Since most of my posts have been pretty serious, warning people of the dangers of earthquakes and getting you to prepare yourselves, I decided to write something more fun. Earthquake myths! Yup, there’s a lot of misconception about earthquakes so I’ll be writing a series of articles focusing specifically on earthquake myths so that you are not misinformed.
A Fault will Open Up and Swallow You
You might ask “Will an earthquake swallow me whole?”. This popular myth comes mostly from movies or novels where a person is in an earthquake and the ground just splits wide open creating a a huge gap and deep crevice where they eventually fall to their death or heroically get saved last minute while clenching onto the hero’s hand.
This actually is false as faults do NOT open up. The ground on the two sides of the fault passes each other, they don’t pull apart. The friction between these two is what causes an earthquake. Without friction, there is no earthquake.
Earthquakes often cause physical damage to structures on the ground itself like buildings, not as much to the ground itself. They can, however, cause fissures or cracks in the ground. Most fissures that result from earthquakes form due to landslides or slumps tied to the rapid withdrawal of groundwater and can go up to a meter in width and aren’t that deep. You can probably safely stand in them and they won’t be spewing red-hot lava or seal themselves back up like in the movies.
There have been cases of large fissures but those are usually caused by water erosion and takes a long time to form. Here’s an article by Metabunk.org that shows one of these cases in Mexico which caused for alarm because they thought the ground was moving apart but was actually caused by erosion of the soil causing it to sink instead.
Stay tuned for more Earthquake Myths to be posted soon!
And remember to be safe and be prepared.