Monday, March 8, 2010

Recent Earthquakes Connected?

The past couple of months have featured some of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded by the United States Geological Survey (USGS). From the Pacific Rim and across Asia, to South America and the Caribbean, and from North America eastward to Europe, it now seems that a major earthquake is becoming an almost daily occurrence. Since early January massive tremors greater than 6.0 and as high as 8.8 have rattled Haiti, California, China, Japan, Indonesia, Argentina, Venezuela, Chile, Taiwan, and now Turkey.

Why is Earth so active and is there a connection between all these events?

Geophysicists say there is a connection and that major earthquakes such as these tend to come in clusters. Back in the early 1960s similar events took place, ending with the great Alaskan quake which triggered a significant tsunami. Dr. Gerard Fryer with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says “plate tectonics are working all the time, constantly grinding together and causing strain to accumulate more and more until suddenly, wham!” The outcome is a cluster of major earthquakes like we are seeing now.

Here’s an interesting fact: the USGS expects that 17 major earthquakes, those between 7.0 and 7.9, and one great quake 8.0 and higher, will affect the world in any given year. So it seems we’re right on target, eh? Well many times these quakes happen well below the surface of the earth, or often times over water where they are hardly felt. Despite the statistic, the USGS is calling the recent spate of quakes unusual.

I’m going to end here by expressing how glad I am that I finally found some information about the recent quakes because each time I get a CNN Breaking News alert on my phone I’m like, AGAIN!?!?! If you’re interested in learning more about these quakes or seismology in general, here’s some fun information I came across in my research…

→ Latest Up-to-the-Minute Earthquakes » click here
→ Earthquake Facts » click here
→ Today in Earthquake History » click here
→ Animations for Earthquake Terms and Concepts » click here