The energy from earthquakes can be equivalent to thousands of atomic bombs exploding. This alone, demonstrates how powerful earthquakes are. They can " destroy human works, kill vast numbers of people, and alter the very shape of our land (53)." For thousands of years, earthquakes were assumed to be produced by strong winds, but as many studies have shown that is not the case. So, what is it that causes earthquakes? .
An earthquake is when the Earth shakes, and it's the vibrations what we feel. There are many causes of earthquakes: volcanic activity, meteorite impacts, undersea landslides, explosions of nuclear bombs, and much more, but the most common cause of an earthquake is sudden movement along faults. A fault is a crack in the Earth along which the rock of its two sides moves past each other (see diagram 1). "Pressure builds in near-surface rocks until the stress is so great that the rocks fracture and shift along a fault (55)." This, creates the shock waves that create an earthquake. .
There are three laws about faults. The Law of Original Horizontality, the Law of Superposition, and the Law of Original Continuity. The Law of Original Horizontality states that sediments are originally settled in horizontal layers from the water. The Law of Superposition states that each layer of sediments is deposited on top of a previously formed layer. Obviously meaning that each layer on top of the previous layer is younger than the one below it. The Law of Original Continuity states that a water-laid sediment body continues laterally in all directions until it thins out due to nondeposition or butts against the edge of the basin of deposition (408). .
Next, there are three types of faults: dip-slip faults, strike-slip faults, and transform faults. A fault is a fracture where two sides move past each other. The dip-slip fault is where most of the movement is either up or down in response to pushing or pulling (406).