Chapter 8: A Violent Pulse: Earthquakes flashcards |

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The series of smaller earthquakes that follow a major earthquake.

body waves

Seismic waves that pass through the interior of the Earth.

compressional waves

Waves in which particles of material move back and forth parallel to the direction in which the wave itself moves.


The amount of movement or slip across a fault plane.


A vibration caused by the sudden breaking or frictional sliding of rock in the Earth.

elastic-rebound theory

The concept that earthquakes occur when rock elastically bends until it fractures; the fracturing generates earthquake energy and decreases the elastic energy stored in the rock.


The point on the surface of the Earth directly above the focus of an earthquake.


A fracture on which one body of rock slides past another.

fault scarp

A small step on the ground surface where one side of a fault has moved vertically with respect to the other.


The series of smaller earthquakes that precede a major earthquake.


The point below the Earth's surface where the energy is produced during an earthquake.

intraplate earthquake

Earthquake that occurs away from plate boundaries.


The transformation of seemingly solid sediment into a liquid-like slurry, in response to ground shaking.


Any numerical representation of the size of an earthquake as determined by measuring the amplitude of ground motion.

Mercalli intensity scale

An earthquake characterization scale based on the amount of damage that the earthquake causes.

moment-magnitude scale

A numerical representation of the size of an earthquake that takes into account the area of the fault that slipped, the amount of slip, and the strength of the rock that broke.

recurrence interval

The average time between successive geologic events.

Richter scale

A scale that defines earthquakes on the basis of the amplitude of the largest ground motion recorded on a seismogram.

seismic belt

The relatively narrow strips of crust on Earth under which most earthquakes occur.


Earthquake activity.

seismic waves

Waves of energy emitted at the focus of an earthquake.


The record of an earthquake produced by a seismograph.


An instrument that can record the ground motion from an earthquake.

shear waves

Seismic waves in which particles of material move back and forth perpendicular to the direction in which the wave itself moves.

stick-slip behavior

Stop-start movement along a fault plane caused by friction, which prevents movement until stress builds up sufficiently.

surface waves

Seismic waves that travel along the Earth's surface.


A large wave along the sea surface triggered by an earthquake or large submarine slump.

Wadati-Benioff zone

A sloping band of seismicity defined by intermediate- and deep-focus earthquakes that occur in the down-going slab of a convergent plate boundary.

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