Background on Earthquakes

Imagine standing in your house when, suddenly, you feel a massive jolt in the ground and everything in your house is strewn everywhere. Book cases have fallen over, a hanging light crashes to the ground, your dishes break into thousands of pieces on the floor. You have probably just experienced a large earthquake, that started somewhere nearby your home. This may seem like a distant nightmare – and it may be, depending on where you live – but for some areas, earthquakes are not uncommon.

Images of massive earthquake-induced waves washing away entire towns or buildings reduced to rubble by the violent shaking of Earth’s crustal plates have underlined, all too painfully, the importance of understanding our dynamic and ever-changing Earth.

These natural earthquake hazards will always be with us, but the consequences are not inevitable—if we prepare for them. An essential part of that preparation is education. Education is the key to ensuring that people take appropriate actions when living in earthquake-prone areas and for supporting policies and decisions that will save lives and property.