If you have lived in California for some time, you are no stranger to earthquakes. They seemingly occur out of nowhere and can inspire both awe and fear. Every time one occurs, the public is always briefly interested in learning a bit more about the mysterious quakes. Instead of letting them be a cryptic event, in this chapter we will break down how and where they happen. Having knowledge of earthquakes is useful not only in the moment while they are actually happening, but also in helping you plan your future life. Factors such as where you want to live and if you have earthquake preparedness supplies are important considerations.
In our discussion of earthquakes, we will cover the types of faults, how we locate where earthquakes have occurred, and what a 'beach ball' is. We will also cover the different ways we can measure earthquakes and the various waves they create. By the end of this chapter, you should have a good understanding of how we measure earthquakes, where they occur and how we model them, and the frequency of large vs small earthquakes.