Five things you should know about earthquakes.
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Number one, an earthquake occurs when two blocks of the Earth slip fast each other. Now, for most of the time, those blocks are together with friction. But they are building up energy because they are moving in different directions. When one block decides to slip, all of a sudden, that energy is released by seismic waves, kind of like ripples on a pond, creating the earthquake.
Number two, an earthquake can occur very near the surface of the Earth. Those earthquakes are typically very destructive, or as deep as 400 miles down into the crust. Now, where the shaking actually happens, that`s called the hypocenter. But directly above it, on the surface, that`s called the epicenter.
Number three, the power of an earthquake is called magnitude. Now, the intensity of he shaking can vary depending on the geography, the typography, or even the depth of the quake. Now, the USGS says there are 500,000 detectable quakes every year. One hundred thousand can be felt and 100 will create damage.
Number four, earthquakes themselves actually don`t kill that many people. It`s the natural and manmade structures that fall to the ground during the shaking that injure and kill.
Number five, the majority of all earthquakes and volcanoes happen along plate boundaries. The largest is the Pacific plate and its series of boundaries all along the Pacific Ocean known as the Ring of Fire.