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The Earth’s crust is made
of pieces called tectonic
plates. Britain is on the
Eurasian Plate.
The join between tectonic plates is called a fault.
Earthquakes happen along
faults. This is why some
countries have many
earthquakes, and some – like
Britain – have very few.
Tectonic plates move in different
directions. Sometimes they collide –
creating a reverse fault; sometimes they
move apart – creating a normal fault; and
sometimes they slide past each other –
creating a strike-slip fault.
Scientists detect
earthquakes using
Although earthquakes can’t be
predicted – yet –
faults can be found
and people living
nearby can be
warned of the danger.
If buildings are weak, they can collapse when an
earthquake hits. Scientists and engineers have found a
way to make buildings that withstand earthquakes – like
this one in Japan. If all buildings were this safe, many
lives could be saved.
Poster © Jeannie Scott / NERC
Earthquakes can be very
destructive. In 2010, a magnitude
7.0 earthquake struck Haiti, killing
over 100,000 people and leaving
over 1 million homeless.