This is the reason why earthquakes occur

There are places like Colombia, Mexico, Japan or Indonesia where more earthquakes occur but why?

Epicenters registered in 2018 / National Seismological Service
Epicenters registered in 2018 / National Seismological Service

Earthquakes are movements on the earth that put us on alert and when they occur frequently, we ask ourselves: why does it tremble?

According to the National Center for Disaster Prevention (CENAPRED) an earthquake is "vibration of the earth caused by the propagation in the interior or on the surface of it, of various types of waves." The intensity of these waves is variable and, as we know, there are earthquakes that are practically imperceptible and others that cause great damage especially if they are close to areas inhabited by humans.

To understand why earthquakes occur, we must remember a little of our geography classes. The upper layer of the earth, below our feet, has an approximate thickness of one hundred kilometers, this layer is rocky and is fragmented into different plates, which are the tectonic plates.

The tectonic plates are not fixed, but in constant movement and can move without there being "friction" between them but when their mobility causes their edges to make contact, friction efforts are produced that prevent the displacement of one relative to the other. If this friction force between plates is greater than the strength of the rocks, a rupture or overlap of the plates can occur, which translates to those on the surface as an earthquake.

These movements of tectonic plates are occurring all the time, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year so it can not be predicted when the movement will be more or less intense because it is not a movement that keeps patterns but completely random.

The answer is in the same tectonic plates. The more tectonic plate edges there are below an area, the greater the likelihood of an earthquake. There are countries that are on one of these plates and the edges of it are very far away, but there are others, such as Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Indonesia or Japan, which are on the edges of some tectonic plates which increases their chances of there is an earthquake

Mexico is on the plate of North America but in its Pacific coast, there is the plate of Cocos, the one of the Pacific and in its border with Central America, there is the plate of the Caribbean. In the case of Colombia, for example, it is on the plate of South America but its Pacific coast is adjacent to the Nazca plate.

The National Seismological Service registered 30,350 epicentres in 2018, which would be equivalent to 83.1 earthquakes per day, most of them less than four degrees of intensity.

Do not forget that the Earth is in constant motion and that there is no way to predict a telluric movement. What we can do is prevent and be prepared for when it may occur.