The earthquake was one of the first major instances to happen in the Earth's Children series. As soon as the readers are introduced to Ayla as a young child in The Clan of the Cave Bear, the earthquake begins. It is the most important factor that the rest of the series depends on, without the earthquake there wouldn't be any books. The earthquake separates Ayla and the other Cro-Magnon people she was with; most likely her family who were probably killed in the earthquake. At the same time, the Clan that will adopt Ayla had their cave destroyed by the same earthquake. They begin walking in search of a new cave and eventually run into Ayla. The earthquake set both Ayla and the Clan on the move toward each other and was the cause for their meeting. Later on throughout the entire series, Ayla has frequent nightmares about the earth shaking and continues to dream about the traumatic event that changed her life forever.