Disturbances within Earth's interior, which is in a constant state of movement, result in the release of energy in packets known as seismic waves. An area of geophysics known as seismology is the study of these waves and their effects, which often can be devastating when experienced in the form of earthquakes. The latter do not only take lives and destroy buildings, but they also produce secondary effects, most often in the form of a tsunami, or tidal wave. Using seismographs and seismometers, seismologists study earthquakes and other seismic phenomena, including volcanoes and even explosions resulting from nuclear testing. They measure earthquakes according to their magnitude or energy as well as their intensity or human impact. Seismology also is used to study Earth's interior, about which it has revealed a great deal.

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