Methods of Reducing Earthquake Hazards

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What is an Earthquake?

An earthquake can be defined as the trembling or shaking of the earth's surface resulting due to the friction caused by the tectonic plates. These plates are found in the Earth's crust and are separated by plate boundaries. Any friction in these edges or boundaries results in the formation of seismic waves causing the earth's surface and the ground to move.


The after-effects of an earthquake are huge resulting in the formation of seismic waves. The movements of these waves shake the surface of the earth and result in earthquakes. 


The aftermath of an earthquake is huge. It destroys several buildings, infrastructure and even loss of life on a severe level. The level of damage caused depends on the intensity of the earthquake. Therefore, many scientists do a study on understanding the ground motions of an earthquake and recording it with the help of a seismograph. This awareness of earthquake geology is very important to predict any future earthquakes and mitigate the hazards caused by them.


In this article, we provided information on the causes of an earthquake and also some methods for reducing earthquake hazards. This article can be referred to by the students as a reference to prepare for their examination.

What Causes an Earthquake?

An earthquake occurs due to the friction caused by two blocks of the earth. These blocks are known as the tectonic plates. The edges of these plates are separated by plate boundaries and the movement of these plates causes a planar fracture in the earth’s crust (also known as fault), thus, resulting in an earthquake.  This surface of friction is also called the fault plane. 


The surface of the earth where the earthquake originated is known as the epicentre. It is a location above the earth’s surface. While the area of origin below the surface of the earth is called the hypocentre of the earthquake. 

An earthquake can be followed by aftershocks. These are occurrences of small earthquakes after a regular interval of time. This occurs mostly after a larger earthquake having a high intensity. The aftershocks of an earthquake may continue for several hours to days or even years depending upon the intensity of the main earthquake.  The location below the earth’s surface where the earthquake starts is called the hypocenter, and the location directly above it on the surface of the earth is called the epicenter.

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Methods of Reducing Earthquake Hazards

Over the several years, scientists have been trying their best to record the ground motions and do a study on earthquake geology. These studies help scientists to detect the earthquake-prone areas of the world and makes people aware of the occurrence of an earthquake in the near future. The geology of an earthquake is studied through seismograph. This gives the appropriate information on the epicentre and intensity of the earthquake. The size of an earthquake is provided on the Richter scale and the severity of damages caused by earthquakes totally depends on the magnitude of it. Every year, several lifeforms, infrastructures and natural habitats are destroyed due to the consequences of earthquakes. Henceforth, it is important for us to be aware of the precautionary measures to reduce the hazards.

Given below are Some of the Methods of Reducing Earthquake Hazards:

  1. To understand and evaluate the damages caused by the strong shaking of the ground.

  2. To evaluate and improve the infrastructure and design strategies of the buildings for making them more resistant to earthquakes.

  3. To introduce new methods to predict and study the seismic performance of buildings and structures.

  4. Improving earthquake provisions of building codes, and

  5. Assessing building safety immediately following a damaging quake.

  6. To improve the system and methods of seismic monitoring, especially in earthquake-prone areas. 

  7. Attaching sensors in the buildings to make people aware and safeguard them from any future earthquake.

Although earthquakes occur in an unpredictable manner, following these methods will somehow reduce the damages caused by earthquakes and will safeguard the people beforehand.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are Faults? 

Ans. Faults can be defined as the planar fracture between the tectonic plates caused due to the friction between them. Most earthquakes take place on these faults and the area of friction is known as the fault plane.

2. What is a Richter Scale?

Ans. A Richter scale can be defined as a logarithmic scale that is used for measuring the magnitude of the seismic waves and gives the intensity of the earthquake caused. The scale ranges from 1 to 10 depending on the intensity.

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