XConnectNW 127 - Earthquakes
Producer: Tyler DeLong, Associate Producer
Online Producer: Tyler DeLong
Posted: May 1, 2015 | 10:15 p.m.
WSU Geophysicist and Geologist Catherine Cooper joins Research Geologist from the United States Geological Survey Richard Briggs to explain the cause of an earthquake, the results of an earthquake and the recent earthquake in Nepal.
Dr. Cooper explains that "the majority of earthquakes that happen are happening along plate boundaries." She explains that the surface of the earth is split into different sections that are in constant motion, grinding and colliding. "Eventually," she said, "that will rupture, and it will rupture in a very catastrophic manner, which then is the earthquake.
Richard Briggs tells us that the earthquake in Nepal is significant in the fact that the plate tectonics of India colliding with Asia are the same as the Pacific Plate interacting with North America. He said that studying the faults in Nepal might aid the understanding of the faults in the Pacific Northwest.
Briggs continued: "The end result is the same. it [plates] stores strength for quite a long time then suddenly slips," causing reverberations through the earth's crust - an earthquake.
Some areas of the United States prepare for such circumstances in a variety of ways be it through regular drills or participation nation-wide "Shake Out" drills.
However, Dangers from earthquakes are real and include injury from fallen objects and instability within buildings, gas line ruptures, fires or even landslides. For more safety information visit the United States Geological Survey's Earthquake Hazards Program.
Related Content from NWPTV's Content Partners
Public Radio International
The last major earthquake in Nepal was two months ago. But aid organizations are struggling to keep up as monsoon season brings landslides, creating a snowball effect.
Millions donated, why haven’t more Haitians been helped?
NPR Digital Media
Portland, Seattle, Tacoma, Eugene, Olympia – all could be devastated in the Cascadia earthquake and ensuing tsunami.