Why Do Earthquakes Occur Near Tectonic Plate Boundaries

High school
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The study of earthquakes dates back to the late 1800s when John Milne developed the seismograph. In the 1890s seismologists began to locate and study the movement of the earth's crust near fault lines. In 1915, Alfred Wegener theorized that all seven continents had at one time been a contiguous landmass and had drifted apart floating on plates.


The hot plumes create volcanoes, while the jerky action of the movement results in seismic waves that create an earthquake. The volcanic lava flowing to the surface creates islands such as the Hawaiian Islands.
Figure 2 illustrates the seismic activity that takes place when two continental plates collide. The lithosphere floats on the asthenosphere. The lithosphere has broken up the earth's crust into ten major Figure 2 (US Geological Survey) tectonic plates. Here we see one of the crustal plates being forced under the other, producing earthquakes. A mountain range is produced at the plate boundaries as the rock formations are deformed and moved upward by the action of the shifting plates. Some of the rocks in the mountains may have been set down in an ocean environment that existed between the two continental crusts prior to collision.
Figure 3 shows the boundaries of the major tectonic plates. As these plates shift over time, earthquakes occur at the point of collision. As can be seen on this map, the boundaries are the most earthquake prone areas on earth. This Figure 3 (US Geological Survey) includes the California coast, Japan, and
The destruction and number of deaths caused by earthquakes is proportional to the magnitude of the ear ...
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