Measuring and Predicting Earthquakes


An earthquake is when an area of Earth’s crust suddenly starts to shake. This shaking is caused by seismic waves — energy that travels through Earth’s layers. 

Earth’s crust is broken up into large pieces called tectonic plates. These plates push against each other and store large amounts of energy. When the plates suddenly shift 

or slip, they release the stored energy. This is what creates seismic waves and earthquakes. Most earthquakes happen around the edges of tectonic plates where they bump and hit the edges of other plates.

Earthquakes cannot be predicted, but they can be measured. Scientists use a tool called the Richter scale 

to measure earthquakes. The Richter scale was created by two seismologists, scientists who study earthquakes, in 1935. The scientists were Charles F. Richter and Beno Gutenberg.

The Richter scale is important because it lets people and scientists compare how strong earthquakes are. Modern seismologists have changed the Richter scale a little since 1935 to make it more accurate. The scale starts at 1. These earthquakes are so small that most people don’t feel them. There are more than 100,000 of these micro earthquakes every year. The largest earthquakes are eight and higher. These are called “great” earthquakes and are very dangerous. There are usually fewer than three in a year, but they can destroy entire towns.

  • 50,000 earthquakes are measured every year.
  • Only 100 a year cause significant damage.
  • Seismology is the study of earthquakes.
  • The largest earthquake ever recorded happened in 1960 in Valdivia, Chile.
  • It is called the Great Chilean Earthquake.
  • It lasted 10 minutes and registered as a 9.4-9.6 on the Richter scale.
  • It is estimated that an earthquake measuring 11 on the Richter scale would split the earth in two.

Days to remember in March


Saint Patrick’s Day is a celebration of Irish history and tradition. It honors the patron saint of Ireland. Saint Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland in the 400s.

Today, there are more than 34 million Americans of Irish descent. That is more than eight times the population of Ireland!


We celebrate Earth Day to make us all more aware of the planet, how we treat it and how we use its resources. In 1971, United Nations General Secretary General U Thant signed a proclamation making Earth Day


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