Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Earthquakes taking over the world?

I feel like I hear about a new devastating earthquake every week. So I wanted to find out how many earthquakes there have been so far this month, and I was surprised to find out that just yesterday, there were 60 earthquakes worldwide, ranging from 2.5 to 6.9 on the Richter scale.

The U.S. Geology Survey, (USGS), says that earthquakes of magnitude 7.0 or greater have been constant over the years. They also believe that part of the reason for so many earthquakes is the improvement in their technology over the last 20 years. They are able to detect and locate more earthquakes with the current 8,000 worldwide seismograph stations rather than 350 stations back in 1931. USGS also mentions that nowadays, more people are interested in the natural disasters and because of today's technology, lets say, the internet, people are more informed. 

So my surprise to hear of the 60 earthquakes just yesterday, isn't so surprising after all. The National Earthquake information center now locates about 20,000 earthquakes annually or approximately 50 per day.

Although USGS assures us that according to their long-term records they expect about 17 major earthquakes (7.0 - 7.9) and one great earthquake (8.0 or above) in any given year, it doesn't sound very reassuring when you think about the major earthquakes hitting Haiti, Chile, Taiwan and Turkey in just two months this year.

Here's a picture of a map of global seismic activity as of this moment, on April 14th. Click the link to go to the interactive map and watch the earthquakes take over the world daily.

via [usgs]

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