Difference between Earthquake and Aftershock

Aug 4, 2011 by

What is the Difference between Earthquake and Aftershock?

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  1. khristine

    When there is a sudden movement or shaking felt on land, people normally call the phenomena as an earthquake. Earthquake, is described as an unexpected yield of energy within the earth’s crust or topmost mantle that is normally caused by movement of a fault plane or through volcanic activity which results into the formation of seismic waves that can be devastating depending on the degree of the quake.

    Simply put, earthquake is any seismic phenomenon that is caused by the movement within the earth’s crust. It can be a result of man’s activities or natural circumstances, under or over sea level, in such a way that the ground violently trembles and shakes. An earthquake can be a result of a landslide, a nuclear experiment, a volcanic activity, or a mine blasts just to name a few. But, the most natural and common of all the earthquake causes is due to ruptures in geological faults.

    In geology, earthquakes usually happen in groups, one following another thus the term aftershock, main shock, and foreshocks are given. The frequency of earthquake may be followed instantly or in years thus making it confusing to people concern whether to call the quake a main shock (earthquake) or simply an aftershock.

    On the other hand, an aftershock is simply a kind of a small earthquake following a main shock or a bigger earthquake. In some cases, an aftershock can also be as destructive as the major quake. An aftershock is identified as the kind of quake that happens along the same area where the main shock appeared, or within the “aftershock zone”. If seismologists traced the source of the trembling along the said regions, then it is called an “aftershock”.

    However, if an aftershock that followed a main shock is measured to be bigger than that of the latter, the aftershock will be reclassified as the main shock while the previous main shock will then be recorded as the foreshock.

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