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An earthquake is literally defined as "a sudden and sometimes catastrophic movement of a part of the Earth's surface." ("Wikipedia", 2006). Caused as a result from the dynamic release of elastic strain energy that radiates seismic waves, earthquakes typically result from the movement of faults, planar zones of deformation within the Earth's upper crust…
Although more times than not earthquakes are tectonic, they can also occur in volcanic regions.
Although many people seem to think that the only earthquakes that take place are those which can be felt, that belief is completely false. Instead, large numbers of earthquakes take place daily across the world, but the majority of these can only be felt by seismometers and cannot be felt by the person and cause no structural damage of any sort. The strength and damage caused by an earthquake can vary dramatically, depending on the strength of the earthquake. Smaller earthquakes may go completely unnoticed, while larger earthquakes can cause serious destruction and massive loss of life. In fact, most of the larger earthquakes are then followed by smaller ones - these are otherwise known as foreshocks or aftershocks; foreshocks being smaller earthquakes which precede the larger earthquake, and aftershocks being those which procede it.
The first method of recording earthquakes was through of certain scales called intensity scales. The United States, Japan, and Europe each have their own form of scales. However the problem with all of these scales is that they are often a poor measure for the relative size of different events in different places. ...
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