Changes In Earth’s Rotation Predicted to Increase Earthquakes

Map+showing+the+location+of+California%27s+earthquake.+Photo+credit+to+Latimes.com.

Map showing the location of California's earthquake. Photo credit to Latimes.com.

Sophie West, Editor

Since Friday, Oklahoma has had over a dozen earthquakes ranging in magnitude from 2.4 to 4.6. So far, no significant damages or injuries have been reported. The 4.6 earthquake, which occurred on Saturday, was felt in Missouri and Kansas as well. In the past few years, Oklahoma has experienced thousands of earthquakes, which have been linked to the state’s fracking practices (Cbsnews.com).

 

On April 5th, California suffered its largest earthquake in several years, at a magnitude of 5.3. Aside from some minor earthquakes on Santa Cruz Island, no significant damage occurred. John Vidale, director of the Southern California Earthquake Center at USC, said that there is a 1 in 20 chance of this earthquake being a precursor to another, larger earthquake. No tsunami warning was issued, as the earthquake’s epicenter was offshore in the Pacific Ocean (Latimes.com).

 

Then, on April 10th, central Italy experienced an earthquake with the magnitude of 4.6. No injuries were reported, but some local buildings were damaged. The epicenter was just outside of Muccia in the Marche region. At least 10 aftershocks followed the earthquake, 2 of which had a magnitude of 3.5 (Thelocalitaly.com).

 

In January, scientists predicted that 2018 could have at least twice as many earthquakes as 2017. The earth is currently experiencing a phenomenon that causes its rotation to slow down. University of Montana’s geologist Rebecca Bilham has said that plate movement is sensitive to the Earth’s slowing. She added that “it’s important to remember that the Earth’s rotation changes all the time, for all kinds of reasons.” While the Earth’s change in rotation may not be anything to worry about, residents of earthquake-sensitive areas should be aware of what could happen (Businessinsider.com).