Types of earthquake

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This is a list of different types of earthquake.


  • Aftershock, a smaller earthquake that occurs after a previous large earthquake, in the same area of the main shock


  • Blind thrust earthquake, an earthquake which occurs along a thrust fault that does not show signs on the Earth's surface.


  • Cryoseism, a seismic event that may be caused by a sudden cracking action in frozen soil or rock saturated with water or ice


  • Deep-focus earthquake, also called a plutonic earthquake, an earthquake with a hypocenter depth exceeding 300 kilometres (190 mi)


  • Earthquake swarm, events where a local area experiences sequences of many earthquakes striking in a relatively short period of time


  • Foreshock, an earthquake that occurs before a larger seismic event (the mainshock) and is related to it in both time and space


  • Harmonic tremor, a sustained release of seismic and infrasonic energy typically associated with the underground movement of magma, the venting of volcanic gases from magma, or both


  • Induced seismicity, typically minor earthquakes and tremors that are caused by human activity that alters the stresses and strains on the Earth's crust
  • Interplate earthquake, an earthquake that occurs at the boundary between two tectonic plates
  • Intraplate earthquake, earthquake that occurs within the interior of a tectonic plate


  • Megathrust earthquake, earthquake occurring at subduction zones at destructive convergent plate boundaries, where one tectonic plate is forced underneath another



  • Slow earthquake, a discontinuous, earthquake-like event that releases energy over a period of hours to months, rather than the seconds to minutes characteristic of a typical earthquake
  • Submarine earthquake, an earthquake that occurs underwater at the bottom of a body of water, especially an ocean
  • Supershear earthquake, an earthquake in which the propagation of the rupture along the fault surface occurs at speeds in excess of the seismic shear wave (S-wave) velocity, causing an effect analogous to a sonic boom


  • Tsunami earthquake, an earthquake that triggers a tsunami of a magnitude that is very much larger than the magnitude of the earthquake as measured by shorter-period seismic waves


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