Sandi Carter and Becki Portune

An earthquake is a series of vibrations produced in the Earth's crust . Usually it is at a place where two plates are stuck against each other and pressure is building up. When it suddenly ruptures, then the Earth's plates rebound. Earthquakes are common i places where major plates of the Earth's crust meet. These places are called faults. One of these places is the San Andreas fault in California. This fault runs mostly through Southern California. Earthquakes can also cause tidal waves. When a tidal wave is caused by an Earthquake what happens is the Earth moves under the water, displacing it and creating huge waves.

A device called the seismograph can measure the magnitude of earthquakes. Earthquakes are very common in other places in the world and are sometimes connected with volcanic eruptions. But earthquakes in California seem to get the most publicity. The last major earthquake in California was the Northridge earthquake. it was a magnitude of about 6.5 and caused billions of dollars of damage when it destroyed homes, businesses, freeways, and caused many major landslides. Even though earthquakes only last seconds, they can cause a lot of damage. Scientists predict that a large earthquake in California could happen at any time. We should always be prepared.

Here are a few tips.

1. Don't panic.

2. Get under a sturdy piece of furniture, such as a desk.

3. Don't hang mirrors or other heavy objects on the walls over a bed or any place where it might hurt somebody if it falls.

4. Keep a first aid kit and emergency food and water just in case, so that you will have everything you need if there is no one to help you after the earthquake.

About the Authors

Sandi Carter, Becki Portune are students in Mr. Abouaf's first period Integrated Science II class at West High School, in Torrance, California.

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