Earthquakes are a naturally caustic effect of our earth’s continually changing surface, and thousands of them happen day by day. Earthquakes, also called temblors, can be so tremendously destructive; it’s hard to imagine they occur by the thousands every day around the world, usually in the form of small tremors. Some 80 percent of all the planet’s earthquakes occur along the rim of the Pacific Ocean, called the “Ring of Fire” because of the preponderance of volcanic activity there as well. Most earthquakes occur at fault zones, where tectonic plates—giant rock slabs that make up the Earth’s upper layer—collide or slide against each other. On average, a magnitude 8 quake strikes somewhere every year and some 10,000 people die in earthquakes annually. The onset of the 21st century has brought a new public awareness of natural hazards. Recent catastrophic events like the 2004 tsunami in Asia or the 2005 flooding of New Orleans have made it not only to the headlines in news publications around the globe but have also contributed to a more profound desire to accumulate knowledge about natural hazards in general among people all over the world. Earthquake research belongs to the most fascinating topics in the field of natural hazard research. Hardly any other hazard claims more lives, destroys more values and can lead to catastrophic after- effects (as can be seen when looking at the 2011 earthquake with resulting tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan). In most cases scientists are not able to forecast when and where an earthquake may take place, but only the approximate region and the probability, not the precise date and the magnitude. Geoscientists therefore by and large concentrate on assessing and mapping regions that experienced earthquakes in the past. This work is devoted to different aspects of earthquake research as they can cause significant losses and deaths, it is really important to understand the process and the physics of this phenomenon. It does not focus on a unique problem in earthquake processes, but spans studies on historical earthquakes and seismology in diverse tectonic environments, to more applied studies on earthquake geology.

This book ‘Earthquakes’ is committed to a variety of aspects of earthquake research and analysis, from theoretical advances to practical applications. This book is devoted to various aspects of earthquake researches, especially to new achievements in seismicity that engages geosciences, assessment, and mitigation. Chapters contain advanced materials of detailed engineering investigations, which can help more clearly appreciate, predict, and manage different earthquake processes. The specific aim of the book is to encourage debate and future research to advance hazard assessments, spreading of earthquake engineering data and, eventually, the seismic provisions of building codes. It provides the state of the art on recent progress in earthquake engineering and management.