- April 3, 2016, 8:23 a.m. (UTC), Vanuatu – Earthquake magnitude 6.9
- April 6, 2016, 2:45 p.m. (UTC), Java, Indonesia – Earthquake magnitude 6.0
- April 10, 2016, 10:28 a.m. (UTC), Hindu Kush Region, Afghanistan – Earthquake magnitude 6.6
- April 13, 2016, 1:55 p.m. (UTC), Myanmar – Earthquake magnitude 6.9
- April 14, 2016, 12:26 p.m. (UTC), Kyushu, Japan– Earthquake magnitude 6.1
- April 15, 2016, 14:25 p.m. (UTC), Kyushu, Japan– Earthquake magnitude 7.0
- April 16, 2016, 11:58 p.m. (UTC), Near coast of Ecuador– Earthquake magnitude 7.8
- April 20, 2016, 8:33 a.m. (UTC), Near coast of Ecuador– Earthquake magnitude 6.1
- April 22, 2016, 3:03 a.m. (UTC), Near coast of Ecuador– Earthquake magnitude 6.1
This is a list of major earthquakes which occurred during the past month. The most destructive ones were those in Ecuador and Kyushu. While the death count in Ecuador has reached 650, there are fears that the southern part of the island of Kyushu might slowly break away because of the recent earthquake.
My mother has not been able to handle this destruction for the past few days, making grim prophecies about the coming of the apocalypse.
Personally, I must say that never before have I heard of so many destructive earthquakes taking place in such a short span of time. But what made me wonder more was the fact that it was not being given ample coverage time by news channels. (Because the debate over presidential rule in Uttarakhand is surely so much more important than the apocalypse, right?)
Oh, by the way, the apocalypse does not refer to the new X-Men movie coming out in a few days, ok?
Back to the point. Given that my mom was close to getting hysterical, I thought about conducting my own research on the issue. Here is what I found out
According to seismologists (people who study earthquakes), an average of 15 earthquakes of 7.0+ magnitude hit the globe annually. That is a lot of earthquakes and a lot of destruction. So why don’t we hear about them? Because most of them take place in offshore locations with barely any human around (you know how news coverage of a disaster directly depends on the amount of destruction, right?)
But 15 is just the average. There have been years when the number of severe earthquakes exceeded the average, the highest being 24 in 2010.
Taking all probabilities and permutations into consideration, experts say that the recent increase in the frequency of major earthquakes is a rare event but not an impossible one.
The Conspiracy Theories:
There are articles all over the internet discussing the recent quakes. Some of them reason out how they are just a prelude to a bigger, more devastating one in store and how there will be no escape from it. And seeing how they present their facts, they do sound believable.
The thing is, their sources are not credible. If you visit the pages of major global news agencies, you will see that even though they do report the destruction from the recent earthquakes, they steer far clear from predicting anything for the future. And that is because the above-mentioned facts say it all.
One more thing which I learnt during my research. You should not believe any news report which mentions the Richter scale. I got to know that it was replaced by a Magnitude Moment Scale (MMS) decades ago. I won’t go into the differences because they were too technical, but the values of an earthquake on both the scales remain more or less the same.
The only conclusion I could draw from my research was that whatever is happening right now, is normal. That does not mean that I can say for sure whether a devastating earthquake is around the corner or not. All I can say is that there are no supernatural forces in action right now. In the meantime, though, it won’t hurt to revise your earthquake safety measures handbook again.
P.S.: During my research, I came across pictures and facts depicting the destruction which took place in Ecuador and Japan. What has happened to the people there is nothing short of brutal. Just seeing the rubble lying around and imagining how long it will take for them to recover, I hope that such a thing does not happen again. Our prayers are with everyone who was affected by the recent earthquakes, and we hope that they are able to get their lives back on track soon.
And since you’re at it, you might also like reading this: