Earthquake

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the San Andreas Fault in the Carrizo Plain, northwest of Los Angeles.
Disatser caused by earthquake in 1755 in Lisbon

An Earthquake (also known as a quake, tremor or temblor) is motion of the Earth's crust which occurs with a sudden release of energy that creates seismic waves. The seismicity, seismism or seismic activity of an area refers to the frequency, type and size of earthquakes experienced over a period of time. Tectonic earthquakes occur anywhere in the earth where there is sufficient stored elastic strain energy to drive fracture propagation along a fault plane.

Quotes[edit]

  • The safest place to be during an earthquake would be in a stationary store.
  • Moreover, within the hollows of the earth,
    When from one quarter the wind builds up, lunges,
    Muscles the deep caves with its headstrong power,
    The earth leans hard where the force of wind has pressed it;
    Then above ground, the higher the house is built,
    The nearer it rises to the sky, the worse
    Will it lean that way and jut out perilously,
    The beams wrenched loose and hanging ready to fall.
    And to think, men can't believe that for this world
    Some time of death and ruin lies in wait,
    Yet they see so great a mass of earth collapse!
    And the winds pause for breath—that's lucky, for else
    No force could rein things galloping to destruction.
    But since they pause for breath, to rally their force,
    Come building up and then fall driven back,
    More often the earth will threaten ruin than
    Perform it. The earth will lean and then sway back,
    Its wavering mass restored to the right poise
    That explains why all houses reel, top floor
    Most then the middle, and ground floor hardly at all.
Earthquakes traveling through the interior of the globe are like so many messengers sent out to explore a new land. The messages are constantly coming and seismologists are fast learning to read them. - Reginald Aldworth Daly.
  • Earthquakes traveling through the interior of the globe are like so many messengers sent out to explore a new land. The messages are constantly coming and seismologists are fast learning to read them.
    • Reginald Aldworth Daly in “Our Mobile Earth” Chapter I, p. 5 quoted in : Carl C. Gaither, Alma E. Cavazos-Gaither “Gaither's Dictionary of Scientific Quotations”, p. 588
  • Our earth is very old, an old warrior that has lived through many battles. Nevertheless, the face of it is still changing, and science sees no certain limit of time for its stately evolution. Our solid earth, apparently so stable, inert, and finished, is changing, mobile, and still evolving. Its major quakings are largely the echoes of that divine far-off event, the building of our noble mountains. The lava floods and intriguing volcanoes tell us of the plasticity, mobility, of the deep interior of the globe. The slow coming and going of ancient shallow seas on the continental plateaus tell us of the rhythmic distortion of the deep interior-deep-seated flow and changes of volume. Mountain chains prove the earth's solid crust itself to be mobile in high degree. And the secret of it all—the secret of the earthquake, the secret of the “temple of fire,” the secret of the ocean basin, the secret of the highland—is in the heart of the earth, forever invisible to human eyes.
  • I happened to be [on February 1835] on shore [in Chile], and was lying down in the wood to rest myself. It came on suddenly, and lasted two minutes; but the time appeared much longer. The rocking of the ground was most sensible. The undulations appeared to my companion and myself to come from due east; whilst others thought they proceeded from south-west; which shows how difficult it is in all cases to perceive the direction of these vibrations. There was no difficulty in standing upright, but the motion made me almost giddy. It was something like the movement of a vessel in a little cross ripple, or still more like that felt by a person skating over thin ice, which bends under the weight of his body.
    • Charles Darwin in: Richard V. Lee “Darwin’s Earthquake” Sourced from Darwin’s Journal of Researches, p. 898
  • A bad earthquake at once destroys the oldest associations: the world, the very emblem of all that is solid, has moved beneath our feet like a crust over a fluid; one second of time has conveyed to the mind a strange idea of insecurity, which hours of reflection would never have created.
    • Charles Darwin in: Richard V. Lee “Darwin’s Earthquake” Sourced from Darwin’s Journal of Researches, p. 898
  • Earthquakes may be brought about because wind is caught up in the earth, so the earth is dislocated in small masses and is continually shaken, and that causes it to sway.
  • Most of these Mountains and Inland places whereon these kind of Petrify'd Bodies and Shells are found at present, or have been heretofore, were formerly under the Water, and that either by the descending of the Waters to another part of the Earth by the alteration of the Centre of Gravity of the whole bulk, or rather by the Eruption of some kind of Subterraneous Fires or Earthquakes, great quantities of Earth have been deserted by the Water and laid bare and dry.
  • ...the surface of the earth was subject to alterations by natural events, such as earthquakes, volcanoes, and the erosive action of wind and water, operating over very long periods of time. Changes in the land created new environments and fostered adaptations in life forms that could lead to the formation of new species. Without the demonstration of the accumulation of multiple crustal events over time in Chile, the biologic implications of the specific species of birds and tortoises found in the Galapagos Islands and the formulation of the concept of natural selection might have remained dormant.
  • Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, and in one place after another food shortages and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and from heaven great signs.
  • Nature uncovers the inner secrets of nature in two ways: one by the force of bodies operating outside it; the other by the very movements of its innards. The external actions are strong winds, rains, river currents, sea waves, ice, forest fires, floods; there is only one internal force—earthquake.
