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An earthquake is a sudden, and sometimes catastrophic movement of part of the earth's surface.
Earthquakes result from the dynamic release of elastic strain energy that radiates seismic waves. Earthquake typicaly result from the movement within the Earth's upper crust. The word earthquake is also widely used to indicate the source region itself.
Earthquakes occur where the stress resulting from the differential motion of these plate exceeds the strength of the crust. The highest stress (and possible weakest zone) is most often found at the boundaries of the tectonic plates and hence these locations are where the majority of earthquakes occur. Events located at plate boundaries are called interplate earthquake, the less frequent events that occur in the interior of the lithospheric plates are called intraplate earthquakes also occur in volcanic regions.
Seismic waves including some strong enough to be felt by humans, can also be caused by explosions (chemical or nuclear), landslides, and collapse of old mine shafts, though these sources are not strictly earthquakes.
Taken from the Book of English in Action for Senior High School Grade XI, for Science Programme, Gelora Aksara Pratama 2006, hal 28.