13 Things You Didn't Know About Earthquakes

There are half a million quakes a year, for one thing
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2010 7:06 AM CST
A home lays damaged after an earthquake in Llico, Chile, Wednesday, March 3, 2010. An 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck central Chile early Saturday, causing widespread damage.   (AP Photo/Aliosha Marquez)

(Newser) – February's 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile moved the city of Concepcion 10 feet, shortened the day, and altered the planet's axis—crazy facts, of which there are plenty more. LiveScience runs down some wild things you probably didn't know about earthquakes:

  • Chile isn't the only place that's shifting: San Fransisco moves about 2 inches closer to Los Angeles every year. The two will meet millions of years from now.
  • You read about approximately .004% of earthquakes each year: The actual annual earthquake tally is about 500,000. Of those, 100,000 can be felt, and 100 cause damage.

  • The deadliest earthquake ever happened in China: The Jan. 23, 1556 quake in Shansi is believed to have killed 830,000 people.
  • But the most powerful one happened just 50 years ago: A 9.5 magnitude quake struck in Chile on May 22, 1960.
  • The sun and moon don't just affect tides: Turns out the tug of the sun and moon on the San Andreas Fault causes underground tremors.
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