Earth's lithosphere is broken into a set of enormous rocky fragments called plates. Interactions between these plate occur mainly along the edges, or margins. There are three different types of plate margins. These margins are determined by the types of interactions that occur between the plates.
Divergent margins occur where two plates are moving apart from each other, or diverging. This margin can occur in both continental of oceanic crust. Convergent margins occurs where two plates are moving towards each other. Different types of margins can occur here depending on the types of plates that are interacting. A collision zone occurs when two continents meet each other along a convergent margin. Here the plates will crumple upward and downwards as the lithosphere thickens, forming mountains. When the two plates meeting are both oceanic, one plate will usually slide underneath the other, usually resulting in volcanoes. The last type of margin is a transform fault. This occurs where two plates are grinding their edges as they slide past each other. This causes the plates to have very jagged boundaries.
An earthquake is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves. Earthquakes occur primarily along plate margins. When two plates are rubbing against each other, they stick at the edges, but the rest of each plate is continuing to move, so the rock along the edges are distorted (strain). As this continues, pressure builds up to a point where the rock can no longer stand it, causing it to break. As the rock breaks, the energy radiates out as seismic waves and cause the earth to shake.
The waves that are felt on the surface of the Earth are Love waves and Rayleigh waves. Rayleigh waves, also known as ground roll, travel like ocean waves along the surface of the Earth causing the ground surface to move up and down. Rayleigh waves cause most of the shaking that is felt at the ground during an earthquake....