. Tsunamis are water or tidal shakes that cause grave danger to places around the world, especially those in the Pacific Northwest region. An earthquake can cause the seafloor to move vertically apart from the normal floor. This will shake up the ocean and come in a series of floods to the beach. Tsunamis can move more than 700 kilometers per hour, causing flooding. It can damage properties and lead to death and injury too. Places close to the ocean are often subjected to tsunamis during an earthquake.
Liquefaction is one of the outcomes of an earthquake that happens on the unconsolidated surface. When sediment grains are made to float in groundwater, the soil will lose all its solidity, and this is liquefaction. Tremors and earthquakes can cause mud and sand to spray over a couple of meters, posing a danger to buildings, train lines, gas lines, roads, and airport runways. Buildings can tip over and sink because of the liquefied soils, as occurred in the 1964 Niigata earthquake in Japan. Even septic tanks and gas tanks can float to the surface. Liquefaction after earthquakes leads to damages worth millions of dollars.
This essay has highlighted the cause and effect of earthquakes. Earthquakes are severe natural disasters caused by shifts in the crust of the Earth. Compressions on the planet’s surface, human disturbances like skyscrapers and dams, and tectonics moving can cause earthquakes. When they occur, consequences like landslides, ruptures, tsunamis, and more will follow. Some of the top countries prone to quakes are China, Indonesia, Turkey, Peru, Iran, Turkey, the United States, Japan, and Italy. China has gone through 157 earthquakes between 1900 and 2016. People living in these areas have precautions taken to protect themselves from injury during an earthquake.