Earthquake Study Guide – Vocabulary

aftershock
a quake of lesser magnitude following a large earthquake in the same area
moment magnitude scale
a mean of measuring earthquakes the are too large for the Richter scale
mercalli scale
a of earthquake intensity based on the observed effects and ranging from 1-12
epicenter
the point on the earth’s surface directly above the focus of an earthquake
focus
the point of origin of an earthquake
continental drift
large scale movements of continents over the course of geologic time
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surface waves
the waves that travel along the earth’s surface caused by earthquakes
primary waves
an earthquake wave in which rock particles vibrate parallel to the direction of wave travel
*travels through solids and liquids*
secondary waves
an earthquake waves in which rock particles vibrate at right angle to the direction of wave travel
*travels through solids only*
magnitude
a measure of the amount of energy released by an earthquake as indicated on the Richter scale