Science

Surge in strong earthquakes likely in 2018 as Earth's rotation slows down

Surge in strong earthquakes likely in 2018 as Earth's rotation slows down

'The correlation between Earth's rotation and natural disaster activity is strong and suggests there is going to be an increase in numbers of intense earthquakes next year, ' Dr Roger Bilham from the University of Colorado told the Observer.

Earthquakes of magnitude 7 and greater that had occurred since 1900 were studied by the two scientists.

"The rotation of the Earth does change slightly - by a millisecond a day sometimes - and that can be measured very accurately by atomic clocks", Bilham was quoted by the Guardian as saying.

Earlier this month, Roger Bilham of the University of Colorado in Boulder and Rebecca Bendick of the University of Montana highlighted the link between the Earth's rotation and its impact on seismic activities.

Roger Bilham of the University of Colorado and Rebecca Bendick of the University of Montana represented their research at the annual conference of the Geological Society of America and argued that there is a clear link between the velocity of earth's rotation and global quake, as reported by Xinhua news agency. As they say, they found (approximately every 30 years) with a significantly higher frequency of severe earthquakes, about 25 to 30 per year, compared with about 15 earthquakes averaging over the other periods.

Bilham said that most of the earthquakes during the previous periods of slower rotation occurred in tropical regions near the equator.

Scientists have warned if the rotation slows it could lead to more major earthquakes.




"The correlation is clear. earth gives us a five-year warning for future earthquakes, "said Bilham and pointed out today that more than four years have passed since the Earth began a new cycle of slowing its rotation".

'We could easily have 20 a year starting in 2018'.

This might not seem like much, and it is virtually unperceivable by us humans, but put in perspective, we find that today's days are longer than days in the year 1900 by nearly two full seconds.

"We see it as yet another example of a fortuitous correlation between quake occurrence and an unrelated phenomenon".

"The inference is clear".

These movements would create a change in terms of the planet's solid iron and nickel "inner core" which affect the liquid outer core that the Earth's tectonic plates are on.

The researchers stressed that it is certainly hard to predict where the extra earthquakes will occur. It has been observed that even small fluctuations in rotation of the earth would change the length of a day by a millisecond, releasing vast amounts of underground energy. About one billion people live in the Earth's tropical regions.


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