(Aristotle described four distinct types of earthquakes: inclinatory earthquakes, shakers, ruptures, and howlers. In the spirit of the great philosophers, Wendy, Outreach and Education specialist of the Pasadena USGS office, contributes a new category of Earthquake Lites: groaners.—Editor)

A few years ago, when the big quake hit the Los Angeles area, part of the damage included the totaling of a car belonging to a tourist who had driven in from out of state.1

When he put in the claim to his insurance company, they rejected it. When asked why the claim was not covered, the insurance company said it...

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