Vocabulary of earthquakes

Term Definition
Surface Wave seismic wave that moves rock particles in a
backward, rolling motion and also in a side-to-side,
swaying motion
Primary Wave seismic wave that causes rock particles to
move back and forth in the same direction that the wave
is traveling
Lithosphere crust plus the rigid, upper mantle
Seismic Wave wave generated by an earthquake
Focus point below Earth’s surface where energy is first released in the form of seismic waves
Secondary Wave seismic wave that moves rock particles at
right angles to the direction of the wave
Mercalli scale used to measure the strength of an earthquake based upon damage.
Earthquake vibrations, or shaking, produced when rocks
break along a fault
Epicenter point on Earth’s surface directly above the
earthquake focus
Seismograph instrument used to register seismic waves
and record the time that each arrived
Richter Scale scale that compares the magnitude of an earthquake recorded by seismographs
Core solid inner most part of Earth's structure, made of solid iron-nickel
Crust rigid, rocky outer surface of Earth
Mantle rocky layer located under the crust. Composed of silicon, oxygen, magnesium, and calcium
Mohorovicic Discontinuity separates the crust and the upper mantle
Asthenosphere the part of upper mantle that is flowing

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