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Geology: Essential Question #2: What impact does the movement of tectonic plates have on the development of the Earth’s crust? Earthquake- A sudden release of pressure caused by plate movements. Seismology- The study of earthquakes. Seismograph- An instrument that determines the location and strength of an earthquake. Seismic waves- A wave of energy that travels through the Earth, away from an earthquake. P wave- A seismic wave that causes particles of rock to move in a backand-forth direction. S wave- A seismic wave that causes particles of rock to move in a sideto-side direction. Epicenter – The point on Earth’s surface directly above an earthquake’s starting point.