Earthquake “Told You So – 101”


Scientists who study earthquakes (seismologists) have finally done enough modeling and analysis to prove that a big earthquake can trigger others elsewhere…which is what we have been saying for years ourselves.

We’ve also been saying it doesn’t matter where you live, with the earthquake activity increasing so rapidly on this planet, any one of us could find ourselves experiencing such an event at any time – which is just one reason why we get ourselves prepared for the unexpected.

The USGS has a news release page here that gives you all the details. But to sum up…

The M9.2 Sumatra (Bandah Aceh) earthquake of 2004 (modeled at left) sent out Coulomb stress waves (red and blue in the image) that swept through the Andaman Sea, “where faults remarkably shut downfor the next five years.”

BUT.…”….rift events – earthquakes that happen on a spreading center – increased by – an unprecedented –800 per cent.”

What we have here therefore, is the first scientific evidence that comes close to explaining, at least in part, why the Pacific Ring of Fire has been so active in recent years. (For the moment, we’ll leave aside the proximity of that mysterious Planet X, and the influence of the sun and planets on such events).
Working forward from 2004, we come to April 12 of this year (2012) and a M8.6 earthquake in the East Indian Ocean.There were 57 M4.5+ earthquakes in the six days before a M8.2.

In the six days before that earthquake, there were a total of 57 earthquakes reading M4.5 or greater, mostly around the Ring of Fire.

USGS Director Marcia McNutt: “A large, unusual event such as the East Indian earthquake last April is a once-in-a-century opportunity to uncover first order responses of the planet to sudden changes in state of stress that bring us a little closer to understanding the mystery of earthquake generation.”

What happened after that earthquake?

There were 114 aftershocks in the six days after a M8.2 earthquake.In the six days after, the number of M4.5 or greater earthquakes actually doubled – to 114 such events.

Now that it’s official that a big earthquake can trigger hundreds of additional earthquakes, isn’t it logical to expect this trend to continue – and to expect even bigger ones in future?

 “Why It Matters.”

“Incorporating the probability of aftershocks into the hazard assessment of an area is important because the damage of even a moderate aftershock sometimes exceeds that wrought by the main event. For example, a M6.3 The first Christchurch, New Zealand, earthquake destroyed much of the city. A moderate aftershock killed 181 people. aftershock five months after the M7.1 New Zealand earthquake in 2010 hit a more populated area, causing 181 deaths and tripling the insured property damage of the main event.”

None of those who died, nor any of the survivors, would have expected the first earthquake – let alone the second killer ‘quake.

Nor would many of them have had the foresight to be prepared for the unexpected.

Yes, This is the time to focus on being prepared for the unexpected, like major storms this Fall and winter...or maybe a major aftershock from that earthquake on the Cascadian subduction zone that happened in 1700 and sent a tsunami to Japan….? 🙂

Anteros Oberon
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