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13 Crazy Earthquake Facts


World  (tags: disaster, earthquakes, human awareness, preparation, protection, world )

Kit
- 500 days ago - livescience.com
Earth has been more seismologically active in the past 15 years or so, says Stephen S. Gao, a geophysicist at Missouri University of Science & Technology.



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Kit B. (277)
Monday March 18, 2013, 9:42 am
Ground view of collapsed building and burned area at Beach and Divisadero Streets in the Marina District of San Francisco after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.
CREDIT: C.E. Meyer, U.S. Geological Survey


1. Earth has been more seismologically active in the past 15 years or so, says Stephen S. Gao, a geophysicist at Missouri University of Science & Technology. Not all seismologist agree, however.

2. San Francisco is moving toward Los Angeles at the rate of about 2 inches per year — the same pace as the growth of your fingernails — as the two sides of the San Andreas fault slip past one another. The cities will meet in several million years. However, this north-south movement also means that despite fears, California won't fall into the sea.

3. March is not earthquake month, despite what some people believe. True, on March 28, 1964, Prince William Sound, Alaska, experienced a 9.2 magnitude event — one of the biggest ever. It killed 125 people and caused $311 million in property damages. And on March 9, 1957, the Andreanof Islands, Alaska, felt a 9.1 temblor. But the next three biggest U.S. earthquakes occurred in February, November, and December. The devastating major earthquake in Chile of 2010 struck on Feb. 27. And the huge 9.3 temblor that spawned the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 occurred on Dec. 26.


[Pin It] Ground view of collapsed building and burned area at Beach and Divisadero Streets in the Marina District of San Francisco after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.
CREDIT: C.E. Meyer, U.S. Geological Survey

1. Earth has been more seismologically active in the past 15 years or so, says Stephen S. Gao, a geophysicist at Missouri University of Science & Technology. Not all seismologist agree, however.

2. San Francisco is moving toward Los Angeles at the rate of about 2 inches per year — the same pace as the growth of your fingernails — as the two sides of the San Andreas fault slip past one another. The cities will meet in several million years. However, this north-south movement also means that despite fears, California won't fall into the sea.

3. March is not earthquake month, despite what some people believe. True, on March 28, 1964, Prince William Sound, Alaska, experienced a 9.2 magnitude event — one of the biggest ever. It killed 125 people and caused $311 million in property damages. And on March 9, 1957, the Andreanof Islands, Alaska, felt a 9.1 temblor. But the next three biggest U.S. earthquakes occurred in February, November, and December. The devastating major earthquake in Chile of 2010 struck on Feb. 27. And the huge 9.3 temblor that spawned the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 occurred on Dec. 26.

4. There are about 500,000 earthquakes a year around the world, as detected by sensitive instruments. About 100,000 of those can be felt, and 100 or so cause damage each year. Each year the southern California area alone experiences about 10,000 earthquakes, most of them not felt by people.

5. The sun and moon cause tremors. It's long been known that they create tides in the planet's crust, very minor versions of ocean tides. Now researchers say the tug of the sun and moon on the San Andreas Fault stimulates tremors deep underground.

6. A city in Chile moved 10 feet in the massive 8.8 magnitude earthquake Feb. 27, 2010. The rip in Earth's crust shifted the city of Concepción that much to the west. The quake is also thought to have changed the planet's rotation slightly and shortened Earth's day.

7. There's no such thing as "earthquake weather." Statistically, there is an equal distribution of earthquakes in cold weather, hot weather, rainy weather, and so on, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Scientists say there is no physical way that weather could affect the forces several miles beneath the surface of the earth where quakes originate. The changes in barometric pressure in the atmosphere are very small compared to the forces in the crust, and the effect of the barometric pressure does not reach beneath the soil.

8. Earth's bulge was trimmed a little by the 2004 Indonesian earthquake, the 9.0+ temblor that generated the deadly tsunami on Dec. 26 that year. Earth's midsection bulges in relation to the measurement from pole-to-pole, and the catastrophic land displacement caused a small reduction in the bulge, making the planet more round.

9. The Pacific Ring of Fire is the most geologically active region of Earth. It circles the Pacific Ocean, touching the coasts North and South America, Japan, China and Russia. It's where the majority of Earth's major quakes occur as major plate boundaries collide.

10. Oil extraction can cause minor earthquakes. These are not the quakes you read about. Rather, because oil generally is found in soft and squishy sediment, when oil is removed other rock moves in to fill the void, creating "mini-seismic events" that are not noticeable to humans.

11. The largest earthquake ever recorded was a magnitude 9.5 in Chile on May 22, 1960.

12. Quakes on one side of Earth can shake the other side. Seismologists studying the massive 2004 earthquake that triggered killer tsunamis throughout the Indian Ocean found that the quake had weakened at least a portion of California's famed San Andreas Fault. The Chilean quake of 1960 shook the entire Earth for many days, a phenomenon called oscillation that was measured by seismic stations around the planet.

13. The deadliest earthquake ever struck January 23, 1556 in Shansi, China. Some 830,000 are estimated to have died.
****

By: Live Science Staff | Live Science |

 

Sherri O. (257)
Monday March 18, 2013, 9:54 am
It's a strange experience sitting at your desk, working quietly, when your office chair bounces you out to the center of the room. That happened a few times. I was surprised when it was found to be an earthquake. Never thought it would happen where I live.
 

