Safety, Survival and Other Information

One of the most frightening and destructive phenomena of nature is an earthquake. An earthquake is a sudden movement of the earth, caused by the abrupt release of strain that has accumulated over a period of time. For hundreds of millions of years, forces of plate tectonics (movements of plates of the outer strata) have shaped the earth as the huge plates forming the earth's surface slowly move over, under and past each other. Sometimes movement is gradual, other times plates are locked together, unable to move and release the accumulated energy, which if it grows strong enough, the plates break free or buckle. An earthquake occurring in a populated area may cause many deaths, injuries and extensive property damage. With the predicted forecasts by prophets and new age visionaries of substantial earth changes, which involve earthquakes and volcanoes as well as severe weather, knowledge of earthquakes and weather is necessary if one is to prepare and survive.

Where Earthquakes Occur

The earth is formed of several layers with different physical and chemical properties. The outer layer, averaging about 70 kilometers in thickness, consists of about a dozen large irregularly shaped "plates" that slide over, under and past each other on top of a partly molten inner layer. Most quakes occur at the boundaries of where these major plates meet. However, there are many, many other fault lines and fissures that have not been mapped and that we are not aware of, meaning that an earthquake can occur anywhere at anytime! This was shown dramatically in the Northridge quakes in California in 1994 when movements occurred in faults little understood or even mapped.

There are three types of plate boundaries: spreading zones, transform faults and subduction zones. It's important to know about these because certain things happen - such as in spreading zones molten rock rises pushing two plates apart adding new material at their edges; if one is caught near or in one of these a person will know somewhat what's happening. Most of these are found in oceans. Transform faults are found where plates slide past one another. Subduction zones are found where one plate rides over or under another. These are characterized by deep ocean trenches, shallow to deep earthquakes and mountain ranges containing active volcanoes. Go to the following for more definitive information about earthquakes and volcanoes:




National Earthquake Information Center


EMERGENCY & DISASTER INFORMATION SERVICES MAP This is an interesting map showing all the hazardous occurrences in the US over the last 24 hours: earthquakes, airplane accidents, storms, fires, biohazard events, chemical accidents, explosions and a lot of other information.

Volcano World

Volcano World

Univ of Hawaii Center

University of Hawaii Center


For the Study of Active Volcanoes, U.S. Geological Survey




National Geophysical Data Center

How Earthquakes Happen

An earthquake is the vibration of the earth's surface following a release of energy in the earth's crust. This energy is caused by a sudden dislocation of segments of the crust or a volcanic eruption or by man-made explosions. It is thought by some the Northridge quake was caused by deep underground explosions related to bomb testing. A fault is a fracture. It has been found that quakes tend to occur along faults which reflect zones of weakness in the earth's crust. Quakes beneath the ocean floor often generate immense waves or tsunamis which can travel as fast as 597 miles per hour and may be 15 meters (49ft.)or higher by the time they reach shore. For more information about earthquakes go to the following: National Earthquake Information Center

Measuring Quakes

Vibrations from quakes are detected, recorded and measured by seismographs recording a zigzag line called a seismogram. This reflects the changing intensity of vibrations. The Richter Scale is the best known scale for measuring quakes on a logarithmic basis while the Modified Mercalli scale measures the intensity.

Volcanoes and Earthquakes

Earthquakes are associated with volcanic eruptions. The location and movement of swarms of tremors indicate movement of magma through the volcano. It's important to consider this as rerouting of aircraft flights around ash clouds from volcanos can save lives.


The Dangers

Actual movement of the ground is usually NOT the cause of casualties. Most result from falling objects, landslides or large ocean waves.

What To Do
Before a Quake Strikes

Check your home for quake hazards - items that may shake loose, fall or result from broken gas and water mains. Have each member of the family responsible for turning off water, gas, etc., receive basic first aid courses, keep flashlights and batteries available, keep a battery powered radio with extra fresh batteries available, know where things are.

What To Do
During a Quake

REMAIN CALM! Watch for falling plaster, high furniture and other objects. Stay away from windows, mirrors and chimneys. Get NEAR (not under) a strong table, desk or bed in a corner or in a strong doorway. If in a high-rise building get NEAR a desk, DO NOT DASH FOR EXITS, elevators may fail. In a crowded store choose your exit and leave quietly and quickly. If outside avoid high buildings, walls, power poles and other objects which may fall. If in a vehicle stop in the safest place possible away and in a clear area.

What You Can Do
After a Quake

Check for injuries to your family or friends and for fires. Wear shoes in all areas. If utility lines are leaking, shut them off. Avoid downed power lines. Obtain emergency water (if you have not provided for your own) from water heaters, toilet tanks, melted ice cubes, and canned vegetables. Do not eat or drink anything from open containers near shattered glass. Check your freezer for meals which will spoil quickly. Use outdoor charcoal broilers for emergency cooking, Check everything for cracks, shifting and damage. Approach chimneys with caution. Do not go sightseeing. Be prepared for additional aftershocks. Respond to requests for help as best you can.

Sources: U.S. Dept. of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Karinya Main Screen, Weather Screen, or Matrix Institute