Are Earthquakes on the Rise Worldwide?
The increase in devastating earthquakes in the early months of 2010, from the 7.0 earthquake in Haiti to the 8.8 earthquake in Chile and now the new 6.9 earthquake that hit China on April 14th, has many people wondering if there is a worldwide increase in seismic activity. According to geologist J. Ramón Arrowsmith from Arizona State University, "...this is probably not any [significant] indication of a global change in earthquake rate." He argues that human perspective is limited, and because of "...communications around the world, we hear about more earthquakes and it seems like they are more frequent."
Another recent earthquake occurred in Southern California on April 4th, when a 7.0 earthquake that originated in Baja shook the entire region for days, sending out aftershocks and knocking out power to many areas on Easter Sunday. As part of the 'ring of fire' around the Pacific, earthquakes are expected in such volatile regions.
Geophysics professor G. Randy Keller from the University of Oklahoma admits that the recent activity is above normal, saying that "we're having a few more than the average." However, he feels that these earthquakes are "nothing particularly remarkable...a magnitude 6.9 earthquake on the bigger scheme of things it's not that big."
So there you have it. Although to onlookers it seems these "frequent" bouts of natural disasters indicate that something quite strange is going on in the world, scientists don't seem at all worried. To them these recent occurrences are all within the norm.