While large earthquakes can be incredibly destructive, did you know that the aftershocks can actually end up causing more damage and destruction? Though the initial earthquake is usually more powerful and devastating, aftershocks can often cause more damage and pose a greater risk than the original quake. In this post, we discuss what an aftershock is and why those aftershocks are so dangerous.
Aftershocks are secondary earthquakes that occur after the main quake and are usually smaller in terms of magnitude. However, they can still cause major damage, especially in areas that were already weakened by the original earthquake. Typically a large earthquake will shake, vibrate, and rupture the earth's surface creating cracks or fissures. These violent vibrations will often weaken roads and structures, which if not destroyed, can become dry powder for an aftershock. Given aftershocks can occur up to months and even years after the initial quake, the weakened infrastructure caused by the initial quake can lead to massive damage.
It is important to remember every earthquake is unique, and some faults are more prone to aftershocks than others. This is because aftershocks occur on the same fault line as the initial earthquake, so if a fault line is more active, it is more likely to experience aftershocks. Additionally, the location of the fault line and the type of rock it runs through can also affect how much and how often aftershocks occur.
The Seattle, Washington area is one of those places that is particularly prone to significant aftershocks following an earthquake. This is due to the fact that Seattle is located near the Cascadia Subduction Zone, which is the massive fault line running through the Pacific Northwest. This fault is especially active and has experienced numerous earthquakes in the past, including the magnitude 9.0 quake that struck the region in 1700. As a result, Seattle and the surrounding areas are highly likely to experience aftershocks after any large earthquake.
Though aftershocks can be dangerous and cause significant damage, there are a few ways to protect yourself and your property. It is important to have an emergency plan in place and make sure that your home and workplace are properly secured. Additionally, make sure to stay away from loose objects and broken glass, and be prepared to evacuate if necessary. In the aftermath of an earthquake, be sure to stay alert as it is very hard to predict when or if an earthquake will occur.
As we've covered, it is important to be prepared for any earthquake, and know that aftershocks can actually be more destructive and dangerous than the initial quake. It is important to understand the risks associated with aftershocks and take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your property. By taking a few precautionary steps ahead of time, you can keep yourself and your property safe.
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