Why are some areas more prone to large earthquakes and more frequent tectonic activity?


I understand there are some very active faults in the earth which move more than others but why is this? As a UK resident i recall 5 or so years back that we had a minor tremor which was huge news nationally. Why are some more active and violent than others and are earthquakes impacted or made more common by climate change?

In: 2

The Earth’s surface is not solid. It’s composed of giant tectonic plates very slowly drifting around. Earthquakes happen in the areas where they hit each other, mountains also form as the result of such collisions. If you live in the middle of the plate, there’s nothing or almost nothing to cause an earthquake. If you live in an area where an active collision is taking place (such as Japan), expect earthquakes every week. Climate has nothing to do with it, it cannot affect the tectonic drift.

The surface of the Earth is similar to large sheets of rock floating on top of a hot semi-fluid layer of magma. At the edges of these sheets is where most tectonic and volcanic activities happens because the sheets push and pull against each other. But, because they are rock they don’t slide smoothly. Instead they press together harder and harder until they over come friction and jump, causing an earthquake because of the sudden rapid movement.

The Earth’s surface is made up of huge sheets of (essentially) rock known as “tectonic plates.” These plates float on a semi-solid layer of magma, and they move around a bit. The areas where these plates rub up against one another are called “faults.” The tectonic plates rubbing against one another is what creates earthquakes (as well as mountain ranges). There are little faults all over the place, so you can get an earthquake pretty much anywhere, but earthquakes, especially severe ones, are much more common near major faults. For example one of the largest faults in the world, the [San Andreas Fault](https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fb/Aerial-SanAndreas-CarrizoPlain.jpg) is in California, which has a number of major earthquakes.

We actually experience earthquakes all the time, it’s just that the vast majority are too small to feel. Earthquakes are rated in strength on something known as the Richter scale, which goes from 1 to 10; generally you cannot feel an earthquake that is under a 3. Earthquakes with a magnitude of 1 or 2 on the Richter scale happen hundreds of times a day, all across the planet, it’s just that they are too small for you to notice.