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EARTHQUAKES


What is an earthquake?
According to the theory of Plate Tectonics, earthquakes are caused by the movement of plates. The Earth's crust is made up of huge slabs of rock called plates which fit together like an uneven jigsaw puzzle. The region where two or more plates meet is called a plate boundary. The plates are constantly moving but this plate movement is neither smooth nor continuous, rather the plates often lock together causing a build-up of energy. When the plates eventually move out of this locked position the energy that is released may be felt as an earthquake.



Much of the world’s earthquake and volcanic activity takes place along plate boundaries. At these plate boundaries the plates interact with each other in different ways; some of them slide past each other, others spread apart and others move toward each other with crumpling or one dipping beneath the other. This last type of plate boundary is called a subduction zone which is the main type of plate interaction occurring in the Eastern Caribbean.