We like to suggest that we know massive amounts of things about the planet we live on, but every once in a while Mother Nature reminds us who is in charge. The recent spate of earthquakes certainly is such an instance and raises the very real question of whether we are entering a time of increased seismic activity and, if so, what it means.
You and I have never met, but we may have shared a very surreal experience a few weeks back. I sat there on the weekend transfixed after the massive earthquake in Chile occurred. What were we both probably watching? Whether there was going to be a monstrous tsunami in Hawaii. It was so surreal that it was almost funny. I'll even admit I was disappointed at first when nothing much happen until I realized that a lot of people would have lost a lot of things.
While sitting there, it also occurred to me that there have been a ton of earthquake lately. Haiti was obviously a massive tremor that devastated the country. Most people think Chile was the next big one, but it was not. There was a magnitude 7.0 earthquake off the shore of Japan. Then we Chile rolls through with numbers that haven't been seen in a very long time at a staggering 8.8 on the Richter Scale. This, of course, has been followed by the earthquake in Turkey measuring "only" 5.5 that has killed at least 50 people at last count and the count has only started.
The rather obvious question facing us is whether earthquakes are on the rise? Well, earthquakes are the result of shifts in fault lines, particularly in subduction zones where one plate slides below another. Most scientist have argued that there has been a slight increase in the last 15 years, but the current spate of tremors is just a coincidence. Is this true? Well, it would seem to be. The major earthquakes that have occurred are not on the same fault lines. Only Chile and Japan are in the ring of fire. Haiti is its own area.
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