An earthquake is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust. Earthquakes are recorded with a seismometer, also known as a seismograph. The movement magnitude of an earthquake is conventionally reported, mostly on obsolete Richter magnitude. The magnitude 3 or lower earthquakes being mostly imperceptible and magnitude 7 and above causing serious damage over large areas.
Intensity of shaking is measured on the modified Mercalli scale.
Seismology is the scientific study of earthquakes and the propagation of elastic waves through the Earth. The field also includes studies of earthquake effects, such as Tsunamis as well as diverse seismic sources such as volcanic, tectonic, oceanic, atmospheric, and artificial processes (such as explosions).
A related field that uses geology to infer information regarding past earthquakes is paleoseismology. A recording of earth motion as a function of time is called a seismogram.
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