Back in March of 2010, I wrote a post looking at the frequency of earthquakes occurring around the world and examined whether or not there were more earthquakes occuring than normal. Specifically, I chose to look at earthquakes between M6.0 and M6.9, as they are sufficiently large enough to be detected by seismometers around the world and they seem to be well documented in recent history.
So, what were the final numbers for 2010? Using the global earthquake search tool on the USGS website, we can see that there were 151 M6.0 – M6.9 earthquakes detected last year.
FILE CREATED: Mon Jan 3 19:59:37 2011
Global Search Earthquakes = 151
Catalog Used: PDE
Date Range: 2010/01/01 to 2010/12/31
Magnitude Range: 6.0 – 6.9
Data Selection: Historical & Preliminary Data
According to recent USGS data, an average of ~134 earthquakes happen in this range every year. Yes, we had 151, but does that mean it’s time to freak out?
It falls well within what we would expect. In fact, there were more earthquakes within this magnitude range in 2007 (178) and 2008 (178)! What? Crazy!
A few more data points:
M7.0 – M7.9 eq’s in 2010: 21 (avg: ~17)
M8.0 – M8.9 eq’s in 2010: 1 (avg: ~1)
Here’s a handy table from the USGS [via]:
So, to sum things up, the world is not ending, despite what crazy folks say, earthquakes are not increasing, and there’s probably a number of other things more important to worry about.
Cheers and happy new year!