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42. Here It Comes
It was early morning, January 17, 1994. John
and his wife were asleep in their house
Northridge, California. Suddenly, the loudest thunder they’d ever
seemed to explode right out of the ceiling,
floor, and the walls. They were thrown onto
floor. The dresser, on the other side of
bed, crashed onto the bed, which was shaking
bouncing violently. Paintings and a mirror flew off
bedroom walls. Their bedroom windows broke and the
cracked as the foundation of the house moved.
Northridge quake was “only” 6.8 on the Richter
(10 is maximum). There have been many earthquakes
than the Northridge one. The strongest quake ever
, 9.5, occurred in Chile in 1960.
on the Richter scale equals ten times the
of the previous number. That is, a 3.0
is ten times as powerful as a 2.0
. Quakes are measured on instruments called seismographs.
occur where tectonic plates meet. About 30 of
plates cover the Earth. They are several miles
and huge in area—most of the Pacific Ocean
on just one plate.
Earthquakes occur when one
strikes another or slides beneath another. Either action
a huge amount of energy that travels upwards
the surface of the land or upwards to
surface of the ocean floor. A powerful earthquake
the ocean floor produces a tsunami.
-known that various kinds of animals act oddly just
an earthquake occurs. Researchers hope to discover how
animals can actually detect an earthquake. They’ll use
knowledge to try to create an early warning
to save human lives. We’ll never be able
take the power out of an earthquake, but
someday we can take out the surprise.