Past Member (0)
Monday March 18, 2013, 12:56 pm
When my sister was so ill, I was in bed and the bed started shaking, nearly scared me to death, I though Oh Dear God, sis is gone and trying to connect with me from the yonder land. The next morning, found out that we had an earthquake, at that time I was happy to get a quake---but right now waiting and wondering when our fault line is going to nail us. Thanks Kit
 

Gene Jacobson (247)
Monday March 18, 2013, 12:56 pm
"13. The deadliest earthquake ever struck January 23, 1556 in Shansi, China. Some 830,000 are estimated to have died."

Now, think of the population of Earth at that time, even in China, then think of what it is now. What would something of that magnitude do today? The ring of fire, yes, I've watched a lot of Science and Discovery channel shows on that topic. The northern part of the west coast seems to think itself immune, but that region is long overdue for a major event. From what has been pieced together from the last one, it went far, far inland, the tsunami. For as lovely a place as earth is, its natural processes, its breathing in and out, can be, are incredibly hazardous to life on the surface. It is a matter of when, not if.
 

Pami W. (192)
Monday March 18, 2013, 1:04 pm
Interesting facts, thanks.
 

Tamara Noforwardsplz (185)
Monday March 18, 2013, 2:11 pm
Having lived thru several earthquakes and other natural disasters, I am very fearful of what is coming. Thanks Kit. Noted, twittered and google shared.
 

Sara W. (110)
Monday March 18, 2013, 3:09 pm
Interesting to read. I fear when CA will get our long past due big quake. My house is right on the San Andreas fault.
 

pam w. (191)
Monday March 18, 2013, 3:31 pm
Oh, good! I was waiting to point out the total nonsense explored in #7! "Earthquake weather" is one of the myths we grew up with here in So. Calif.

Tamara....that ''fear'' can be dispelled by having a PLAN--an "earthquake kit"....stored supplies, an occasional drill, if you have children....being prepared is one of the best ways to dismiss fear.
 

Lois Jordan (55)
Monday March 18, 2013, 5:03 pm
Noted. Thanks for the interesting info, Kit. Living in AZ, we don't really worry about them. Oddly, a couple years ago, though, the Yuma area was hit with a couple of small ones that were felt by most everyone there. We were a bit worried that it might have been a precursor for a bigger one to hit CA. But, so far it's been pretty quiet....
 

Mitchell D. (129)
Monday March 18, 2013, 5:17 pm
Very interesting. Here, in New jersey, we et some little ones, every once in a while, at least little, so far.
There is a huge rock cliff, in Harlem, NYC, at Morningside park, that is the result of an ancient quake.
 

Theodore Shayne (56)
Monday March 18, 2013, 5:41 pm
Quite an interesting site. Of course the point of California not falling into the sea might be a moot point if Yellowstone and Yosemite interact and in turn activate the Cascadia. A lot of new real estate development would occur very quickly.
 

Candy L. (477)
Monday March 18, 2013, 6:04 pm
California, maybe not, but San Franciso could because: Much of the Marina is built on former landfill] and is susceptible to soil liquefaction during strong earthquakes. This phenomenon caused extensive damage to the entire neighborhood during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake
 

D D. (102)
Monday March 18, 2013, 10:09 pm
I've never felt an earthquake. I was once at work when an earthquake occurred, but I didn't feel anything. I do remember stopping and just standing for a moment, but I really don't know why.
 

Robert O. (12)
Monday March 18, 2013, 10:12 pm
I lived through the big one (7.1) in the Bay Area back in 1989 and believe me it was no fun and the damage left just behind just horrendous. Those are crazy facts and very unnerving. Thanks Kit.
 

Lynn Squance (227)
Monday March 18, 2013, 11:53 pm
I was living on the west coast of Vancouver Island back in 1975 when an earthquake struck on the east side of the Island. My apartment, which was built on `stilts`and was old, literally shuffled side to side and came a hair`s breadth from collapsing. Earthquakes are not fun.

Interesting facts Kit.
 

John S. (297)
Tuesday March 19, 2013, 5:37 am
Interesting.
 

Jaime A. (32)
Tuesday March 19, 2013, 7:28 am
Noted, thanks.
 

Susanne R. (249)
Tuesday March 19, 2013, 8:08 am
Interesting facts, Kit! Number 10, regarding oil extraction, appears to be the only man-made cause of earthquakes, but based on its description, it doesn't seem to take into account hydraulic fracturing. Natural events can't be avoided, but greed should never be an acceptable reason to jeopardize the safety and well-being of our planet and the creatures that inhabit it.
 

Larry G. (0)
Tuesday March 19, 2013, 9:37 am
Another crazy earthquake fact is that many Californians have misconceptions about what they should do to prepare for a big quake and what to do during a quake (eg, "go to a doorway," which is definitely not what you want to do. Thanks for your interesting facts. My blog has a few interesting facts as well: quakeprepare "dot" com/blog
 

Carol D. (104)
Wednesday March 20, 2013, 6:25 am
I dont believe you can keep testing nuclear weapons underground without it doing something Even fracking cannot be good When they did it in UK in the midlands it caused a minor earthquake so if they start doing it all around the world what will it cause there must be repercussions You cant keep doing these things to the earth

Noted
 

Munro Tapper (80)
Wednesday March 20, 2013, 4:39 pm
What is crazy, what is really truly crazy....is that so many faulty lines were known and nuke power and cold war bomb plants in the United States were built on the fault times.....what were they thinking about? Check out Savannah River Site and The Bomb Plant on Youtube. It is the stuff of nightmares.
 
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