Print the Earthquakes reading
comprehension passage, Richter scale chart, and questions (see
Students should read the passage
silently, then answer the questions. Teachers may also use the text as
part of a classroom lesson plan.
Earthquakes cause the earth to shake! Earthquakes are caused by a fault line under the earth's crust. You do not have to be right under a fault line to feel an earthquake. You could be miles away and still feel the rattling of the earth! Most earthquakes only last for about one minute. They cannot be predicted before they happen.
You can always tell an earthquake is coming because the ground will begin to shake. You might see things fall off your shelves. Your door may rattle and shake! If it is a strong earthquake, you might hear low rumbling noises. You will feel strong jerks as the earth moves unexpectedly.
Scientists use something called a Richter scale to figure out how bad an earthquake really is. Earthquakes below 2.0 are secret earthquakes. The reason they are secret is most people cannot feel them. Earthquakes that are below 4.0 on the scale are small earthquakes. These earthquakes do not normally cause any damage. If the scale hits 5.0 then there could be damage. At 6.0, the earthquake is becoming very dangerous. It is considered "strong". If the earthquake reaches 7.0 it is a full blown, major earthquake.
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