Vocabulary to talk about an Earthquake in English

Learning People Apr 03, 2023

Natural disasters are impossible to avoid and when they do happen, they usually aren’t considered ‘fun’. 

It is important that you know some basic vocabulary about natural disasters.

The following article will briefly discuss some vocabulary words to talk about an earthquake in English.


Before we learn vocabulary words that can help us talk about earthquakes, we first need to know what an earthquake is. 

In simple terms, an earthquake happens when the earth’s underground blocks move against each other. This is what causes the ground to shake so violently.

Cause of earthquakes information


We use this word when we are talking about the largest earthquake in a series of earthquakes. Usually, there is an aftereffect of such a big earthquake. 

You can try to use the first part of this new word to help you remember its definition.


This is a word you have probably heard before, and if not, then that is okay too. 

When people talk about an earthquake, and they use the word aftershock they are usually referring to the smaller earthquakes that happen in generally the same area.

These smaller earthquakes can happen a few days or even a few years after a mainshock earthquake.


I know this word looks funny and hard to pronounce but it is actually quite simple. 

The correct pronunciation of this word is size-muh-graaf

Easy right? So, what is a seismograph? People who study earthquakes and the damage they leave behind use a seismograph to record how the earth’s surface shakes to help determine how severe the earthquake was.


Now, this funny-looking word is pronounced syz-mol-uh-jist

Seismologists are scientists who study the earth, specifically the inside of the earth

These people study certain aspects to determine when the next earthquake might happen and what factors contribute to frequent earthquakes.


Knowing some of the technical terms for an earthquake is important. So are the words that describe how an earthquake and its aftereffects were and how it made others feel. 

When someone says the earthquake was disastrous what they mean is that the earthquake caused a lot of damage.


This is also a common word used to describe the effects of an earthquake. An earthquake can be a traumatic experience. 

When people use this word, they are referring to the catastrophic destruction the earthquake has left behind.


People who experience and survive big earthquakes usually define their experience as horrifying

This means that the people were terrified when the earthquake happened, and they are usually left feeling very shocked afterward.

Drop, Cover, and Hold on

This last point isn’t a new vocabulary word. No, this last point is an instruction. 

When an earthquake happens, you must drop to the floor on your hands and knees.

This is to prevent you from being knocked to the ground. Next, you must cover your entire body under something strong that won’t easily be knocked over. 

If you cannot cover your entire body, then cover your head and neck. 

Lastly, hold on to whatever sturdy shelter you have chosen to cover yourself. 

Do not let go until the shaking of the earthquake has stopped.

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