Well for those of you who like to quake with terror (pardon the pun) over the amount of earthquakes we are experiencing – we’re going to let you rant a little bit this year. We had a high number of quakes in 2010 of all levels except for 8 magnitudes, which were mercifully below current average levels. The rest were high, and at some magnitudes outrageously over average.
Before anyone starts to panic, though, we have to consider the whole picture. While magnitude 5 quakes were way over average for the year, many of these shakers were not isolated events. They were aftershocks of massive quakes which hit at very shallow depths. Because of our current magnetic pole shift land has been moving a little bit and the reverberations of large quakes were a bit stronger and lasted a bit longer as ground shifted adjusting to the current polar shift. If anyone were studying the shift in the poles, they may have expected as much. Mass aligns with the magnetic pole and when that pole shifts mass does, too. When the magnetic pole migrates far enough from the geographical pole centrifugal force will eventually shift the mass as it realigns. This means crustal movement is going to take place during a pole shift. Eventually the geographical pole will be shifted back into proximity of the magnetic pole.
Now we have to look at the polar shift to dispel a lot of bunk you probably have heard coming from pole shift alarmists. We are not all gonna die. Okay? First of all, we are not talking about a complete flip of the magnetic poles. That is a possibility, but not likely and it won’t be as spectacular an event as some like to paint it up to be. The magnetic pole shifts periodically. The last shift was in the mid 1800’s. They happen every hundred to couple of hundred years. They do not kill everyone and everything on the planet. New mountains don’t crop up overnight, mass floods don’t occur. There is turbulent weather but not on the scale you would see in a Hollywood Disaster Film.
Magnetism does not “disappear” during a magnetic pole shift or even during a polar reversal. For a time the poles split and you get multiple poles and a lot of localized anomalies, but the magnetism does not just disappear. Even if it did disappear temporarily our atmosphere is quite thick. The radiation that people fear would have to travel through the equivalent of 10 feet of concrete to reach us. Interference to TV, Radio, and any satellite communications would be upset, but if being without your cell phone or TV satellite dish for a little while is your idea of a life altering disaster, congratulations. I wish all my problems were that trivial.
So for everyone who loves real science and gets sick of the fear mongering – this is a once in a lifetime chance to study how your planet reacts to magnetic pole shifting. If you are more into astronomy than earth science it may interest you to watch the pole shifts now occurring throughout our solar system at the present time.
Before listing the stats on this year’s quakes, here is a rundown on where the averages that we use come from for those of you who are new to these reports.
About The USGS and RHS1 Averages:
The USGS statistical averages are averages compiled from 1990 to 2000. That is when global tracking was achieved and we have no way of knowing for sure how accurately those statistics represent numbers before that time. There are scientists who did tracking, but there were also many very volatile areas that aren’t populated that were impossible to track before. From old records we may want to assume that there have been more recently, but there is no way to know for sure.
We also use an RHS1 average which is 3 year statistical average which was drawn from my three year quake report from 2006, 07, 08 that I will compare the quarterly statistics to, so we can see a more current trend. At the end of this year we will add this year’s average to the three year average, making an average of 4 of 5 years since the middle of the current decade. If data can be retrieved for 2009, a year in which our site was being rebuilt from hacker/virus injection damage, we will add those in to make a current half decade statistical average.
2010 GLOBAL EARTHQUAKE STATISTICS
These statistics do not include quakes of under 5 magnitude. There are just too many quakes under 5 mag for us to have resources and time to track these smaller quakes. Magnitude 5 is the classification at which we start to consider quakes strong as well. Damage is light and rare for quakes under 5 magnitudes. Death tolls usually don’t occur until magnitude 6 and in the years that RHS1 has been tracking quakes only one death has been reported resulting from a magnitude 5 earthquake.
8 Magnitude and Stronger:
We had one this year. The USGS average is 1, if any per year. The RHS1 average is two per year. We are holding steady at the USGS low average for these massive quakes and 50% for the RHS1 average. With more quakes happening at shallower depths, the drop in this average is a very good thing.
7 Magnitude and Stronger:
We experienced a whopping 20 of these shakers this year. That exceeds the USGS yearly average of 17 by 3 bringing us to 117% of average. The RHS1 average of 11 was also exceeded by almost double the average occurrence rate leaving us with a 81% increase. What a magnitude 7 quake can do when it hits at a depth of only 10 kms was witnessed in Haiti early in 2010.
6 Magnitude and Stronger:
We experienced 136 of these strong quakes in 2010. The USGS average is 134 per year giving us an increase of only 1% from average rates. RHS1 average is 159 annual mag 6 quakes per year so at only 85% of the recent average for this quake, occurrences of this magnitude of quake dropped a whole 15% from the recent average number. This figure is a bit surprising in light of the number of aftershocks that the two most destructive quakes caused.
5 Magnitude and Stronger:
There were 1684 of these quakes during 2010! USGS average is 1319 per year leaving us a 27% increase in these quakes. The RHS1 average is only 1275 per year which means that the average yearly number of these quakes has fallen since 2006. 2010 surpasses the RHS1 average by 32% – almost a full third more than usual in the last half of the first decade of the 21st century.
As stated before, hundreds of the 5 magnitude quakes were actually aftershocks of the 7 mag and Chile 8 mag quakes early in the year. A few of the 6 magnitude quakes were also just aftershocks, so all in all, we didn’t have that abnormal a year even though these figures are high and will pull the 4 year average up just a notch on the RHS1 4 year average which I will be figuring soon. If the quakes continue at high rates we’ll see that pattern develop over the next few years. For now, it seems that, while earthquake occurrences are high for the year, most of the attention to them was caused by the shallow depths rather than the amount of quakes.
The deeper a quake is, the less it will be felt at ground level. A 7 magnitude quake happening 500 km below the surface may barely be felt, if it is at all, while a magnitude 4 happening at just a few kilometers below the surface may feel more like a 5 magnitude quake. With the crustal shifting we’ve experienced this year, many quakes occurred at depths of 10 and 35 km. That means that more damage has been caused than usual and more attention has been given to earthquakes than usual. Most of the alarm is due to illusions of more prevalent shaking than actual increases of shaking other than the fact that the large, shallow quakes have caused more aftershocks due to crustal movement and they have also occurred at shallow levels where they were more noticeable than they would have been otherwise.
You can find continuing updates on earthquakes in the Earthwatch section of RHS1 forums.