There will be more earthquakes in 2018, according to a new study made by scientists from the University of Colorado and the University of Montana. They say these devastating events will be produced by the variation in the speed of Earth’s rotation.
This study was presented at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. Scientists warn that the seismic activity will increase dramatically all over the world and especially in the tropical regions. Earthquakes will magnitude 7 or higher.
“The inference is clear,” said Bilham. “Next year we should see a significant increase in numbers of severe earthquakes. We have had it easy this year. So far we have only had about six severe earthquakes. We could easily have 20 a year starting in 2018.”
There could 25 to 30 severe earthquakes in 2018
Though it is challenging for humans to notice changes in the speed of the Earth’s rotation — in fact, it is so minimal that they can only be perceived by special clocks — these variations can affect the life on the planet.
Roger Bilham of the University of Colorado in Boulder and Rebecca Bendick of the University of Montana presented their study in Missoula at this year’s annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. To get the alarming results, they analyzed the Earth’s rotation and seismic activity.
Even though the rotation fluctuations of the Earth are small, they can still produce the release of an incredible amount of underground energy. They explained that the Earth began one of its periodic slowdowns more than four years ago. According to astronomers, a day now is 1.78 milliseconds longer than a day in 1917 would have been.
They also analyzed the seismic patterns over the last century to determine that this upcoming period will probably be seismic-intense. In fact, since 1900 there have been five periods with a large number of severe earthquakes, varying between 25 and 30 all over the world.
“Major earthquakes have been well recorded for more than a century and that gives us a good record to study,” said Bilham. “In these periods, there were between 25 to 30 intense earthquakes a year. The rest of the time the average figure was around 15 major earthquakes a year.”
They say the Earth is offering a five-year heads-up on future earthquakes.
Where are the earthquakes going to take place?
According to the scientists, the expected earthquakes in 2018 will likely occur in tropical areas, near the equator. However, they also said that it is difficult to know where exactly they are going to take place. About one billion people live in areas near the equator.
Though in 2017, there were an important amount of devastating earthquakes all over the world such as Mexico’s, and Italy’s, Bilham and Bendick consider we had it easier this year. They predict at least 20 strong earthquakes for 2018. It is up to governments and the civil society to prepare for such unpredictable and catastrophic events.
Source: The Guardian