SCIENTISTS ARE PREDICTING AN INCREASE IN BIG EARTHQUAKES

More than 150 tremors hit Vancouver Island in last 24 hours, Cascadia fault line monitored.

Kilauea shooting lava 180ft into air and showing no sign of stopping

Kilauea shooting lava 180ft into air and showing no sign of stopping

Earthquake swarm under Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcano, alert level raised, Chile

6.1 magnitude earthquake 33 km from Port Vila, Shefa, Vanuatu

5.5 magnitude earthquake 1 km from Takatsuki, Osaka, Japan

The volcanic unrest continues: Eruptions at Anak-Krakatau and Sinabung in Indonesia, Shinmoedake in Japan and Telica in Nicaragua

Upsurge in big earthquakes predicted for 2018 as Earth rotation slows

Scientists say number of severe quakes is likely to rise strongly next year because of a periodic slowing of the Earth’s rotation

The link between Earth’s rotation and seismic activity was highlighted last month in a paper by Roger Bilham of the University of Colorado in Boulder and Rebecca Bendick of the University of Montana in Missoula presented at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America.

“The correlation between Earth’s rotation and earthquake activity is strong and suggests there is going to be an increase in numbers of intense earthquakes next year,” Bilham told the Observer last week.

In their study, Bilham and Bendick looked at earthquakes of magnitude 7 and greater that had occurred since 1900. “Major earthquakes have been well recorded for more than a century and that gives us a good record to study,” said Bilham.

They found five periods when there had been significantly higher numbers of large earthquakes compared with other times. “In these periods, there were between 25 to 30 intense earthquakes a year,” said Bilham. “The rest of the time the average figure was around 15 major earthquakes a year.”

Bilham and Bendick found that there had been periods of around five years when Earth’s rotation slowed by such an amount several times over the past century and a half. Crucially, these periods were followed by periods when the numbers of intense earthquakes increased.

“It is straightforward,” said Bilham. “The Earth is offering us a five-year heads-up on future earthquakes.”

This link is particularly important because Earth’s rotation began one of its periodic slowdowns more than four years ago. “The inference is clear,” said Bilham. “Next year we should see a significant increase in numbers of severe earthquakes. We have had it easy this year. So far we have only had about six severe earthquakes. We could easily have 20 a year starting in 2018.”

In addition, it is difficult to predict where these extra earthquakes will occur – although Bilham said they found that most of the intense earthquakes that responded to changes in day length seemed to occur near the equator. About one billion people live in the Earth’s tropical regions.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.