• Alejandro Monjarretz

Earthquakes Myths Part 2

There are so many myths about earthquakes that here is the second part!


A few weeks ago I wrote a brief article about the earthquake myths that most people believe. Because we had just experienced one of the strongest earthquakes in recent history (after 1972, of course), it seemed like a fitting topic. But I left out a few more myths, which I’ll cover here.


A very common myth that I didn't mention is that some people may think that they are saved after the earthquake passes, but it is not true. Aftershocks can occur and cause more destruction, since buildings may have suffered structural damages and be more likely to collapse with an aftershock. This is why the best thing to do is to stay outside, even if the earthquake has ended. Until you are sure that no aftershock is happening, just wait outside.


People also believe, for some strange reason, that the biggest earthquakes only occur in the morning. Of course, this is false; big earthquakes can occur at any time. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the 1972 earthquake struck around midnight but earthquakes can occur at any time.


A myth that I don’t know why people believe in is that earthquakes are becoming more frequent. This is false because the reality is that earthquakes with a magnitude of 7 have decreased over the past decades. And if you think about it, the Earth formations we see now are the result of big earthquakes that occurred several 100s of years ago.

Aftershocks are weaker but can still do great damage. Image taken from nature.com


This next myth is very scary. People say that California will split apart from the US and will sink into the ocean. Obviously, this myth is false because California is moving horizontally along the San Andreas fault and this will make it difficult for such an event to happen. But movies such as the San Andres fault can make people think that this can be true.

It will be very difficult for an earthquake to separate California from the US. Image taken from britannica.com


As you can see, people tend to be carried away by what they see in movies or what they want to believe, against all odds. The best thing to do is to always have a plan when an earthquake happens so that you are as safest as possible.

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