India is a large country. It ranks seventh in the world. Also, it is the second-most populous country in the world. It is home to large biodiversity and a large proportion of people live in the lap of nature. Indeed, nature has provided ways and means for the sustenance of life on earth. Alongside, it is also one of the biggest sources of destruction. It can be due to earthquakes, floods, droughts, landslides, and many more. These are termed natural hazards and can cause great damage to human habitations.

This article is concerned with the mechanism of Earthquakes and how to manage and sustain them in case one arrives in our vicinity.

What is an earthquake? – Sudden movements under the earth’s crust cause shaking or vibrations of a part of the earth’s surface. These vibrations are called earthquakes. The shaking movements sent out by an earthquake are called seismic waves and the study of this phenomenon is called seismology.

The place of origin of an earthquake is called its focus and the place which is directly above the focus on the surface of the earth is called the epicentre. The effect of an earthquake is usually felt the strongest near the epicentre and it is most likely that the major part of the damage will also be caused in the surrounding areas.

Near about a million earthquakes are experienced on the earth every year. Most of them are just minor tremors and go unnoticed. 

A natural question may arise that if we have so much information about earthquakes, don’t we need to devise a method to track the movement and damage of an earthquake?

Well, much effort isn’t needed because a sensitive device named a seismograph is used to detect the occurrence of an earthquake.

Seismograph explained – Seismic waves are the vibrations from earthquakes that travel through the earth. They are recorded on instruments called seismographs, which follow a zigzag trace that shows the varying amplitude of ground oscillations beneath the instrument. The sensor part of a seismograph is referred to as the seismometer, while the graphing capability was added as a later invention. Sensitive seismographs, which greatly magnify these ground motions, can detect strong earthquakes from sources anywhere in the world. The time, location, and magnitude of an earthquake can be determined from the data recorded by seismograph stations.

The intensity of an earthquake is measured using an instrument known as the Richter scale. The Richter magnitude scale was developed in 1935 by Charles F. Richter of the California Institute of Technology as a mathematical device to compare the size of earthquakes.

What to do in case of an earthquake? – As already mentioned, not all earthquakes are life-threatening. But it is important to safeguard ourselves and the people around us from such a disaster. Given below are steps that need to be kept in mind while dealing with an earthquake. 

1) Moving to an open area helps. In case of a high-intensity earthquake, the buildings may fall and cause hurt. It is best to find an open spot.

2) Basic first-aid functions need to be learned in case of injuries suffered to you or people around you.

3) In case you are trapped in a building, try remaining close to an interior wall and protect your head with your arms ( in case the ceiling may fall). Also, avoid using a lift.

4) If you are already outdoors, keep away from trees, signboards, poles, and electric wires.

5) Never take shelter inside a car or a bus.

These are methods that are simple and easy to follow. But if you panic in such situations, chances are you wouldn’t be able to recall them. Hence the key tip is to remain calm and composed and then follow the steps.

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