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Earthquake destruction (National Geographic)
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A mini-documentary about earthquakes by National Geographic.

When we least expected, when we’re least prepared, disaster can strike, and few disasters are as unsettling as an earthquake.

My guess is that earthquakes are really so scary because you don’t have any warning. It’s the only thing besides a nuclear war that can really... one second you’re living in a big beautiful city and ten seconds later it’s flat.

Every day the earth is shaken by hundreds of small earthquakes. Most go unnoticed. They usually occur along the boundaries of the templates that cover the earth like an eggshell. Driven by the heat deep within the earth’s core, the plates grind against each other on long lines called faults.

When the plates find their motion blocked, stress builds up. Finally, the fault gives way. The released energy raises through the earth in the form of seismic waves. For much of the world, the movement of plates like these is also an indispensable creative force.

If we didn’t have earthquakes, if we didn’t have this great flow of heat through the interior of the earth, the earth would be a cold dead place. If it wasn’t for this great flow of heat, they’d be no continents, no oceans, no atmospheres, the earth would be as dead and dry and cold as the moon. It’s really the earthquakes that create the topography, the valleys, the mountains.

Earthquakes have been shaping landscapes for eons. It’s only in the last few hundreds years that civilization has gotten in the way, and when it does...

STRIKE= Hit, beat. If disaster strikes, it happens.

UNSETTLING= That causes anxiety and fear.

EARTHQUAKE= When the earth moves, shakes.

MY GUESS= My supposition.

SCARY= Something scary makes you feel very afraid.

WARNING= A warning is a notification in advance.

BESIDES= In addition to.

FLAT= A surface without relief. If a city is flat, all the buildings fall down and it’s totally destroyed.

GO UNNOTICED= If something goes unnoticed, you don’t notice it, you don’t know it’s happening.

BOUNDARIES= Limits, borders, frontiers.

EGGSHELL= The shell of an egg, the outer hard crust of the egg, the hard part of the egg.

CORE= The centre of the earth, the earth nucleus.

PLATES= The surface of the earth is broken into different plates, every plate moving along and bumping against other plates. For example, Africa is on a plate, Euro-Asia on a different plate, and India on another one.

GRIND= To crush, pulverize, or reduce to powder by friction, especially by rubbing between two hard surfaces.

FAULT= The place where two continental plates crash.

GIVES WAY= Stops blocking.

SEISMIC= (adj.) related to earthquakes.

INDISPENSABLE= Absolutely necessary.

FLOW= Something, usually liquid, that moves smoothly and continuously, like a river.

TOPOGRAPHY= The shape of the earth (mountains, rivers, valleys, etc.).

EONS= Extremely long periods of time.

HAS GOTTEN= In BrE we say “has got” and in AmE they say “has gotten” when it is a passive voice (like here), but if it means possession they also say “have got”:
- The university has gotten more difficult lately (passive voice) (in BrE: has got more difficult)
- She has got a new friend (possession)

HAS GOTTEN IN THE WAY= If something gets in the way, it blocks your movement.


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