Scientists are warning that the number of serious earthquakes could increase next year as variations in the speed of Earth’s rotation lead to more intense seismic activity. These earthquakes are going to be particularly bad in heavily populated tropical regions. Before you get too nervous, the slowing of the Earth’s rotation is slight and changes the length of the day by milliseconds according to scientists.
Despite being small the quakes could still have a hand in released underground energy in the form of earthquakes. Scientists Roger Bilham of the University of Colorado at Boulder and Rebecca Bendick of the University of Montana in Missoula conducted a study that found there have been five periods when larger earthquakes were significantly more frequent than at other times.
The study found that in these five periods there were between 25 and 30 intense earthquakes per year compared to 15 per year in normal periods. A correlation was found between these periods and periods when the Earth’s rotation slowed slightly.
Each time the rotation slowed, Earthquakes increased. The researchers say that the Earth began one of its periodic slowdowns four years ago and has given us a heads up about increased earthquake activity. There could be as many as 20 severe earthquakes per year starting in 2018 say the scientists.
Predicting where earthquakes will occur isn’t something we can do now. The scientists say that most of these earthquakes resulting from the slowing of the Earth tend to happen along the equator.
SOURCE: The Guardian