Are there different types of earthquake?
Roads can be sheared apart along strike-slip faults. They’re straight cracks in the crust where two plates are sliding horizontally past each other. Every time a section of the fault moves, an earthquake occurs.
Earth’s brittle crust becomes fractured along fault lines. Quakes occur along a normal fault when the two sides move apart. Rock slabs sitting above the fault slide down in the direction the plates are moving, like at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.
The 2011 Tohoku quake in Japan ruptured a thrust fault in a subduction zone. These zones are associated with Earth’s most violent quakes as oceanic crust grinds beneath continental crust, creating great friction. Huge stresses can build here and release the same energy as a thousand hydrogen bombs!