165 eathquakes in 12 hours.....?
November 15, 2017 1:11 PM   Subscribe

I visit this site a few times a week and have never seen this many recorded before. No where close. Is this unusual? If so what's up?
posted by haikuku to Science & Nature (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know but my guess is they changed the way the map works. Earthquakes are very common.
It is estimated that there are 500,000 detectable earthquakes in the world each year. 100,000 of those can be felt, and 100 of them cause damage.

posted by bitslayer at 1:27 PM on November 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

USGS is reporting only 43 with 11 "significant" in the past 30 days.
posted by slipthought at 1:28 PM on November 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

100 quakes with M>1.5 seems to be about average. For example "39,424 earthquakes in the past 365 days" comes out to 108 per day.
posted by vacapinta at 1:29 PM on November 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

There's a very interesting article in today's Guardian suggesting that because we're coming to the end of a five year period in which the earth's rotation has slowed down, we're looking at a significant increase in major earthquakes in 2018:
Scientists have warned there could be a big increase in numbers of devastating earthquakes around the world next year. They believe variations in the speed of Earth’s rotation could trigger intense seismic activity, particularly in heavily populated tropical regions.

Although such fluctuations in rotation are small – changing the length of the day by a millisecond – they could still be implicated in the release of vast amounts of underground energy, it is argued.

The link between Earth’s rotation and seismic activity was highlighted last month in a paper by Roger Bilham of the University of Colorado in Boulder and Rebecca Bendick of the University of Montana in Missoula presented at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America.

“The correlation between Earth’s rotation and earthquake activity is strong and suggests there is going to be an increase in numbers of intense earthquakes next year,” Bilham told the Observer last week.

In their study, Bilham and Bendick looked at earthquakes of magnitude 7 and greater that had occurred since 1900. “Major earthquakes have been well recorded for more than a century and that gives us a good record to study,” said Bilham.
A comment from a reader sheds an interesting light on the very elegant approach to earthquakes that allowed them to develop this model:
From the article in science mag

The research started as a search for synchrony in earthquake timing. Individual oscillators, be they fireflies, heart muscles, or metronomes, can end up vibrating in synchrony as a result of some kind of cross-talk—or some common influence. To Bendick, it didn’t seem a far jump to consider the faults that cause earthquakes, with their cyclical buildup of strain and violent discharge, as “really noisy, really crummy oscillators,” she says. She and Bilham dove into the data, using the only complete earthquake catalog for the past 100 years: magnitude-7 and larger earthquakes.
I didn't understand the graphics in your linked site very well, and I find your other answers fairly persuasive, but major earthquakes are often heralded by swarms of smaller quakes, and I don't think it's unreasonable to expect that we will begin to see many more small quakes than you're used to on that site if these predictions prove out.
posted by jamjam at 10:25 PM on November 18, 2017

Left out the link
posted by jamjam at 10:34 PM on November 18, 2017

Now I am wondering if these synchronous vibrations might be have something to do with the volcanos in Hawaii and Guatemala.
This from Oregon State University, “Some, but not all, earthquakes are related to volcanoes. For example, most earthquakes are along the edges of tectonic plates. This is where most volcanoes are too. However, most earthquakes are caused by the interaction of the plates not the movement of magma”.
posted by haikuku at 8:38 PM on June 9, 2018

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