Earthquakes are common in Japan but this 1995 Kobe quake was a standout that spelled the end of the road for a section of asphalt highway, a fleet of trucks, and even a huge crane which collapsed under the force of the temblor. Haitian girls pick up the pieces by retrieving household goods from a Port-au-Prince neighborhood reduced to rubble by the magnitude 7.0 earthquake which struck on January 12, 2010. Iranians stand near the steel shelters in which they were still living two years after a deadly 2003 quake killed some 30,000 people and destroyed much of the historic city of Bam.Earthquakes originate underground in the crust and upper mantle at depths of up to 500 miles (800 kilometers).
A Port-au-Prince neighborhood lies ruined and reeling on January 16, 2010, just four days after one of the more devastating quakes in recent memory rocked the island nation of Haiti.Scientists with seismic equipment monitor about half a million earthquakes a year and very few of them are even strong enough to be noticed by people on the surface. The human toll is high in Port-au-Prince Haiti, where the after effects of a massive earthquake will be felt for years to come. Chinese women weep near one of many buildings leveled in Dujiangyan by a May, 2008 earthquake. The terrible toll of the earthquake which struck Sichuan province on May 12, 2008, is evident as parents perform funeral rites for children killed when their school collapsed.
Chytrid fungus, responsible for amphibian declines and extinctions around the world, is now confirmed in Madagascar. With severe water shortages in Brazil's cities and destructive floods in the Amazon, the boom-and-bust phenomenon may be South America's new normal.


Eugenie Clark, a marine biologist and ichthyologist, helped the public understand and appreciate the much maligned shark. See how you measure up against others, and how changes at home could do tons to protect the planet.
The National Geographic Society aims to be an international leader for global conservation and environmental sustainability. Nearly a year later as many as one million Haitians still live in refugee camps.Big quakes can be devastating and deadly but thousands of earthquakes take place around the world every single day. Most big quakes happen at the faults where large tectonic plates of rock meet and move past one another in a slow, gradual process. Army.The January 2010 Haitian quake occurred at the boundary of the Caribbean and North American plates. The San Francisco Bay area has a 67 percent chance of experiencing a major earthquake sometime in the next 30 years. The temblor rocked Sichuan province, demolishing a staggering five million buildings and killing more than 70,000 people.The deadliest quake on record also struck in China.
The quake killed some 70,000 people and left more than five million homeless.Earthquake frequency appears to be relatively consistent through the years.


The vast majority of all earthquakes are so weak that no one notices them-except for scientists who monitor sensitive seismic equipment at more than 4,000 scattered stations. When stresses cause sudden shifts of these plates they move violently from side to side or up and down, sending shock waves through the crust which we experience as earthquakes. About 10,000 people lose their lives to earthquakes each year, an average weighted by catastrophic events like the Haitian quake.
California is crossed by the San Andreas Fault system, where the Pacific and North American plates are slowly moving past one another horizontally. Yet earthquake danger to human is increasing because populations in earthquake-prone areas, like urban California and Japan, continues to rise and put more people at risk.
California is in no danger of dropping into the Pacific, but Los Angeles and San Francisco will one day sit next to one another.



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