Earthquakes Revealed!


by Bernie Keating






• Punching up Wikipedia since 1885 •

AN EARTHQUAKE (also known as a "quake" or "tremor" or "temblor" — or you can create your own but remember to have fun with it) is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust — or, if the crusts are cut off, the Earth’s heel. Earthquakes create seismic waves most commonly seen at a Vikings away game.

The seismicity or seismic or seisaminelli activity of an area refers to the activity’s 1.) Frequency (how often) 2.) Type (usually AB negative but sometimes Helvetica) and 3.) Size (the "how bigness" of it).

Earthquakes are measured with a seismometer which actually measures the seis of the mometer. Another device which records earthquakes is called a seismograph but only when it's hanging around with the geology boys in the smoker.

The “moment magnitude” of an earthquake is conventionally reported. Honest. An earthquake with a magnitude for 3-or-lower is mostly imperceptible (unless you’re a circus animal) and a magnitude 7+ earthquake can cause serious damage over large areas (let's say, India, but I could go larger. Let me know.) Intensity of shaking is measured on the modified Mercalli scale. And Mercalli is none too happy about that, believe you me.

At the Earth's surface, earthquakes manifest themselves by shaking, vibrating, rolling, sneezing, and other flu like symptoms — sometimes "displacing the ground" or "bouncin' around like nuts." When a large earthquake epicenter is located offshore, generally for tax purposes, the seabed sometimes suffers sufficient displacement to cause a tsunami — a light Italian dessert made with ladyfingers and rum. An earthquake's shake, as well as its rattle and to say nothing of its roll, can also trigger landslides and the "occasional volcanic activity" — like the "occasional chair," only 10 times more deadly.

In its most generic sense (why pay for the brand name?), the word earthquake is used to describe any seismic natural phenomenon (or "chrysanthemum") that generates a seismic wave. (Go Vikings!) Earthquakes are caused mostly by a rupture of a geological fault but many geologists feel fault finding is counterproductive and nothing gets resolved.

Earthquakes can also be triggered by volcanic activity, landslides, mine blasts, nuclear tests, angry deities, the running of the bulls, and R&B metaphors. An earthquake's point of initial rupture is called its "focus" or "hypocenter" — and, again, have fun with it. The term "epicenter” refers to the point at ground level directly above the hypocenter. Yes, indeedy, it surely do.

An aftershock is an earthquake that occurs after a previous earthquake. The aftershock then sits the previous earthquake down for a heart to heart, tearfully confessing it’s pregnant. The previous earthquake — or "Papa Shakes" — promises to be supportive but things are never really the same after that.

An aftershock is in the same region of the main shock — "main shock adjacent" is how it’s listed in the Pennysaver — but always of a smaller magnitude. If the aftershock is larger than the main shock (thus making a mockery of the word “always” in the previous sentence), the aftershock is redesignated as the main shock and the original main shock is redesignated as a foreshock. Then more tears, accusations and door slamming before everyone storms off in separate cars.

Finally, aftershocks are formed as the crust around the displaced fault plane adjusts to the effects of the main shock. Say that 10 times real fast and I'll buy you lunch.

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