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Earthquakes are one of the most devastating natural phenomena that we can find on our planet, and they frequently wreak havoc in both urban and environmental spaces. When this happens, the place where its epicenter is located becomes especially important, since a large part of its destructive power and the environment in which it manifests itself most strongly will depend on this. However, do you know what the epicenter of an earthquake is and why it is so important to measure its impact? Keep reading AgroCorrn and we will tell you about it!

You may also be interested in: What is the lithosphere: definition for children

What is an earthquake

An earthquake is a natural phenomenon , which can become a natural disaster , characterized by a shaking of the ground , causing it to vibrate and, consequently, can produce landslides, generate cracks in land, or destruction of buildings and other artificial constructions.

Our planet is made up of three great layers. The one in the center is the so-called core, which geologists have determined to be solid. The middle layer is the mantle, which is liquid and very active. In this layer is where the magma is located, which is nothing other than material in a liquid and incandescent state, so it is in continuous movement. And, finally, the upper layer or lithosphere, which is the outermost part and on whose surface all life is found, either in the seas or on the continents.

Earthquakes occur as a consequence of the internal activity of the planet . As the mantle is liquid and in motion, this causes the solid upper layers to collide with each other, or vibrate as a consequence of this inner activity. The vibration of the ground is what is properly considered the earthquake, which is the way in which this activity manifests itself on the surface of the planet.

What is the epicenter of an earthquake and why is it so important?

When talking about earthquakes, there are two terms that must be known to understand their nature, which are hypocenter and epicenter. The hypocenter is the origin of the earthquake , that is, it is the interior point of the planet where seismic activity occurs. Likewise, the epicenter is the surface point of the planet that would be reached if we marked a vertical from the hypocenter to the surface of the earth’s crust. That is, it is the outermost point closest to the hypocenter .

This makes the epicenter an especially important point when taking into account the damage that an earthquake can cause, since, being the surface point closest to the hypocenter, it is also the point where you feel most energetic. the force of it, so it is also usually the place where there is a higher level of destruction .

How to measure the strength of an earthquake

There are different ways to measure the strength of an earthquake . However, the most widely used internationally is the so-called Richter scale , named after the American seismologist Charles Francis Richter. This scale divides earthquakes between grade 2 and 6.9. However, it is common for us to hear earthquakes in the media that exceed this scale, reaching figures of more than 7 degrees.

This is because, in reality, these are earthquakes that are being measured with the seismological magnitude scale at the moment, a scale widely used today and that, on a regular basis, is often confused with the Richter scale.

Can there be earthquakes artificial or not due to geological action?

Although the most common thing when talking about earthquakes is that reference is made to those that have their origin in a natural way and from the geological action of our planet, the reality is that earthquakes of a very varied nature can occur. In fact, if we look at the definition of an earthquake , any movement or vibration of the earth’s crust must be considered an earthquake.

In this way, we can find artificial earthquakes caused by human action , such as those that take place from the explosions of certain devices such as atomic bombs or hydrogen bombs. These types of explosions release such an amount of energy that they lead to the vibration of the ground adjacent to where they are detonated, which is why they produce earthquakes with their detonation.

Likewise, we can also find natural earthquakes that do not originate inside the planet, but quite the opposite. For example, when a large comet or asteroid hits the planet, a large amount of energy is also released, leading to vibration of the surface, causing an earthquake in the area where the impact takes place.

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