Of Cwacians and Eorthequakynges

From the Old English, Cwacian means “to shake or vibrate usually from shock or instability.” In the twelfth century it evolved into the word Quake. Eorthequakynge entered the Old English lexicon to mean “a shaking or trembling of the Earth that is volcanic or tectonic in origin.” In the fourteenth century it evolved into the now familiar Earthquake.

The Earth, however, has been experiencing quakes long before words were devised to describe them in any language — probably soon after it began hurtling around the Sun at 19 miles per second. The earliest record of an earthquake…