What is an earthquake?

An earthquake is a sudden shake of the Earth’s surface. It is the Earth’s way of letting go of tension.

Earthquakes can cause lots of damage. They can destroy buildings and break up roads. Most people get injured in an earthquake when buildings collapse on them. 

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When an earthquake happens under the ocean it can cause a tsunami.


What causes an earthquake?

Earthquakes are caused by movements in the Earth’s crust. Do you remember the Earth has different layers? The outer layer is called the crust

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The crust is made up of things called plates which move very slowly.

Sometimes when these plates move, they push against each other or squeeze past each other.

This causes big shock waves which shake the surface of the Earth and create earthquakes.


Before and after an earthquake

Normally before and after a large earthquake, there are smaller earthquakes. Foreshocks are the earthquakes that happen before and aftershocks are the ones that happen after.


Did you know?

  • Around 1 million earthquakes happen on Earth every year.
  • Earthquakes can happen in any kind of weather.