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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25 Years After Loma Prieta, Earthquake Science Is Transformed
Loma Prieta earthquake
October 17th, 2014
Earthquake science has kept pace with San Francisco's tremendous transformation since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.
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Earthquake Forecast: 4 California Faults Are Ready to Rupture
San Francisco earthquake faults
October 13th, 2014
Four San Francisco Bay Area faults have built up enough seismic strain to unleash destructive earthquakes.
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Strong 6.2-Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Alaska
Sept. 25 Alaska earthquake
September 25th, 2014
An earthquake of magnitude 6.2 shook southern Alaska Thursday (Sept. 25), according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
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New Zealand's Earthquake Deep Drilling Project Underway
New Zealand from space.
October 6th, 2014
A deep-drilling project into one of the world's most dangerous earthquake faults kicked off Saturday (Oct. 4) on New Zealand's South Island.
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Well Water May Contain Earthquake Warning Signs
iceland earthquakes
September 21st, 2014
Geologists say well water spikes in sodium and hydrogen warned of mounting strain before two Iceland earthquakes. The results may someday lead to earthquake prediction.
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Calm Before the Quake? Turkey May Be Due for the Big One
Turkey earthquake fault
September 15th, 2014
A powerful earthquake of magnitude 7 or greater may be building up along a now-quiet fault on the coast of Istanbul, a new study finds.
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Fracking Linked to More Ohio Earthquakes
Fracking well
October 14th, 2014
Another rare case of fracking-caused earthquakes has jolted Ohio.
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Mysterious Colorado Rock Formation May Be Result of 'Natural Fracking'
Tava Sandstone
September 26th, 2014
An ancient, catastrophic flood or earthquake may explain how a bewildering rock formation in Colorado's Rocky Mountains formed, a new study finds.
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Weird Earth Movement After Japan Earthquake Finally Explained
Japan seafloor crevasse
September 18th, 2014
Unusual westward drifts recorded off Japan's coast following the 2011 Tohoku earthquake provide a new picture of how the Earth adjusts after giant earthquakes.
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