Earthquake Briefs

Something like 50 earthquakes of M5.0 and above have happened around the world over the past week or two, the last couple of weeks in January.

We’ve come to the close of the first month of 2012 with a M6.3 near the coast of Central Peru (no injuries or damage reported at time of writing), and a sudden swarm of ‘quakes in Iceland’s Katla volcano.

They’ve had a series of 58, 5.7, 5.4 and 5.0’s in the Kermadec Trench north of New Zealand in the past two weeks. Back in October the NZ media was acting surprised that there had been two such quakes over a period of four months. Mind you, one of those was a M7.2. So what comes next?

The northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge is continuing to act up with a 5.0 and a 5.2 within minutes of each other on the 29th. According to that’s way above normal.

The Philippines, Japan and Indonesia also remain active.

Speaking of Japan – their scientists must be reading our newsletters. Or maybe Forbes magazine is too. Anyway, they’re reporting that “The University of Tokyo’s EarthquakeResearch Institute predicts that there is a 70 percent chance of a magnitude 7 earthquakehitting the southern part of metro Tokyo in the next four years. “

That news coincides with other reports that during the weeks after the Fukushima-Daichi nuke plant started melting down, they were considering evacuating Tokyo itself.

They may yet have to face that reality – or pick up the pieces after yet another stunner of an earthquake.

There have been four ‘quakes in the Dominican Republic this month and Europe and the Mediterranean are also seismically active. A M4.0 rattled Crete this past week and a 4.9 (maybe the same one?) was felt in Milan and much of northern Italy.

And what’s the aftermath of a ‘quake like the one that hit Haiti? “Two years after a magnitude-7.0 earthquake struck Haiti killing hundreds of thousands, more than a half-million Haitians are still sleeping under tarps, often in camps without enough water or toilets as another hurricane season approaches.”

But the bad news doesn’t stop there. While the mayor of Youngstown Ohio is buying insurance against earthquakes caused by fracking (corporations know no limits to their screwing with Nature), the European Union Times, which is a source with Russian connections, is saying “A disturbing report prepared by the Schmidt Institute of Physics of the Earth (IPE) in Moscow that is circulating in the Kremlin today (Jan 22nd)n warns that the 6.2 magnitude earthquake that struck the Chiapas region of Mexico yesterday is a ‘potential precursor’ to a ‘megaquake’ of at least 7.5-8.3 expected to hit the US-Mexican Pacific coastline within the next fortnight (+/- 7 days).”

Are we saying it will happen? No we’re not. Are we saying it won’t happen? No we’re not.

But having said all that, if you live anywhere near where this February exercise is happening, you might want to get involved.

“Registration is open for the second annual Great Central US ShakeOut earthquake drill set for Feb. 7. More than 3 million people in 11 states, including 250,000 Tennesseans, took part in the first Central US ShakeOut drill on April 28.” Full story here. And here. It’s all about the New Madrid Fault.

Michael Knight

The Portland Preparedness Center.


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