Earthquakes are experienced as a sudden shaking of the Earth due to the release of stored energy within the Earth’s fault lines. The Earth’s outer shell, called the lithosphere, consists of tectonic plates, and the horizontal sliding of these plates causes friction and stress resulting in pent-up energy being released. Seismic waves affected by the release of energy cause the ground to shake.
Fact 1. During and after an earthquake, the plates keep moving until they find a stable point. The focus of the collision is called the epicentre of the earthquake.
Fact 2. Â The Pacific Ring of Fire contains the Pacific Plate, which has its boundaries along most other plates such as the Indo-Australian Plate. About 90 percent of the world’s earthquakes strike this region with 5-6 percent striking the Alpide Belt, extending from the Mediterranean region, Turkey, Iran, and northern India.
Fact 3. Â There are signs of changes in the Earth’s environment before an earthquake occurs. Â These include low-frequency electromagnetic waves emitted from the ground, luminous earthquake lights, infrared emissions originating from the epicenter, changes in the atmosphere in the ground up to an altitude of 12,000m, perturbations in the ionosphere, and chemical changes in sources of water.
Fact 4. Â Seismic activities can release defective electrons which can move quickly into the water sources and the atmosphere, distorting the chemical composition. These can form new irritants which are detected by animals.
Fact 5. Â Currently, most instances of anomalous behaviour amongst animals has been isolated incidents requiring further research. The most conclusive research on the behaviour of animals prior to an earthquake has been toads. It was observed that toads exhibited unusual behaviour a few days prior to an earthquake in Italy.
Fact 6. Due to an increase in positive ions in the atmosphere, animals including humans, tend to exhibit an increase in serotonin (stress hormones) levels in the blood. This is manifested by anomalous behaviours such as migraines and nausea.
Fact 7. Â The world’s greatest mountain ranges, such as the Himalayas and the Andes, were formed by the shifting of the tectonic plates.
Fact 8. Â During earthquakes, water in swimming pools oscillates internally in waves due to the shaking of the ground. This phenomenon is known as ‘œseiche,’ or standing wave.
Fact 9. Italy had sent to trial seismologists who did not provide correct information on an impending earthquake, the L’Aquila,Â in 2009. There is currently no scientific method for forecasting the exact date or the intensity of earthquakes.
Fact 10. Â The next big earthquake and tsunami has been forecasted to occur in Padang, Indonesia. It is predicted to be of magnitude 8.6 to 8.7 and will last for 30 minutes.