Things that cause earthquakes

So many things are said to cause earthquakes, things have become a little complex during the last years. For many people it might be hard to remember all of them and you will probably ask yourself “What can I do to avoid finding myself having caused a seismic event by accident?” Here’s help. I prepared a list with no claim to completeness of things that might cause earthquakes. Some are already well-known, some were suprising to me. Recently, chancellor Angela Merkel said she’s against equal taxation for gay and straight couples. I guess this can only be interpretetd as an attempt to minimize seismic hazard in Germany, everything else would be ridiculous…

What’s your favorite? What’s missing?

Is this the silver lining at the horizon?

Things that cause earthquakes

Plus, surprisingly:

Anything missing here?

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Christoph Grützner

Christoph Grützner

works at the Institute of Geological Sciences, Jena University. He likes Central Asia and the Mediterranean and looks for ancient earthquakes.

See all posts Christoph Grützner


  • Nahúm | 2012-12-04|10:21 (UTC)

    I love your post. Some political declarations about earthquake causes are just… incredible 🙂

  • Philip Lole | 2018-03-07|11:04 (UTC)

    Papua New Guinea experienced an unusual 7.6 magnitude earthquake.

    1 What could be the possible causes other than the tectonic plate movements.

    2. Can the extraction of crude oil and natural gas trigger such a massive earthquake?

  • Christoph Grützner | 2018-03-08|22:03 (UTC)

    I can’t think of anything but tectonics to have caused this earthquake (we know it was no volcanic eruption and no impact). Such large earthquakes are rare, but they do occur every now and then in areas where plates collide.
    We now know that the extraction of oil and gas can come along with seismicty, and the same is true for fluid injection. One needs to distinguish two things:
    1) Triggered earthquakes are basically only stimulated by oil or gas extraction, or by fluid injection, but they would have occurred anyway, just later. That is, stress in the crust has been released that has built up over a long time. Theoretically there is no upper limit to the magnitude of triggered events; they can become as strong as the natural earthquake would have been even without human interference.
    2) Seismicity can be caused by fluid injection or extraction because by doing so we change the stress in the rocks, and this change may cause the rock to crack and fracture. Actually, fracking is exactly this – producing artificial earthquakes that break rock. However, the change in stress that us humans can cause deep down in the earth is way smaller than what nature can do herself. That is, only relatively small earthquakes are caused by humans.
    The recent PNG earthquake was not unusual at all, by the way:

  • Arnulfo Hernandez | 2018-04-18|21:19 (UTC)

    Hahaahaha gay and sex but does it really happen

  • pi.bela | 2018-04-28|10:45 (UTC)

    so are you telling me that i’m going to be the reason why we have another earthquake?

  • Christoph Grützner | 2018-04-29|20:27 (UTC)


  • khloe | 2018-05-01|01:25 (UTC)

    earthquakes are caused when plate tectonics get stressed and break

  • Christoph Grützner | 2018-05-01|07:18 (UTC)

    Sure, but there is an intense scientific debate as to what controls when exactly an earthquake happens. Plus, there are a lot of really stupid things being said which I try to make a bit fun of here.

  • khloe | 2018-05-01|01:27 (UTC)

    thats whats missing and like those things are true but not very logic am I right or am I right

  • Bibhu Ranjan Swain | 2018-05-05|07:13 (UTC)

    can we say that earthquake could be take place due to the excessive use of water or water depletion

  • Christoph Grützner | 2018-05-05|12:18 (UTC)

    Well, there is evidence that earthquakes may be triggered (not caused) by a change in the groundwater table. This change will increase or decrease the normal stress in the ground,
    and the result could be an earthquake. So yes, if people pump a lot of water out of the ground or inject a lot of water, earthquakes may be triggered. Note that the very big earthquakes that do a lot of damage would happen anyway.

  • Benita | 2018-05-08|13:23 (UTC)

    I think you should explain the causes of earthquake so it will be clear to anyone that visits this site rather than just stating them.thanks

  • IcyRaccoon | 2018-05-25|18:17 (UTC)

    this was very helpful!

  • Riya | 2018-05-31|13:50 (UTC)


  • Shashank | 2018-06-04|17:26 (UTC)


  • Sambo mulalo | 2018-06-29|13:46 (UTC)

    Earthquakes usually cause by the release of energy caused seismic Wave that make the ground shake

  • Sambo mulalo | 2018-06-29|14:02 (UTC)

    Things that can cause an earthquake heavy rains in South is also Included flow high carbon dioxide pressure ,buildings dams

  • Bila | 2018-10-02|11:39 (UTC)

    Nice job. Thanks for the information

  • Gayatri | 2018-10-14|15:19 (UTC)

    Thanks. It was really helpful for my science project.😊

  • Noah | 2018-10-20|17:49 (UTC)

    Thank you fort Thea information. It was very/weirdly good information.

  • xylia kean | 2018-10-23|03:58 (UTC)

    f u
    imagine if someone gay or lisey read this what will they be thinking
    my aunts are gay

  • Jdbw | 2018-10-26|12:04 (UTC)

    Well this is stupid

  • Chandan yadav | 2018-11-11|15:39 (UTC)

    This is really helpful.

    But i have a question that how sex and are the causes of earthquake

  • Christoph Grützner | 2018-11-11|22:29 (UTC)

    Hi Chandan,

    Let me clarify this: All earthquakes are caused by stresses in Earth’s crust (or changes thereof). The first part of my post was intended to show that there is scientific controversy about how this actually happens. That’s interesting because it illustrates that more research is needed and that there are good scientific arguments for opposing interpretations.

    The last part of my post is a joke. I made it for two reasons.
    1) Because I think it’s funny.
    2) Because I want to make fun of people who are full of hate. I was shocked when I read that people claim that love between two human beings is something bad, and that it would be punished by God with an earthquake. This is so ridiculous that I never thought I actually had to comment on this.

  • Cristofer Periman | 2018-12-04|21:12 (UTC)

    I want to report this because its discriminating against peoples sexuality. Whether it is a joke or not it it is wrong.

  • Bhaiyya g | 2018-12-06|21:47 (UTC)

    Well can you explain some last ponits . So i understand the topic completely . 🤔🤔🙄

  • Sakshi | 2018-12-14|23:58 (UTC)

    I love this post

  • Aroshi | 2018-12-15|00:01 (UTC)

    When there is an earthquake and along with this the building shake it

  • lacy | 2019-01-09|14:10 (UTC)

    it is not for gay marrirge or enthing like that.

  • anwar shafeeq | 2019-11-27|05:30 (UTC)

    Hi, I happened to see this write up when my Ten year old was confused reading this as a part of his school project. You can be funny but need to be aware of the fact that there could be misinterpretations on such “careless” articulations of a “supposed to be” scientific article.

  • hussein smadi | 2019-12-12|04:28 (UTC)

    i do not believe the earth quake is natural thing
    its all due to human error of misusing the crust of earth in the natural way
    as we cover maximum of the earth surface by cementing and asphalting which cause preventing rain circulation to be complete more over the draw of underground water and crude oil has major effect

  • Abdullahi Huddaini | 2020-02-11|00:28 (UTC)

    Thanks for wonderful educational update I really appreciated it especially the issue of same sex marriage, homosexual and foo fighters the as among the courses of Earthquakes.

    Thanks once more have a good moment.

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