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Plate Tectonics

Where do earthquakes occur?


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February 06, 2013 9:15PM

Earthquakes most commonly occur along fault lines, or divisions within the Earth's crust. The Earth's crust is divided into giant plates, which move incredibly slowly (only a couple of inches a year) as they rotate around the Earth's molten core. Earthquakes occur when these plates interact with one another, such as when they collide.

The movement in an earthquake is generated when stress (built up when rocks have not smoothly moved past each other) is suddenly released. The large areas of rock move only a small distance, but with a substantial effect on the surface above them.

Most earthquakes occur during natural fault lines in tectonic platers. These plates are constantly shifting and a big enough shirt will result in an earthquake.