Earthquakes Essay

1556 words - 6 pages

Throughout history, man has made many advancements. These advancements have beenmade to make life easier. The one thing man can't do is to control Mother Nature. Mother Naturecan cause many things such as earthquakes.The causes of earthquakes have been theorized in many ways. According to the bookPredicting Earthquakes by Gregory Vogt, the Greeks, "blamed the earthquakes on Poseidon, god ofthe sea"(25). The Hindu believed that "the earth was a platform that rested on the back of eightgreat elephants. When one of the elephants grew weary, it lowered and shook its head causing theground above to tremble"(Vogt 25). Margaret Poynter writes "many primitive people thought thatthe earth rested upon the back of some sort of animal. When that animal became restless, greatcracks appeared in the ground, and tall trees swayed and fell. In South America, the animal was awhale. In Japan, it was a great black spider or giant catfish. One ancient tribe thought that fourbulls supported the earth on their horns. To amuse themselves, they sometimes tossed it from oneto another"(6). In the same book, Poynter says "The Chinese believed that monsters lived in thecaves inside the earth. When the creatures fought, the surface of the earth trembled (6)." "InGreece, it was not an animal, but a titan named Atlas who was condemned to support the worldupon his shoulders. Later, about the third century B.C., a Greek philosopher, Aristotle, had a morescientific explanation. He thought that earthquakes occurred only when hot air masses tried toescape from the center of the earth. Two centuries later, Lucretius, a Roman, wrote thatunderground landslides caused the earth's surface to move"(Poynter 7).2Last NameToday, scientists have found a more logical reason to earthquakes. Scientists say almost600 million years ago, all the continents were connected to form a huge super continent calledPangaea. At about 220 million years ago, Pangaea began to break up into sub-blocks. Accordingto the book Volcanoes, Earthquakes, and the Formation of Continents, these sub-blocks werecalled "Gondwana (which corresponds approximately to the continents of the present southernhemisphere) and Laurasia (the northern hemisphere)" (Kohler 15). According to Pierre Kohler,"The earth's surface is divided into 13 plates: seven large ones (the largest corresponding to thePacific) and six small ones" (18-19). The book Earthquakes by Margaret Poynter states that aperson named Robert Mallet studied earthquakes. He made tests, drew a world map, andrecreated earthquakes only to find that rocks are being overstressed at the faults. "A fault is theplace where two plates meet and are rubbed against each other" (Groiler Electronic Publishing,Inc.). The book, Predicting Earthquakes, the author points out "There are generally three kinds offaults: normal, reverse, and strike-slip. By careful observation and measurement, geologists,acting like detectives, can tell how much a fault moved, which part went up, which part...

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