According to the US Geological Survey, ninety percent of the world’s earthquakes occur in specific areas that are the boundaries of the Earth’s major crustal plates. Shown on this map http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/earthq4/worldmap.gif are the epicenter locations of earthquakes of magnitude 4.5 or greater that occurred from 1978 through 1987.
The Richter Scale, developed in 1935 by Charles F. Richter of the California Institute of Technology, measures the magnitude of the earthquake in whole numbers and decimal fractions. Each whole number increase in magnitude represents a tenfold increase in intensity.
Depending upon the magnitude and the proximity to the epicenter of the earthquake, damage to buildings can vary greatly. Buildings may be shifted off foundations or experience partial collapse. A higher magnitude earthquake could leave masonry and wooden structures destroyed. In addition, structural damage may not be apparent; therefore, supporting documentation from structural engineers or other experts may be useful.
In order to prepare for an earthquake and possible subsequent damage, photographs of the business should be taken, and updated regularly, beforehand. In addition, it is crucial that records are backed up regularly and, optimally, kept off-site. These steps will greatly enhance the claims process should you experience damage after an earthquake
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