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Information about Earthquakes*

An earthquake is the result of a sudden release of stored energy in the Earth's crust
that creates seismic waves. Earthquakes are accordingly measured with a
seismometer, commonly known as a seismograph. The magnitude of an earthquake
is conventionally reported using the Richter scale or a related Moment scale (with
magnitude 3 or lower earthquakes being hard to notice and magnitude 7 causing
serious damage over large areas).

At the Earth's surface, earthquakes may manifest themselves by a shaking or
displacement of the ground. Sometimes, they cause tsunamis, which may lead to
loss of life and destruction of property. An earthquake is caused by tectonic plates
getting stuck and putting a strain on the ground. The strain becomes so great that
rocks give way by breaking and sliding along fault planes.