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Ed Yeates explains science of earthquakes

Posted - Apr. 16, 2010 at 5:31 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Thursday's earthquake in Randolph, Utah, has prompted a lot of questions about why some people feel a relatively small quake like this so far away.

KSL's Ed Yeates has been covering earthquakes for decades. He joins Bruce and Deanie live on KSL News at 5 to answer that and other questions about earthquakes. Click the play button above to watch their discussion.

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Earthquake Depth
Earthquakes can occur anywhere between the Earth's surface and about 700 kilometers (437.5 miles) below the surface. The strength of shaking from an earthquake diminishes with increasing distance from the earthquake's source, so the strength of shaking at the surface from an earthquake that occurs at 500km (312.5 miles) deep is considerably less than if the same earthquake had occurred at 20 km (12.5 miles) depth. -USGS
What causes earthquakes?
The crust and the top of the mantle (the top two layers of the earth) make up a thin skin on the surface of our planet. This skin is made up of many pieces like a puzzle (called tectonic plates) that are slowly moving, sliding past one another and bumping into each other. Since the edges of the plates are rough, they get stuck while the rest of the plate keeps moving. When the plate has moved far enough, the edges unstick on one of the faults resulting in an earthquake. -USGS

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