  • It must have appeared almost as improbable to the earlier geologists, that the laws of earthquakes should one day throw light on the origin of mountains, as it must to the first astronomers, that the fall of an apple should assist in explaining the motions of the moon.
At half-past two o'clock of a moonlit morning in March, I was awakened by a tremendous earthquake, and though I hadn ever before enjoyed a storm of this sort, the strange thrilling motion could not be mistaken, and I ran out of my cabin, both glad and frightened, shouting, "A noble earthquake! A noble earthquake" feeling sure I was going to learn something. - John Muir.
  • At half-past two o'clock of a moonlit morning in March, I was awakened by a tremendous earthquake, and though I hadn't ever before enjoyed a storm of this sort, the strange thrilling motion could not be mistaken, and I ran out of my cabin, both glad and frightened, shouting, "A noble earthquake! A noble earthquake" feeling sure I was going to learn something.
  • The shocks were so violent and varied, and succeeded one another so closely, that I had to balance myself carefully in walking as if on the deck of a ship among waves, and it seemed impossible that the high cliffs of the Valley could escape being shattered. In particular, I feared that the sheer-fronted Sentinel Rock, towering above my cabin, would be shaken down, and I took shelter back of a large yellow pine, hoping that it might protect me from at least the smaller outbounding boulders.
    • John Muir in: "John Muir and the March 26, 1872, Owens Valley Earthquake".
  • Just as the spectroscope opened up a new astronomy by enabling the astronomer to determine some of the constituents of which distant stars are composed, so the seismograph, recording the unfelt motion of distant earthquakes, enables us to see into the earth and determine its nature with as great a certainty, up to a certain point, as if we could drive a tunnel through it and take samples of the matter passed through.
Damage during 2010 Haiti earthquake.
As seismologists gained more experience from earthquake records, it became obvious that the problem could not be reduced to a single peak acceleration. In fact, a full frequency of vibrations occurs. - Charles Francis Richter.
Seismometer used for measurement of magnitude of earthquake. - I think that harping on [earthquake] prediction is something between a will-o'-the-wisp and a red herring. Attention is thereby diverted away from positive measures to eliminate earthquake risk. -Charles Francis Richter.
  • The most remarkable feature about the magnitude scale was that it worked at all and that it could be extended on a worldwide basis. It was originally envisaged as a rather rough-and-ready procedure by which we could grade earthquakes. We would have been happy if we could have assigned just three categories, large, medium, and small; the point is, we wanted to avoid personal judgments. It actually turned out to be quite a finely tuned scale.
  • Most loss of life and property has been due to the collapse of antiquated and unsafe structures, mostly of brick and other masonry. … There is progress of California toward building new construction according to earthquake-resistant design. We would have less reason to ask for earthquake prediction if this was universal.
  • I think that harping on [earthquake] prediction is something between a will-o'-the-wisp and a red herring. Attention is thereby diverted away from positive measures to eliminate earthquake risk.
  • Once you have been in an earthquake you know, even if you survive without a scratch, that like a stroke in the heart, it remains in the earth's breast, horribly potential, always promising to return, to hit you again, with an even more devastating force. ”
  • When Benjamin Franklin invented the lightning-rod, the clergy, both in England and America, with the enthusiastic support of George III, condemned it as an impious attempt to defeat the will of God. For, as all right-thinking people were aware, lightning is sent by God to punish impiety or some other grave sin—the virtuous are never struck by lightning. Therefore if God wants to strike any one, Benjamin Franklin [and his lightning-rod] ought not to defeat His design; indeed, to do so is helping criminals to escape. But God was equal to the occasion, if we are to believe the eminent Dr. Price, one of the leading divines of Boston. Lightning having been rendered ineffectual by the “iron points invented by the sagacious Dr. Franklin,” Massachusetts was shaken by earthquakes, which Dr. Price perceived to be due to God’s wrath at the “iron points.” In a sermon on the subject he said,“In Boston are more erected than elsewhere in New England, and Boston seems to be more dreadfully shaken. Oh! there is no getting out of the mighty hand of God.” Apparently, however, Providence gave up all hope of curing Boston of its wickedness, for, though lightning-rods became more and more common, earthquakes in Massachusetts have remained rare.
  • Diseased nature oftentimes breaks forth
    In strange eruptions; oft the teeming earth
    Is with a kind of colic pinch'd and vex'd
    By the imprisoning of unruly wind
    Within her womb; which, for enlargement striving,
    Shakes the old beldam earth and topples down
    Steeples and moss-grown towers.
  • The Earth is God's pinball machine and each quake, tidal wave, flash flood and volcanic eruption is the result of a TILT that occurs when God, cheating, tries to win free games.
  • We know we cannot underestimate the importance of emergency planning in our region, nor can we assume we'll have ample warning time. If an earthquake or terrorist attack hits, we won't necessarily have advance alerts or opportunities to double- and triple-check our plans.
  • Man survives earthquakes, epidemics, the horrors of disease, and agonies of the soul, but all the time his most tormenting tragedy has been, is, and will always be, the tragedy of the bedroom.”
  • Opinions have caused more ills than the plague or earthquakes on this little globe of ours.
    • Voltaire, in a letter to Élie Bertrand (5 January 1759)

External links[edit]

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