Scientists are predicting a huge increase in the number of earthquakes next year. They believe variations in the speed of the earth’s rotation could trigger the seismic activity especially in tropical regions. Even though the fluctuations in rotation are small, they could cause the release of vast amounts of underground energy.
Rebecca Bendick and Roger Bilham presented a paper outlining the link between earth’s rotation and seismic activity. In their study, they looked at EQs of magnitude 7 and greater since 1900. They found 5 periods where there were significantly higher numbers of large EQs, in these periods there were 25 to 30 EQs during the year and the rest of the time the average number was about 15 EQs.
They measured the earth’s rotation by means of an atomic clock. They found a correlation between the periods of high intensity EQs and the change in the rotation. Bilham said ‘The earth is offering us a five year heads up on future EQs’.
The earth’s rotation began one of its periodic slowdowns more that four years ago thus Bilham said ‘The inference is clear, next year we should see a signigicant increase in the number of severe EQs. We could easily have 20 a year starting in 2018.’
Based on the uptick in EQs being reported within the past few months, they maybe on to something.