Question: Earthquakes are one of the most destructive disasters of all time. Explain the reasons for the occurrence of earthquakes and also measures to protect against it.
Answer: An earthquake is the shaking of the surface of the Earth resulting from a sudden release of energy in the Earth’s lithosphere that creates seismic waves. It can contribute to large-scale destruction of infrastructure as well as create large human casualties.
Reasons for the occurrence of earthquakes
- Tectonic movements
The main reason for earthquakes to occur changes in tectonic plates of the earth. Tectonic plates are always in motion either towards each other or away from each other. Sometimes their movement can create displacement of rocks and the energy released due to this will create shock waves.
- Volcanic activity
Volcanic activity is also a reason for the occurrence of earthquakes, mainly at edges of diverging plates. When the magma from within the crust comes out through volcanic vents, the release of energy takes place. This energy causes seismic waves to originate and create earthquakes.
- Meteorite impact
Extraterrestrial objects like meteorite impact can also cause earthquakes due to the creation of shock waves from the impact force. The intensity of such earthquakes depends on the size and velocity of the meteorite.
- Hydrological force
The hydrological force caused by seeping of water into deep rocks can also create earthquakes. Reservoirs built on fragile rock beds can force the rock beds to collapse, resulting in earthquakes.
Ex: Koyna earthquake.
Measures to protect against earthquakes
- Resilient infrastructure
The best way would be to build earthquake-resistant infrastructure that can withstand strong earthquakes. In recent times many materials have been discovered that can withstand powerful quakes without causing buildings to collapse.
- Earthquake mapping
This will allow authorities to have an idea of the most vulnerable areas during earthquakes. Damages can be prevented by reducing population density, large buildings, and sensitive infrastructure in these areas. In addition, the disaster management team can put more resources in these areas.
Thus, earthquakes are the most unpredictable disasters that may occur and it requires proper planning in order to protect life and property from its effect.