How can convergent boundaries cause earthquakes?

Plate
Tectonics,

Earthquakes and Volcanoes

Plate
tectonics, earthquakes and volcanoes are closely related. In fact because
of the behavior of earthquakes and volcanoes the core of the theory of
plate tectonics has been proved. Earthquakes and volcanoes also allow
geoscientists to indirectly study the interior of the earth.
Map
showing the global distribution of earthquakes.

Over
a million earthquakes happen annually, including those too small to
be felt.

The
table below shows the average frequency of different magnitudes.

Description

Magnitude

Frequency per year
Great8.0+1
Major
7.0-7.9
18
Large
(destructive)
6.0-6.9120
Moderate
(damaging)

5.0-5.9

1,000
Minor
(damage slight)
4.9-4.06,000

Generally felt
3.0-3.949,000

Potentially perceptible
2.0-2.9300,000
Imperceptible
less
than 2.0
600,000+

 

About
80,000 earthquakes happen every month, a
bout
2,600 per day, 2 earthquakes per minute, and one earthquake happens
every 30 seconds.


Individual plates of varying size move about the surface of the Earth
at varying speeds. Friction causes the plates to get stuck. This causes
pressure to build up. When this stress is realeased an earthquake will
occur. Where plates pull apart, slide by each other or collide, there
is tectonic activity manifested as earthquakes. The great majority of
seismicity on the planet occurs at plate boundaries, although intra-plate
seismicity can occur as well when stresses build up in the plate.

At divergent
plate boundaries, earthquakes tend to be weak and shallow
.

Transform
plate boundaries, have shallow, but very powerful earthquakes.
At
convergent plate boundaries, where two continental plates collide earthquakes
are deep and also very powerful.
In
general, the deepest and the most powerful earthquakes occur at plate
collision (or subduction) zones at convergent plate boundaries.

 

Brooklyn
College – Geology Department

Plate
Tectonics,

Earthquakes and Volcanoes

Plate
tectonics, earthquakes and volcanoes are closely related. In fact because
of the behavior of earthquakes and volcanoes the core of the theory of
plate tectonics has been proved. Earthquakes and volcanoes also allow
geoscientists to indirectly study the interior of the earth.
Map
showing the global distribution of earthquakes.

Over
a million earthquakes happen annually, including those too small to
be felt.

The
table below shows the average frequency of different magnitudes.

Description

Magnitude

Frequency per year
Great8.0+1
Major
7.0-7.9
18
Large
(destructive)
6.0-6.9120
Moderate
(damaging)

5.0-5.9

1,000
Minor
(damage slight)
4.9-4.06,000

Generally felt
3.0-3.949,000

Potentially perceptible
2.0-2.9300,000
Imperceptible
less
than 2.0
600,000+

 

About
80,000 earthquakes happen every month, a
bout
2,600 per day, 2 earthquakes per minute, and one earthquake happens
every 30 seconds.


Individual plates of varying size move about the surface of the Earth
at varying speeds. Friction causes the plates to get stuck. This causes
pressure to build up. When this stress is realeased an earthquake will
occur. Where plates pull apart, slide by each other or collide, there
is tectonic activity manifested as earthquakes. The great majority of
seismicity on the planet occurs at plate boundaries, although intra-plate
seismicity can occur as well when stresses build up in the plate.

At divergent
plate boundaries, earthquakes tend to be weak and shallow
.

Transform
plate boundaries, have shallow, but very powerful earthquakes.
At
convergent plate boundaries, where two continental plates collide earthquakes
are deep and also very powerful.
In
general, the deepest and the most powerful earthquakes occur at plate
collision (or subduction) zones at convergent plate boundaries.

 

Brooklyn
College – Geology Department

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How can convergent boundaries cause earthquakes?

1 Answer

Stephen G.
·
Stefan V.

Nov 27, 2016

Answer:

The buildup of friction (thus potential energy) between both converging plates.

Explanation:

Convergent boundaries are where two plates come together. The plate that is the most dense will subduct beneath the other plate (see the image below) creating uplift (mountain building) or plates with comparable densities will mash into each other, creating uplift, even though there is still going to be at least some subduction. Generally speaking, the older of the two plates, if they’re of the same composition, is the most dense.

As one plate subducts beneath the other, there is an incredible amount of friction between the two. The plates sort of “lock” into each other, while each is still moving toward each other. Eventually, something has to give way, and that “lock” breaks. This locked zone then becomes the rupture zone (also known as the hypocenter of the earthquake). This friction gets converted from potential to kinetic energy when the plates slip, releasing a large amount of energy.

Subduction zone earthquakes are among the most powerful, primarily because there is so much surface area being affected, resulting in a much greater seismic moment , as well as the average amount of slip (see the same link above for information on this).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plate_tectonics

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