Are More And More Earthquakes Happening?
There seem to be more and more earthquakes around the world and they seem to be getting bigger and bigger, but is it just that more are now getting reported?
Scientists Say There Was No Increase In The Really Big Earthquakes
Earthquakes of magnitude 7.0 or greater have remained fairly constant.
According to long-term records (since about 1900), we can expect about 17 major earthquakes (7.0 – 7.9) and one great earthquake (8.0 or above) in any given year.
Why Does It Seem Like There Are More Earthquakes?
Video Courtesy Of National Geographic
It’s because of the tremendous increase in the number of seismograph stations in the world and the many improvements in global communications.
In 1931, there were about 350 stations operating in the world, but today, there are more than 8,000 stations, and the data now comes in rapidly from these stations by electronic mail, the internet and via satellite.
This increase in the number of stations, and the more timely receipt of data means that many small earthquakes which were undetected in earlier years are now being recognized.
The NEIC (National Earthquake Information Center) now locates around 20,000 earthquakes each year or approximately fifty every day.
Also, because of the improvements in communications and the increased interest in the environment and natural disasters, the public now learns about more earthquakes.
So Why Are More And More People Killed By Earthquakes?
Population booms are contributing the the perception that there are more earthquakes.
And many of these population increases are in earthquake-prone areas, so there is a higher possibility of more casualties when a major quake strikes.
"We have not seen any statistical increase in the number of earthquakes if you look back over the tens and hundreds of years".
"However, unfortunately the recent earthquakes have impacted populated areas, which brings them into the news, and people become more aware of the earthquakes".
"In 1960, Haiti had a population of 3.87 million, according to the World Bank data finder. Since then, it has more than doubled to 9.84 million as of 2008".
said Paul Earle, a USGS seismologist.
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