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Why do earthquakes in the eastern U.S. travel so far? It has to do with the basic Earth structure. On the West Coast you have a lot of deformity—cracks, breaks, faults—and when an earthquake occurs a lot of that energy is dissipated. It's not felt as far because it has to travel through a lot of different rock formations and structures that are looser.
Will this shake up other faults in the region, causing more earthquakes? That's a possibility for some earthquakes. Some earthquakes will completely release the stress of a region, and then it's in equilibrium. But sometimes you have an earthquake and it builds up the stress in a different region because that area is not allowing the release of energy. It can go either way. It's a very difficult thing to figure out how exactly that stress is transferred[OK?]. Is it locked up somewhere else, or is all the stress and strain in equilibrium?
But the West Coast seems crumbly and fractured, and therefore easy to shake. With that kind of crumbly, broken-up crust, the earthquake energy is lost in the movement of the crust from one area to another. The energy goes and hits a fault and some of that energy is lost in the fault. Energy is lost much quicker than if you have this solid mass where the Earth is just one big rock.