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What is an earthquake?

What exactly is an earthquake? An earthquake is a natural event inside the Earth which releases built-up energy. Earthquakes release energy and create seismic waves, which cause the shaking we feel. It's important to be clear: an earthquake is not the shaking we feel. An earthquake is the event which makes the seismic waves (we'll talk about them in a bit) which cause the shaking we feel.

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Greg Anderson
Fri Feb 28 16:14:29 PST 1997