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Unexplained Surge In Earthquakes

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Yes, there's quakes all the time that we don't feel. But trust me, the ones that you do feel, are scary, and no one that's actually experienced a big one can deny that. The only safe place is straight up, off the ground.

It seems like we're having a lot more earthquakes, but according to the USGS website, it's because we have an increase in the number of seismograph stations in the world and all the improvement in global communication. Here's a quote:

In 1931, there were about 350 stations operating in the world; today, there are more that 4,000 stations and the data now comes in rapidly from these stations by telex, computer and satellite. This increase in the number of stations and the more timely receipt of data has allowed us and other seismological centers to locate many small earthquakes which were undetected in earlier years, and we are able to locate earthquakes more rapidly.

The NEIC now locates about 12,000 to 14,000 earthquakes each year or approximately 50 per day. Also, because of the improvements in communications and the increased interest in natural disasters, the public now learns about more earthquakes. According to long-term records (since about 1900), we expect about 18 major earthquakes (7.0 - 7.9) and one great earthquake (8.0 or above) in any given year. However, let's take a look at what has happened in the past 32 years, from 1969 through 2001, so far. Our records show that 1992, and 1995-1997 were the only years that we have reached or exceeded the long-term average number of major earthquakes since 1971. In 1970 and in 1971 we had 20 and 19 major earthquakes, respectively, but in other years the total was in many cases well below the 18 per year which we may expect based on the long-term average.

The biggest danger is the population increase in earthquake-prone areas.

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  • Elders (Admins)

Frightening earthquake in New Zealand yesterday. Apparently two of the reasons why the death and injury figures are so high are that the quake originated at a fairly shallow depth and it happened during the lunch hour when the city centre was at its busiest.

Some of the pictures show not only the devastation but also how some buildings almost totally collapsed yet others right next to them appear undamaged. One interview I found very upsetting was a woman who was trying to figure out how to get through the blocked road system to get to her child's day care centre.

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  • Elders (Admins)

A team from the fire and rescue service here has also flown out. I should imagine the New Zealand firefighters will be glad to have the extra expertise coming in from various parts of the world - I shouldn't think they've had much sleep since Monday.

Here's a photograph taken from a view point overlooking Christchurch at or shortly after the quake hit, showing the dust and debris in the air from collapsed buildings:


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