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Earthquakes

More than 500,000 times a year, the Earth’s crust shakes suddenly due to an earthquake. Many are slight and would be easy to sleep through, but others cause devastation and kill thousands – mostly under collapsing buildings.

By studying earthquake regions and damage, geoscientists help save lives – warning those at risk, showing them how to prepare and to protect themselves, and advising on the siting, design and construction of buildings. We have a number of resources relating to earthquakes, which are available to view by clicking on the links on the right hand side and below.

Resources from the Geological Society

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Earthquakes factsheet

How do earthquakes happen? Where are they most likely to occur? How are they measured? Find out in our factsheet, produced in 2011. An update to this factsheet will be available soon.

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Online interactive resource: Plate Tectonics

An interactive web resource for students aged 14-16. Learn how plate movements form earthquakes and volcanoes, watch animations, test your knowledge and find out about UK tectonic history.

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Articles & blog posts

Christchurch earthquake: what happened? (Geoscientist, June 2011)

Christchurch quake memories (Geoscientist, June 2011)

Major earthquake in Britain 'overdue'? (Geoscientist, Sept 2010)

Lessons from Haiti (Geoscientist, Sept 2010)

Cluster's last stand? (Geoscientist, March 2009)

Earthquake Case Studies

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Find out more about recent earthquakes:

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Geology for Society: Hazards and Risk

Find out about geological hazards in the UK and worldwide, and the importance of communicating the uncertainties involved, in our resource aimed at policy and decision-makers as well as the wider public.

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Shale Gas & Fracking

What is Hydraulic Fracturing ('Fracking')? What safety measures are in place and can it cause earthquakes? Find out more in our resources for policy and decision-makers as well as the wider public.

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Earthquakes: prediction, forecasting and mitigation

Can we predict earthquakes? Find out in our policy briefing..

Resources from other organisations

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Discovering Geology: Resources from the BGS

Education resources from the British Geological Survey for schools and colleges, lifelong learners or anyone interested in the Earth. Topics include geological hazards, time, climate change and the geology of Britain. Install a seismometer in your school to detect earthquakes or explore UK geology with Minecraft.
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USGS World Earthquakes map

A live map from the US Geological Survey of earthquakes around the world.
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Earthquake Teachable Moments from IRIS

Free resources, presentations and classroom insight on recent significant earthquakes, from Incorporated Research Organisations for Society, a consortium of US universities.
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Virtual Experiments

Interactive animated experiments from the Earth Science Teachers' Association (ESTA). Topics include rock strength, metamorphism, resistivity, porosity, permeability, speed of cooling, boreholes and earthquakes.