Children recently you must have felt the tremors or heard about the devastating earthquake which completely destroyed Nepal and whose affect was felt in Bharat also. But do you know why earthquakes occur.
|What should I do in this situation
Take caution against falling objects, such as sign boards and broken windows. Protect your head with your bag or coat and keep at a distance from tall buildings.
Firmly hold the steering wheel, gradually reduce speed, park your car on the left side of the road, and stop the engine. Listen to information on the radio and find out what is happening. If you need to evacuate, leave the car unlocked, and walk away with your car documents and valuables.
The shaking you feel when you are underground is about half of what you would experience over ground. Additionally, underground areas have strong structures and are safer than high-rise buildings. Calmly evacuate, following instructions from the subway staff.
Immediately leave the elevator. If you get stuck in the elevator, use the intercom to contact someone outside and wait for rescue.
Head for higher ground and carefully listen to tsunami information. Do not go near the ocean until tsunami warnings have been cleared. Don’t even think about going to watch tsunamis!
An Indian legend has it that the earth is supported on its head by a shesh nag ( mighty snake , a devotee of Lord Vishnu ) and whenever he changes his position , earthquakes occur. The other variation is that a demon had kept Mother Earth in captivity under the sea. Varaha avatar killed the demon, rescued the earth and has been supporting it on its horns ever since. During his balancing act, a shift this way or that way causes earthquakes.
Inhabitants of quake-prone Kamchatka Peninsula , Siberia, believe that shocks are due to a giant dog named Kosei. The tremors occur when he tosses the snow off his furs. Ancient Japanese ascribe the happening to movements of a giant spider which carries the earth on its back. Even the Greek philosopher- mathematician Pythagoras thought that earthquakes were caused by the dead fighting amongst themselves; but another Greek philosopher, Aristotle , was nearer to modern ideas: he said hot air masses escaping from the interior of the earth caused earthquakes. Some not so primitive people considered earthquakes as an act of God.
Tips during an earthquake
Most acceptable theory
Today , Plate Tectonics is by far the most convincing and therefore the most acceptable theory which explains why earthquakes occur. The theory assumes that the surface of the earth is made up of rock plates, huge rafts, 110 km or so thick, constantly drifting over a semi-molten underneath. Earth scientists differ on the number of plates but six better known major plates are: the American, the African, the Eurasian, the Antarctic, the Indian and the Pacific. When two plates approaching each other meet , their movement is restricted, causing a build-up of stresses along the line of contact. When a breaking point is reached, pressure is released in a powerful explosion of energy that fractures the earth's surface, shakes the ground, causes the ground to roll, liquefies some soil and generates giant water waves. A majority of earthquake epicenters occur along plate boundaries .The foundation of Plate Theory was laid in Bharat.
How Earthquakes are Measured
The Richter Scale provides a measure of the magnitude of the earthquake in terms of energy released, measured in equivalent tons of TNT. Each unit represents a 10-fold energy release. An earthquake of Richter 2.5 or less is usually ignored. Unlike hurricanes and some other natural hazards, earthquakes strike suddenly and without warning. One cannot predict when an earthquake will occur. However we can measure the magnitude of earthquakes from an instrument called seismograph which was invented by Chang Heng, a Chinese astronomer, geographer and mathematician. When an earthquake is passing, the ground will tremble palpably for a relatively short time – several seconds or 1-2 minutes during a strong earthquake. These vibrations may possibly provoke fear in you. But you have no other choice but to wait for them to cease. Do not panic. If you act in a calm and conscious manner, you will have more chances to stay uninjured.
Earthquakes can be devastating disasters, but everyone who takes appropriate earthquake safety precautions can minimise damages, injuries, and other potential quake concerns.
After an Earthquake
Quick thinking after an earthquake hits can minimize immediate dangers. Proper earthquake safety precautions after a tremor include the following:
- Be prepared for aftershocks, which may be stronger than the initial jolt.
- Tend injuries immediately and summon emergency assistance if necessary.
- Check for structural damage, but do not enter a building that shows damage or has visible cracks in the walls or foundation.
- Turn off gas, electricity, and water if damage is suspected or if advised to do so by authorities.
- Be cautious opening cabinets, cupboards, and closets in case items may be poised to fall.
Dealing with pets
The behaviour of pets may change after an earthquake, and they may become aggressive or defensive. Leash dogs or keep them in a fenced area.
Lastly be patient
It may take hours or days to restore all services depending on the severity of the quake. We cannot stop a disaster but we can always take steps to save ourselves.
— Aniket Raja