Can the ground open up during an earthquake?

Shallow crevasses can form during earthquake-induced landslides, lateral spreads, or from other types of ground failures, but faults do not open up during an earthquake. An earthquake occurs when two blocks of the earth’s crust slide past one another after having been stuck together in one place for a long time, because of fiction on the fault, while the rest of the crust away from the edges has been slowly moving. If a fault could open up, no earthquake would occur in the first place because there would be no friction locking the two blocks together.

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Do solar flares or magnetic storms (space weather) cause earthquakes?

Solar flares and magnetic storms belong to a set of phenomena known collectively as "space weather". Technological systems and the activities of modern civilization can be affected by changing space-weather conditions. However, it has never been demonstrated that there is a causal relationship between space weather and

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Can some people sense that an earthquake is about to happen (earthquake sensitives)?

There is no scientific explanation for the symptoms some people claim to have preceding an earthquake, and more often than not there is no earthquake following the symptoms.

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Will California eventually fall into the ocean?

No, California is not going to fall into the ocean. California is firmly planted on the top of the earth’s crust in a location where it spans two tectonic plates. The San Andreas Fault System, which crosses California from the Salton Sea in the south to Cape Mendocino in the north, is the boundary between the Pacific Plate

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Is there earthquake weather?

In the 4th Century B.C., Aristotle proposed that earthquakes were caused by winds trapped in subterranean caves. Small tremors were thought to have been caused by air pushing on the cavern roofs, and large ones by the air breaking the surface. This theory lead to a belief in earthquake weather, that because a large amount

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Can animals predict earthquakes?

The earliest reference we have to unusual animal behavior prior to a significant earthquake is from Greece in 373 BC. Rats, weasels, snakes, and centipedes reportedly left their homes and headed for safety several days before a destructive earthquake. Anecdotal evidence abounds of animals, fish, birds, reptiles, and insects

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Why are we having so many earthquakes? Has naturally occurring earthquake activity been increasing? Does this mean a big one is going to hit? OR We haven't had any earthquakes in a long time; does this mean that the pressure is building up for a big one?

A temporary increase or decrease in seismicity is part of the normal fluctuation of earthquake rates.  Neither an increase or decrease worldwide is a positive indication that a large earthquake is imminent.

The ComCat earthquake catalog contains an increasing

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Can "MegaQuakes" really happen? Like a magnitude 10 or larger?

No, earthquakes of magnitude 10 or larger cannot happen.  The magnitude of an earthquake is related to the length of the fault on which it occurs. That is, the longer the fault, the larger the earthquake. A fault is a break in the rocks that make up the Earth's crust, along which rocks on either side have moved past each

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Can you predict earthquakes?

No. Neither the USGS nor any other scientists have ever predicted a major earthquake. We do not know how, and we do not expect to know how any time in the foreseeable future. An earthquake prediction must define 3 elements: 1) the date and time, 2) the location, and 3) the magnitude.

Yes, some people

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Are earthquakes associated with variations in the geomagnetic field?

Electromagnetic variations have been observed after earthquakes, but despite decades of work, there is no convincing evidence of electromagnetic precursors to earthquakes. It is worth acknowledging that geophysicists would actually love to demonstrate the reality of such precursors, especially if they could be used for

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Date published: January 24, 2018

Alaska Earthquake Rattles Florida’s Groundwater Plumbing

At 12:32 am Alaska time on January 23, 2018, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake shook Alaska residents out of their beds and set off fears of a tsunami all down the West Coast. Fortunately, the tsunami was only a few inches in height, but within an hour of the earthquake in Alaska, waves of a different sort were hitting far away in Florida. 

Date published: April 30, 2014

Can a Creeping Segment of the Alaska-Aleutian Subduction Zone Generate a Great Earthquake?

The coastal geology of Simeonof Island, the southeastern-most island in the Shumagin archipelago of the Aleutian Islands, suggests the region has not experienced a great megathrust earthquake in at least the past 3,400 years.

Date published: May 15, 2003

Denali Fault Quake Offers Clues for Hazards in Future Quakes, Science Magazine Reports

Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and their partners studying the largest on-land earthquake in North America in almost 150 years report new information that will help further safety-planning efforts for future large quakes, according to an article published in the May 16, 2003, edition of the journal Science.

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Exposed faults
2011 (approx.)

Two faults (located on either side of project geologist Chris Fridrich) cutting Pleistocene fluvial gravels on the northern edge of the Poncha mountain block. These and other young faults exposed in area help reveal the latest kinematic (movement) and paleostress histories of the mountain block.

Image: Brawley Fault Zone Surface Fractures Across Road
April 9, 2010

Fresh surface fractures (black arrows) along Brawley Fault Zone and across Ralph Road in response to the 2010 El Mayor-Cucapah earthquake; view to the north. Slight vertical component of slip (2 mm, up on east [right] side) more noticeable at white arrow.

Image: Denali Fault: Canwell Glacier
November 9, 2002

Peter Haeussler prepares to measure the offset of a crevasse on the Canwell Glacier.

Image: Totschunda Fault
November 5, 2002

View southeast along the Totschunda fault.

Image: Denali Fault
November 4, 2002

At pass west of Delta River. Here there was roughly 5 m of offset. Note the push up in the background. There is permafrost at the bottom of the cracks.

Image shows an aerial view of the San Andreas Fault
November 30, 2000

Aerial photo of the San Andreas Fault in the Carrizo Plain. By Ikluft - Own work, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3106006

Image: Fault Through a Pasture
September 2, 1999

The fault is clearly expressed through this pasture at N40 41.959', E030 30.196'. Offset of a small road is 2.4 m (a maximum).