What is an earthquake?
The official definition by the Geological Science is that an earthquake is a sudden release of energy in the earth’s crust or upper mantle, usually caused by movement along a fault or by volcanic activity and can be reason for the generation of seismic waves which can be destructive. The location below the earth’s surface where the earthquake starts is called the hypocenter, and the location directly above it on the surface of the earth is called the epicenter. After an earthquake is possible the release of smaller earthquakes known as ‘’aftershocks’’. The main earthquake is called ‘’mainshock’’. The funny is that the word ‘’shock’’ is absolutely the perfect to describe the human feelings about an earthquake!
The earthquakes are measured by the seismometers which use the moment magnitude scale to count the size of the earthquake according to the released energy. The moment magnitude scale is also referred as the Richter scale.
What causes earthquakes and why do they happen often earthquakes in Greece
Our planet, earth, has four major layers: the inner core, outer core, mantle and crust. The crust and the top of the mantle are like the skin of the earth’s surface. This skin is made up of small pieces, the tectonic plates and you can imagine it like a puzzle covering the surface. These pieces are moving slowly and they are sliding and bumping one above the other. When the rough edges of the tectonic plates meet each other while the rest part of the plates is moving is caused an earthquake.
In some places of the world, there is frequency causing of earthquakes as why there is often meeting of the tectonic plates. Some of these places are: California, Mexico, Japan, Turkey, Italy and Greece.
Greece has the 1st place in seismicity in Europe and the 6th place globally. At its geographical place take part phenomena like the convergence of the African tectonic plate with the Eurasian which causes the large seismicity in this area. The most serious earthquake in Greece in the last 100 years happened at the 12th day of August in 1953 in Cephalonia (also known as Kefalonia) an island in the Ionian Sea. This earthquake caused huge property damage in Kefalonia, Zakynthos and Ithaca and also was the reason for the death of 476 people and injuring of other 2412. There had been existed 33.000 homes in the area and the 27.659 were crumbled.
Since the early 1800s until now have been recorded a lot of earthquakes in Greece which caused the death of many people. Although, the most usual reasons for existing earthquake victims are the bad building constructions and the ignorance of the measures of precaution.
Measures of precaution
Unfortunately, an earthquake can happen anytime without warning. To know how to protect yourself and your household before an earthquake coming may has big difference for the after earthquake affects. All the adults and children have to know what to do in case of an earthquake. Below there are some important advises:
Prepare a home earthquake plan and supplies kit
- Choose a safe place in every room (under a table or desk or there where is no danger to fall something on your head). Learn to protect your face and eyes with pressing your face against your arm. Have practice for dropping, covering and holding on at least twice a year and teach your children to follow this plan carefully.
- Check your house with the help of a professional and if it’s necessary make stronger your house underpinnings. It’s good if you can also be trained for first aid and use of the fire extinguisher. Inform other people who have access to your home like babysitters or caregivers about your home-plan.
- Fasten furniture which can be possible hazards like bookcases, cupboards and frames on the wall.
- Prepare first aid kit for your car and your home which have to include essential medications, canned food (and can opener), bottles of water (at least 5 liters per person), sleeping bags, rainwear, battery-powered radio, flashlight and batteries and items for family members who have special needs like children or elders.
What to do when the earthquake begins
- If you are home, go to your safety place and stay indoors until the shaking stop. If you are in bed, stay there and cover your head with a pillow.
- If you are outdoors, find a safe place away from buildings and electricity lines. If it’s necessary drop to the ground. If you are in the car, drive to a safe place and stay there until the end of shaking.
What to do after an earthquake
- Check yourself and the others for injuries and give first aid where it’s necessary.
- Eliminate hazards like fire hazards.
- Listen to the radio for instructions and expect aftershocks.
- If your home is unsafe get out of it.
- USE THE TELEPHONE ONLY IF THERE IS LIFE EMERGENCY.
The earthquakes in Greece and worldwide is something that we cannot avoid. We have to live with this but we can be well prepared so well protected. It’s important to have a plan but do not be crazy if you hear unconfirmed rumors about a great earthquake. NO ONE knows when can happen an earthquake. It’s suggested to be advised by the responsible departments of your country. Learn to protect yourself and your family.
Something really interesting – Animals and earthquakes
When an earthquake is coming some changes in the animals behavior have been noted. Usually, these changes start 2-5 minutes before the earthquake except the changes in mosquitoes and insects behavior which can be noticed a few hours before. Below there are some interesting examples which are noticed before the taking part of some earthquakes in Greece during the years.
The cicadas and the mosquitoes (when it’s summer) don’t sing and don’t sting. All the insects and the snakes which live underground get out suddenly on the earth’s surface. The dogs are screaming all together, horrify and suddenly. The fishes are swimming near to the sea surface and the birds fly all together, high and without noise. The bees get out their lair suddenly.
In the case of an aftershock, all the animals stay out of their lairs or into their hideouts. The cats and the dogs if they come out of their hideouts (something quite impossible) walk slowly and carefully and almost crawl.