A swarm of more than 20,000 earthquakes has rattled southern Iceland this week, and geologists suspect a volcanic eruption is on the way.
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.
The earthquake caused the collapse of nearly 20 buildings in the city of Izmir. Search and rescue efforts are underway beneath the rubble.
A big earthquake at Ridgecrest could trigger the Garlock fault, which would in turn trigger the San Andreas.
A powerful magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck the southern coast of Oaxaca, Mexico this morning, killing at least one person.
A magnitude 5.7 earthquake struck northern Utah this morning. It was the state's largest quake since 1992.
Planet Earth went through its fair share of upheavals in 2019, from earthquakes to volcanic eruptions to alterations caused by human activity.
A gaping hole in a dying tectonic plate beneath the ocean along the West Coast of the United States may be wreaking havoc at Earth's surface, but not in a way most people might expect.
A mud-volcano island that burst from the waters off the coast of Pakistan during a deadly earthquake in 2013 has disappeared beneath the waves.
Japanese satellite shows where the ground was broken up and even sliced open during the twin earthquakes near Ridgecrest.
It's possible that the recent quakes could be the straw that broke the camel's back for the San Andreas Fault, which is way overdue for a major rupture.