A massive earthquake with epicenter in Banda Aceh rocked Indonesia on April 11, 2012. This is not the first time that Indonesia is undergoing such a disaster. In 2004 (earthquake magnitude 9.1) and in 2005 (earthquake magnitude 8.6), had hit Indonesia.
So what are Earthquakes? Why do they happen? Why are certain places so earthquake prone?
Our earth’s surface is made up of rocks/plates. An Earthquake is a sudden, rapid shaking of the earth caused by the breaking and shifting of rocks/plates beneath the earth surface. The shaking could last for seconds or minutes.
Imagine earth like a big puzzle where puzzle pieces are made up earth plates and the gaps between all the puzzle pieces correspond to plate boundaries called ‘fault’ line. Earthquakes always happen along plate boundaries. Unfortunately, areas that are situated more directly on or near a ‘fault’ line are more prone to earthquakes. Indonesia, Japan, USA, Chile are some such areas.
How severe or mild an earthquake is, is measured on a scale of one to ten. Anymore than 8 is considered as a severe earthquake. Severe Earthquakes on land can make houses and tall weak buildings collapse, roads break, cars crash, trees fall and many other things.
Sometimes when these earthquakes happen under the sea, it disturbs the huge volumes of water above it. As a result, a series of extremely powerful water waves are generated, which are very damaging to the coastal areas in its proximity. These water waves are called Tsunami. There were warnings for Tsunami, but thankfully that did not happen.