How an Earthquake Occurs

Science, Grade 6


Table Of Contents: How an Earthquake Occurs

1. Rock Experiences Stress
The Earth's tectonic plates are in motion. This movement creates forces called stress that push and pull the rock within the Earth's crust.
2. Rock Releases Energy
Stress can cause rock to break and release stored energy in the form of seismic waves. These waves travel through the Earth and an earthquake occurs.
3. Earthquake Focus and Epicenter
The point where the rock first breaks is called the focus of an earthquake. The point directly above the focus on the Earth's surface is the epicenter.
4. Earthquake Aftershocks
After an earthquake event, smaller earthquakes called aftershocks often occur near the focus of the original earthquake.