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Geosciences LibreTexts

13.1: Introduction

  • Page ID
    5683
  • Overview

    It was the deadliest day in the history of Mt. Everest. On April 25, 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal. This triggered an avalanche that killed 19 climbers on Mt. Everest. In Nepal, over 8,800 people died, and many more were injured and made homeless. Hundreds of aftershocks (smaller earthquakes that follow a larger earthquake) have occurred since (Figure 13.1).

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    Earthquakes are not new to this region. A similar death toll was experienced in a 1934 earthquake, and many other smaller earthquakes have occurred within historical times. An 1833 quake of similar magnitude resulted in less than 500 deaths, though this was most likely due to two very large foreshocks (smaller earthquakes that precede the main earthquake) that sent most residents out of doors in alarm, which was safer for them. Worldwide, there have been much deadlier and stronger earthquakes just in this century (Haiti, 2010 – 316,000 dead; Sumatra, 2004 – 227,000 dead, both with deaths related to ground shaking and the other hazards that were created by the earthquake). Earthquakes give geologists valuable information about the Earth, both the interior, as we learned about in the Earth’s Interior chapter, and about conditions at the Earth’s surface (most earthquakes occur at plate boundaries, as we learned in the Plate Tectonics chapter, Figure 4.8).

     

    Key Terms

    • Ben
    • ioff Zones
    • Body Waves
    • Epicenter
    • Focus 
    • Induced Seismicity
    • Intensity
    • Liquefaction
    • Love Waves
    • Magnitude
    • P Waves
    • Rayleigh Waves
    • S Waves
    • Seismogram
    • Seismograph
    • Seismology
    • Surface
    • Waves