Monday, March 8, 2010

Spate of earthquakes doesn't mean world is coming to an end

Last night at the mission, and on previous nights, the earthquakes near Haiti and Chili have gotten attention by the preacher.

Last night, Hector Marquez told us that seismologists were alarmed and that this was evidence that the earth was being rocked off its axis. [He said "axel," but axis is surely what he meant.] The quake activity is evidence of End Times, he told us.

Actually, a google search of the Internet tells us that recent earthquake activity is not abnormal, and seismologists are not alarmed.

A Christian Science Monitor article, last Thursday, titled, "Haiti, Chile, now Taiwan: earthquake escalation?" says this:
[Kuo Kai-wen, director of the Seismology Center of Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau]says the Taiwan, Chile, and Haiti quakes involved different tectonic plates. Globally, he says, there's an average of one magnitude 8 or higher earthquake per year, some 17 magnitude 7 or higher quakes, and 170 to 180 of magnitude 6 or larger.

So far this year there's only been one quake higher than 8 - Chile's fearsome, 8.8 magnitude temblor. Last year there were 16 magnitude 7 or higher quakes, right at the average. And so far this year there have been three magnitude 7 or higher quakes, including Haiti's.

"From a global view, that's not especially a lot," says Kuo.
An Associated Press story, today, "Deadly quakes are coincidence, scientists say" begins with these words:
Experts say there is nothing unusual about the latest spate of earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and now Turkey, but their devastation illustrates how growing construction along the world's fault lines can lead to massive casualties.

Seismologists say that although one powerful quake can conceivably raise the risk for others elsewhere, the recent string of quakes is probably just coincidence.

Bob Holdsworth, an expert in tectonics at Durham University, said Monday that "I can definitely tell you that the world is not coming to an end."

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