More earthquakes expected as Earth's rotation slows

Tuesday, 21 Nov, 2017

The researchers say that the Earth began one of its periodic slowdowns four years ago and has given us a heads up about increased quake activity. Talking about Earth's changing rotation, he said, "The rotation of the Earth does change slightly - by a millisecond a day sometimes - and that can be measured very accurately by atomic clocks". With a new study predicting more earthquakes next year, people will have to rely on knowing what to do during and after earthquakes.

"We're just going into a phase when we expect an increase in the rate of magnitude 7 and greater earthquakes". The team then compared their findings with various global historical datasets looking for factors that may have contributed to the events.

The Earth's rotation is usually incredibly consistent, but it does go through brief spells where it rotates a tad slower than normal. Scientists have warned that there could be a series of deadly earthquakes next year.

"[The Americans' paper] sounds like we will get a jump from six to 20 large earthquakes per year".

Essentially, says Bilham, "The Earth is offering us a five-year heads-up on future earthquakes". You may end up cancelling all those plans as natural disaster across the globe will put up to 1 billion people at risk in 2018 and the next few years. The thought is that the outer core can at times "stick" to the mantle, causing a disruption in its flow.

Currently, the data only notes a striking correlation, but no causation.

Moreover, according to NASA, seasonal changes like El Niño have been shown to affect the Earth's rotation, while massive earthquakes can cause shifts in the planet's axial tilt.

None of this says that 2018 will definitely be a more geologically unstable year, and it certainly doesn't pinpoint where any possible quaking will occur. Typically, there will be 15-20 large earthquakes (M 7.0 or greater). The researchers searched to find correlations between these periods of intense seismic activity and other factors and discovered that when Earth's rotation decreased slightly it was followed by periods of increased numbers of intense earthquakes.

Geologists have unveiled an ominous forecast for the planet in 2018 as the number of devastating earthquakes is predicted to rise. They tend to occur with little to no forewarning and can thus be incredibly destructive. Earthquakes float on the Earth's crust, Quartz reported. This new research provides another dataset to inform communities about the near-term risks they face.