Question: Why did the worlds first earthquake happen? How powerfull was it? Is it powerfull like the ones that happens nowadays?

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  1. Hi meliscetin!

    That is a really good question. And I think that I might not be an expert in this. When we are speaking of earthquakes, we almost always think of a fault that moves. And moving faults are related to plate tectonics. So when did this start?
    Over three billion (!) years ago, the earth was cooling very slowly. When the Earth was really hot, rocks were molten and minerals formed and changed and disappeared every now and then. But as the Earth became cooler, small broken mineral grains could not heal anymore, because it was “too cold” for them. These damaged parts aligned very slowly and formed zones that were weaker than others. As the earth cooled further, these zones grew bigger and cracked and moved apart and collided again: the first faults were developed and produced the first earthquakes. And after even more time, the first rigid tectonic plates developed.

    All the best,


  2. Hi Meliscetin!

    To complete Andi’s answer I would like to say that studying the seismic movements of the past is an extremely challenging science as the only relics that we have of that are faults. Right now we know that earthquakes happen also quite deep in the mantle where the temperature is high and the rock behaves more like silly putty. This can indicate that before plate tectonics earthquakes also occurred!!!

    Hope this helps!