Science

Earthquakes in Africa

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Days after the devastating earthquake in Nepal, The Economist has published an article on big earthquakes in the last 20 years and their geographical occurrence, triggering us to write on the issue with an African perspective. Why and where earthquakes happen is controlled by plate tectonics. Seismically most active areas are convergent margins, i.e. where continental and or oceanic plates collide with each other. This includes almost the entire eastern coast of the Americas, a trail from Japan to New Zealand via Indonesia and Fiji, and a belt from Turkey to China, including Himalayas where the recent Nepal earthquake occurred.

Occurrence of big earthquakes (magnitude 7.0 or above) since 1995. Figure by The Economist.
Occurrence of big earthquakes (magnitude 7.0 or above) since 1995. Figure by The Economist.

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