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Science & Technology

Big earthquakes to occur more often in 2018

By T.K. Randall
November 20, 2017 · Comment icon 23 comments

We could be in for a rough time. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 hanonimas
A periodic slowing of the rotation of the Earth is likely to result in an upsurge in earthquakes next year.
In a paper presented last month at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America, Roger Bilham of the University of Colorado in Boulder and Rebecca Bendick of the University of Montana in Missoula highlighted the link between seismic activity and the rotational speed of the planet.

"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," said Bilham. "Major earthquakes have been well recorded for more than a century and that gives us a good record to study."

The researchers looked back at five separate periods in Earth's history during which there had been an abnormally large number of earthquakes and found that these all coincided with a temporary reduction in the Earth's rotational speed.

"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."
As it happens, we have been experiencing one of these periodic slowdowns now for four years.

"The Earth is offering us a five-year heads-up on future earthquakes," 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."

Source: The Guardian | Comments (23)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #14 Posted by Black Monk 7 years ago
Rubbish. Why doesn't coal mining cause earthquakes?
Comment icon #15 Posted by Essan 7 years ago
It doeshttps://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/01/070103-mine-quake.html
Comment icon #16 Posted by Noteverythingisaconspiracy 7 years ago
You do know that fracking and coal mining work in quite different way, don't you ?
Comment icon #17 Posted by Black Monk 7 years ago
How common - or should I say rare - is it?
Comment icon #18 Posted by Black Monk 7 years ago
You do know that "fracking causes earthquakes" is just another myth being peddled about, such as Global Warming and rising sea levels? What gets me is that it's environmentalists and their Lefty supporters who keep peddling the "fracking causes earthquake" myths even whilst geologists dismiss it. http://dailycaller.com/2016/05/02/geologist-fracking-doesnt-cause-damaging-earthquakes-video/  
Comment icon #19 Posted by Noteverythingisaconspiracy 7 years ago
I simply pointed out that you can't compare frakking and coal mining, as they use completely different techniques. Don't you agree with that ?
Comment icon #20 Posted by Black Monk 7 years ago
Not really. Did you know that when coalmining first started there were fears - similar to those shared by anti-frackers, most of whom know nothing about fracking - that the drilling would cause water supplies to be contaminated, fears that were to prove unfounded?  
Comment icon #21 Posted by Essan 7 years ago
Really?   And what drills werre they using back then?| As for fracking not causing earthquakes, that's a technicality.  It's the injection of wastewater, a consequence of fracking, that causes earthquakes.   Wastewater injection for any purposes causes earthquakes.  https://earthquake.usgs.gov/research/induced/myths.php The idea that human activity causes earthquakes is therefore on a par with the similar ideas that human activity is causing climate change (including, but not exclusively, global warming) and sea level rises.
Comment icon #22 Posted by Doug1029 7 years ago
The chances of either the San Andreas and/or the Cascadia Fault releasing a big one are pretty high, maybe even the New Madrid Fault.  But we'd have about 40 years' warning about Yellowstone and as there isn't any evidence (other than an earthquake swarm that may be nothing out of the ordinary) that anything is happening there.  As I don't expect to live long enough to see it, I'm not going to worry about it. Doug 
Comment icon #23 Posted by Doug1029 7 years ago
I have seen streams polluted with yellow-boy in southeast Kentucky.  Contamination of water supplies actually happened.  Those fears were well-founded. Doug


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