When is earthquake and when is tremor? Know HERE the difference between the two

This March 18, 2023, at 12:12 p.m., a 6.5 tremor was felt in the Guayas region, in Ecuador, and mainly affected Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca; in addition to the northern zone of Peru, in regions such as Tumbes and Piura. So far, according to statements by President Guillermo Lasso, 12 deaths have been reported.

The surprise arrival of telluric movements usually generates fear among the population, and words like earthquake, shaking and earthquake they begin to form part of the speech of the moment. However, it is necessary to know how each term differs. In the following note, know the definition of these concepts.

What is an earthquake?

In the first place, it is necessary to define what an earthquake is, since all the movements produced by the Land they are. It consists of a series of vibrations on the planet’s surface, caused by sudden and abrupt activity in the inner layers (crust and mantle). Usually, they are generated by volcanic or tectonic disturbances.

The origin of earthquakes is found in the release of Accumulated energy, transmitted in turn as elastic waves. This produces vibrations and oscillations on its way through the solid rocks of the Earth’s mantle. In the strict sense, a tremor and an earthquake are also earthquakes.

Before recognizing the differences between tremor and earthquake, it is necessary to understand what an epicenter, hypocenter, and the earth’s crust are.

Difference Between Epicenter and Hypocenter

It is known as hypocenter to the place deep in the Earth from where the energy of an earthquake emanates. It is called superficial when it occurs in the earth’s crust. In turn, the epicenter It is the point on the mainland, located directly above the hypocenter, so the earthquake force is greater.

What is the earth’s crust?

The earth’s crust is made up of a dozen tectonic plates with an approximate thickness of 70 km, which are constantly accommodated.

What is an earthquake?

An earthquake is a type of earthquake whose epicenter is on the surface. In this case, the movement is more abrupt due to the release of energy accumulated for a long time.

Most tectonic movements are imperceptible. However, sometimes the plates collide with each other with great force, since one could begin to move on or under the other, and generate gradual changes in the topography. When the process becomes difficult, energy and tension build up to be released later. Therefore, the earthquakes They are the cause of the existence of continents and landforms. In addition, they can cause tsunamis when they shake the seabed abruptly.

What is a tremor?

In its genesis, a tremor and an earthquake are the same. However, the tremor is a smaller earthquake, and may even be imperceptible, since it is a telluric movement common on Earth. To call it an earthquake, one must consider its duration, magnitude, amount of energy released, and damage caused.

Frequently, the tremors They occur when elastic potential energy accumulated in the gradual deformation of the rocks adjacent to the plane of an active fault is released. However, other causes may be volcanic processes, the collapse of karstic cavities or landslides.

Every year, 100,000 earthquakes of magnitude 3 on the Richter scale, and 600,000 of magnitude 5 or 6, occur in the world. From 6 to 8 degrees, it begins to be considered an earthquake, depending on the destruction it generates. In the case of earthquakes that reach magnitude 9 and 10, they are called cataclysms.