Larger Magnitude Quakes Trend Up




January 17, 2010
Holly Deyo

Over the last nearly four decades, the number of larger magnitude earthquake events has increased. To be objective in this count, we use only higher magnitude quakes. Factoring in seismic events less than 6.0 calls into question data reliability.

Additional monitors installed as well as more sensitive equipment used could account for a greater number of earthquakes recorded. However, the same can't be said of bigger events. Mag. 6 and greater are considered 'significant' because they are felt over too wide an area, can inflict too much damage to conceal, and would be picked up by weaker seismometers.

Let's look at 2010 so far.

Using USGS statistics, they show the annual average of Richter 6.0 and greater quakes is 152. We've already racked up 10 events in the first two weeks this year. If this trend continued, we would see 260 significant shakes – 71% increase over the norm – and the seismic events plotted below would literally be off the chart.

For Mag. 7 quakes, we're off to a ripper start with TWO events in the first 12 days of 2010. On average, only 17 Richter 7's strike annually. First the Solomon Islands were hit with a 7.1 on Jan. 4. Then just eights days later a 7.0 devastated Haiti.

Either Earth is flushing out seismic tension early, or it's going to be a busy year.

It will be interesting to see if quake activity kicks up in California after the "unrelenting rain" forecast for next week. Not only does massive moisture promote landslides, it's also known to "lubricate' earthquake faults and add weight on underlying rock.



Mag.
Date
Location
Latitude
Longitude
Depth
km
6.1
Jan. 2
Mariana Islands
12.43
141.98
2
6.6
Jan. 3
Solomon Islands
-8.73
157.48
26
7.1
Jan. 3
Solomon Islands
-8.80
157.36
25
6.8
Jan. 5
Solomon Islands
-58.17
-14.69
10
6.8
Jan. 5
east of South Sandwich Isl.
-9.01
157.58
10
6.0
Jan. 5
Solomon Islands
-9.09
157.94
35
6.2
Jan. 9
Solomon Islands
-9.12
157.63
12
6.5
Jan. 10
offshore Northern California
40.65
-124.76
21
7.0
Jan. 10
Haiti
18.46
-72.53
13
6.0
Jan. 14
South of the Mariana Isl.
11.517
142.113
32.4
6.3
Jan. 17
Drake Passage (off Argentina coast)
-57.671
-65.910
10


http://standeyo.com/NEWS/10_Earth_Changes/100117.EQs.up.html