Story: Earthquakes

Faults and earthquakes (1st of 2)

Faults and earthquakes

The place where a fault ruptures is called the focus or origin, and the point directly above on the earth’s surface is called the epicentre. The pulse of energy released by a fault movement radiates outwards as seismic waves, or shock waves. Large, shallow earthquakes sometimes cause a surface rupture, as shown here.

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Source: Rebecca Ansell and John Taber, Caught in the crunch. Auckland: Harper Collins, 1996, p. 45

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How to cite this page:

Eileen McSaveney, 'Earthquakes - What causes earthquakes?', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 5 October 2023)

Story by Eileen McSaveney, published 12 Jun 2006, reviewed & revised 1 Aug 2017