Earthquakes are the result of plate tectonics, or shifting plates in the crust of Earth, and quakes occur when the frictional stress of gliding plate boundaries builds and causes failure at a fault line. In an earthquake, elastic strain energy is released and waves radiate, shaking the ground. Scientists can predict where major temblors might occur in a general sense, but research does not yet allow forecasts for specific locations or accurate predictions of timing. Major earthquakes, some generating tsunamis, have leveled entire cities and affected whole countries. Relatively minor earthquakes can also be induced, or caused by human activity, including extraction of minerals from Earth and the collapse of large buildings.
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'Sonic Boom' Earthquake Shatters Expectations
Okhotsk earthquake
July 10th, 2014
One of the world's deepest earthquakes was also a rare supersonic quake, upending ideas about where these unusual earthquakes strike.
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Big Earthquakes Double in 2014, But They're Not Linked
world earthquakes
June 27th, 2014
A new study finds there were more than twice as many big earthquakes in the first quarter of 2014 as compared with the average since 1979, but researchers attribute the increase to random chance.
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Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On: Busy Stretch for Large Earthquakes
Earthquakes in 2014
May 21st, 2014
Are you wondering if it's your imagination, or is there really an uptick in earthquakes? A Live Science analysis looks at recent earthquake activity.
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Strong Earthquake Rattles Southern Mexico
The earthquake's location is marked on a map.
July 7th, 2014
An earthquake of preliminary magnitude 7.1 struck today along the Pacific coast of southern Mexico's state of Chiapas, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
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Strong Earthquake Strikes Alaska's Aleutian Islands
Alaska tsunami map
June 23rd, 2014
A strong magnitude-8.0 earthquake struck Alaska's Aleutian Islands this afternoon (June 23).
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Migrating Earthquakes Could Make Prediction Possible
Christchurch earthquake damage
May 15th, 2014
Big earthquakes in Chile and Japan reveal that migrating series of small earthquakes could signal coming events, providing a means of earthquake prediction.
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How Extinct Undersea Volcanoes Trigger Rare 'Tsunami Earthquakes'
Tsunamis, like the one that stuck Aceh, Indonesia, cause serious flooding and submerge entire villages.
June 30th, 2014
Extinct volcanoes on the ocean floor get squashed by tectonic plates and create tsunami earthquakes.
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Small Earthquake Shakes Oklahoma City
June 18th, 2014
An earthquake of preliminary magnitude 4.1 struck today (June 18) near Oklahoma City, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
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The Next Big California Earthquake May Be Spread Out Over Years
earthquakes, California earthquakes, damage
May 19th, 2014
The "Big One" may be many smaller ones.
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