Earthquakes happen along cracks (called fault lines) in the earth’s surface. Earthquakes can be felt over large areas although they usually last less than one minute.
Earthquakes cannot be predicted — although scientists are working on it! Earthquakes are measured by something called a Richter scale. While earthquakes are common on the West Coast, they can occur in 45 states and territories across the United States.
In an earthquake, remember to DROP, COVER and HOLD ON. DROP to the floor and get under something for COVER and HOLD ON until the shaking stops. Earthquakes are sometimes called temblors, quakes, shakers or seismic activity. In 1280, “earthquakes” were called “eorthequakynge”.
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