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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Southwest's Earthquake Spike Linked to Injection Wells
September 15th, 2014
A dramatic increase in earthquakes in New Mexico and Colorado was triggered by wastewater injection wells.
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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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How the Napa Quake Deformed Earth (Satellite Photo)
Radar image of Napa Valley
September 3rd, 2014
The 6.0-magnitude earthquake that rocked California's Napa Valley last month not only injured dozens of people and caused millions of dollars in damage, but it also warped the surface of Earth.
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Will Iceland's Bardarbunga Volcano Erupt?
A map of Iceland's earthquakes
August 25th, 2014
Buried under hundreds of feet of ice, Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano has been shaking for more than a week now, but an eruption has yet to occur.
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Big Earthquake Looms for Chile, Experts Say
Damage in northern Chile caused by the tsunami associated with the magnitude-8.2 earthquake that struck in April 2014.
August 13th, 2014
The powerful earthquake that rocked Chile in April ruptured the earth in a way that suggests major quakes; something similar to the big one that shook the area in 1877 may still hit the region in the future, researchers say.
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Earthquake Unleashes Avalanche Over Sprawling Glacier (Photo)
Earthquake-Induced Avalanche
September 12th, 2014
An earthquake that rattled remote parts of Alaska and northwestern Canada in July triggered an avalanche that spilled mounds of snow down a steep mountainside.
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Quakes Keep Shaking Iceland's Bardarbunga Volcano
Barðarbunga diagram
August 27th, 2014
Earthquakes are still rocking Iceland as lava pushes through a long underground fissure near the ice-covered Bardarbunga volcano. New fractures and sinkholes were seen in ice southeast of the volcano today.
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What Caused California's Napa Earthquake?
Napa Earthquake Damage
August 25th, 2014
A strong, magnitude-6 earthquake in Northern California occurred Sunday on the West Napa Fault. The shaker highlights how both high-tech instruments and old-fashioned groundwork remain important in identifying an earthquake's source.
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