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the vibration of Earth produced by the rapid release of energy


the point within Earth where an earthquake originates


the location on Earth's surface directly above the focus, or origin, of an earthquake


a fracture in Earth along which movement has occurred

elastic rebound hypothesis

the explanation stating that when rocks are deformed, they break, releasing the stored energy that results in the vibrations of an earthquake


a small earthquake that follows the main earthquake


a small earthquake that often precedes a major earthquake


an instrument that records earthquake waves


the record made by a seismograph

surface wave

a seismic wave that travels along the surface of Earth

P wave

earthquake wave that pushes and pulls rocks in the direction of the wave; also known as a compression wave

S wave

a seismic wave that shakes particles perpendicular to the direction the wave is traveling

moment magnitude

a more precise measure of earthquake magnitude than the Richter


a phenomenon, sometimes associated with earthquakes, in which soils and other unconsolidated materials saturated with water are turned into a liquid that is not able to support buildings


the Japanese word for a seismic sea wave

seismic gap

an area along a fault where there has not been any earthquake activity for a long period of time


the thin, rocky outer layer of Earth


the 2890-kilometer-thick layer of Earth located below the crust


the rigid outer layer of Earth including the crust and upper mantle


a weak plastic layer of the mantle situated below the lithosphere; The rock within this zone is easily deformed

outer core

a layer beneath the mantle about 2260 kilometers thick

inner core

the solid innermost layer of Earth, about 1220 kilometers in radius


the boundary separating the crust from the mantle, discernible by an increase in the velocity of seismic waves

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