earthquake vocabulary

mexico experienced a major earthquake last thursday,

angel sanchez pulled the mexican flag out of the rubble

angel sanchez pulled the mexican flag out of the rubble of the juchitán city hall and created this symbolic image of human tenacity explains

the earthquake that struck the coast of southern mexico, late on september 7th, was a big one, with a magnitude of 8.2……president, enrique peña nieto, called the quake the strongest in at least a century. but it was not the most destructive. in 1985 a slightly smaller quake—measuring 8.0—off the coast of michoacán state in the west killed at least 10,000 people, many of them in mexico city. at least 40 live babies were pulled out of the rubble of a collapsed hospital.

struck is the irregular past tense of strike. it’s one option for talking about the occurence of aearthquake. some others are: an earthquake hit southern mexico, there was an earthquake last week or what time of day did the earthquake happen? quake is a shortened form of earthquake. rubble is what’s left after the destruction of a building. a synonym used in the article to describe the garbage created by the quake is debris (pronounced duh-BREE). pull out describes how babies were rescued from the rubble.

betty & barney rubble
betty & barney rubble are the flintstone’s neighbors & best friends.

cool elt practice :) richyrocks on youtube

the article provides more contrasts between last week’s quake and the one in 1985

the epicentre of the southern mexican earthquake was farther away from mexico city than that of the 1985 quake and caused less violent shaking there. but even so, the capital has tightened building codes and is enforcing them better than it did 32 years ago. the city has also improved its preparation for and response to disasters. apartment and office blocks now often hold earthquake drills.

epicentre (the point on the earth’s surface directly above where the earthquake originated) is a british spelling.  americans write epicenter. shake means move all around, vibrate. tighten means the building codes have become stricter. hold means have, do. a drill is a simulation or a practice.  some other disasters that motivate schools and businesses to have drills are fires, hurricanes and tornadoes.

andre 3000 shaking it in the hey ya video
andre3000 shakin it in outkast’s hey ya video

unfortunately, the preparation in the capital has not extended to the rest of the country.

building standards and disaster preparation have improved less in smaller cities. the municipal secretary of juchitán, [oaxaca] where at least 36 people died, told the new york timesit was as if his town had been bombed. mexico’s newer culture of safety has not fully replaced slapdash practices rooted in corruption and weak rule of law. too much building still happens in flood-prone areas, largely because officials take bribes to allow it.

as if is similar to like. slapdash means negligent, careless. rooted indicates that the slapdash practices come from corruption. prone refers to areas where floods often happen. a bribe is money paid to do or allow an illegal act.

a map of southern mexico
the states of oaxaca & chiapas are in southern mexico (google maps)

the following vocabulary is also useful for talking about earthquakes….

  • aftershocks (little earthquakes that happen after a big earthquake) have continued this week in southern mexico.

u might want to get under a table when u feel an earthquake start. but make sure it’s sturdy.
  • if u are inside a building when an earthquake hits some organizations recommend that u get under a sturdy (well-built, strong) desk or table, like the guy in the picture above. when the shaking stops,  get out from under (the opposite of get under) the table and evacuate the building.

drop, cover hold on instructions

  • another common set of instrutctions is drop (get on the ground),  cover (get under something, protect your head), hold on (don’t let go of your cover). hold on is the title of this alabama shakes song about staying mentally strong when life makes u wait.

  • when evacuating a building during any type of drill, bottlenecks at the exits are hard to avoid. bottleneck means a crowded space without enough room for passing. if u relax your vision looking at this picture maybe u can see how the people exiting resemble liquid leaving a bottle.
bottleneck near the exit
  • the sensation of the earth moving makes many people feel dizzya spinning sensation inside the head that affects balance.

cartoon of a dizzy guy

dude is dizzy
  • adrenaline (energy generated by highly emotional moments) is more or less the same word in english and spanish. as a result, it can be difficult to pronounce correctly in english because the phonetics and word stress are different. click here for proper pronunciation.

dude has trouble dealing with adrenaline
  • finally, earthquake itself can be a difficult word to pronounce too.  listen to the correct pronunciation here.

do u know any other earthquake vocabulary?  share your knowledge under leave a reply





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