Earthquake Animations

There are web sites that show how seismologists and geologists describe different types of faults.  There are strike-slip, normal,  thrust, and oblique, to name the basic types.  However these animations do not show how the crust of the earth is slowly deformed by slow plate motion prior to "snapping back" during an earthquake.

The animation below of a subduction zone, where an oceanic plate is converging with a continental plate, attempts in cartoon fashion to show the deformation of the continental plate that precedes each earthquake.

The gif animation above shows the earthquake cycle for a thrust margin, such as southern Alaska. Note that elastic strain is built up in the rocks for a long period of time and is then released suddenly by an earthquake.

Tsunamis are generated by the rapid uplift of the continental plate that occurs during the earthquake. 

QuickTime movie of buildup and release.