‘Earthquakes in Action’ is a YRE (Young Reporters for the Environment) research carried out by Noella Fenech and Yana Zammit. They wished to focus their research on earthquakes and how these affects both humans and the environment. This research will be submitted for the YRE competition. Well done Noella and Yana and good luck.
Do you know what causes earthquakes? Is it Climate change? Actually, it is not.
Earthquakes can be caused by volcanic eruptions, collapse of rock formations on Earth’s surface, or underground explosions but, the most common cause isthe movement of tectonic plates.
What are tectonic plates?
Tectonic plates are the Earth’s outermost layer, known as crust, which is broken into large pieces. These huge pieces of the Earth’s surface move slowly, at a speed roughly equivalent to the rate at which your fingernails grow (which is 2.5
millimetres per month). Their movement form mountains, trigger earthquakes and they even rearrange the positions of continents.
This is where the tectonic plates are found
The biggest earthquake in history
On May 22nd, 1960, in a country named Chile, a 9.5 magnitude earthquake (known as the Valdivia Earthquake) hit the face of the earth. This was the biggest Earthquake ever recorded in history. It lasted approximately 10 minutes. The Valdivia earthquake left two million people homeless, injured at least 3,000, and killed approximately 1,655. The cost to repair and rebuild the damaged buildings exceeded 550 million.
The picture above shows the damages that happened after the biggest earthquake in history
The biggest earthquake in Europe
On December 28th, 1908, an earthquake struck the city of Messina in Sicily extending all the way to Reggio di Calabria which is on the Italian mainland. This was a 7.1 magnitude earthquake. It was the largest earthquake to ever be recorded in Europe claiming the lives of approximately 100,000 people on that day.
The smallest earthquake in history
On January 12th, 2016, at about midnight an earthquake occurred in Port Chester, New York and travelled to a town called Greenwich, England. This was a 1.0 magnitude earthquake and was the smallest earthquake to ever be recorded. This earthquake was so small that it did not kill or injure any people and only a few people felt the ground shake.
Where do most earthquakes occur?
Most earthquakes occur along the ring of fire. This is found beside the rim of the Pacific Ocean. Three most common locations which are prone to earthquakes are Canada, Indonesia, and Japan.
The earthquake that happened in Syria and Turkey
About a thousand earthquakes occur each day but every so often a major earthquake will strike, such as the one that struck Turkey and Syria on the 6th of February 2023. This caused a lot of damage and poverty in their country as it was a 7.8 magnitude earthquake. Buildings were destroyed, people were hurt and many were killed.
To date 47,000 people have been confirmed dead, while thousands of others are still missing and millions are homeless. In a matter of minutes, two massive earthquakes rocked Turkey and Syria and turned entire cities into mounds of rubble, forever changing the lives of those affected.
Our Maltese churches, councils and schools have collected items to help the
people in need. Some of those things were: canned food, toys, blankets, clothes, tents, money and much more. Maltese firefighters were sent to Syria and Turkey
to help search for survivors and keep the people safe from any more danger.
This picture shows the damages that happened after the earthquake of Turkey and Syria