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5 Earthquakes That Changed America

Alan Raymond
Published: November 6, 2013

Earthquakes That Shaped Seismology

Earthquakes are among the most incredible shows of force by Mother Nature. They’re known for violent shaking, massive tsunamis and for taking an immense toll on humanity.

Earthquakes have occurred for billions of years, but the study of seismology is only about 100 years old. Dr. Alfred Wegner, who was educated in astronomy and was a professor of meteorology at several universities in Europe, proposed the theory of continental drift in 1912. His discovery of tectonic drift was debated for nearly five decades before it was confirmed by scientists in the 1960s.

(MORE: Earthquake Reports)

Scientists eventually identified three types of faults: slip-strike faults, normal faults and thrust faults.

Most of the major earthquakes in this country have been on slip-strike and thrust faults. Movements along these faults have caused some of the most intense quakes in the world, in some cases causing catastrophic damage.

In large part, the advancement of seismology has since been due to the dissection of seismic events after they’ve occurred.

Here are America’s most notable earthquakes in terms of their impact on the advancement of seismology and public policy.


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