Some Earth quaking perspective

19 January 2010

Here is a bit of perspective regarding the recent outbreak of earthquake news. The Earth quakes quite a bit. In fact, it could probably be said that somewhere on the Earth, at any given time, there is an earthquake occuring. Some are felt, some aren't, most are now being measured.

Lets look at the last 7 days as an eye opening example. In the last 7 days there have been:

  • 291 recorded earthquakes
  • several have been over 5 magnitude
  • most of which has been under 5 magnitude.

To the best of man's knowledge this is nothing new (at least since the relatively early 20th century). While more earthquakes are being reported with a fair amount of accuracy, it is generally believed that the actual number of earthquakes (especially those above the magnitude of 7) have been fairly consistent year over year since they've been recorded.

The USGS says:

"According to long-term records (since about 1900), we expect about 17 major earthquakes (7.0 - 7.9) and one great earthquake (8.0 or above) in any given year."

So recent earthquake news is pretty much par for the course as far as the Earth is concerned. However, the detection, recording, and reporting of these earthquakes is now more accurate and quicker than ever. We are seeing more reports of earthquakes because we're getting better at "feeling" them with seismic technology and because the news of these earthquakes spreads over the Internet quicker than ever.