Next year we can expect stronger earthquakes. And that is because our planet is spinning slower.
No, it is not a vision of the apocalypse. Researchers have long established that the speed of rotation of the Earth around its axis decreases. Speed variation is so small that it can only be seen with atomic clocks. Over a period of time, our planet slows down by about 1.4 milliseconds. In times when dinosaurs lived, the Earth was an hour shorter than it is today.
By decreasing the speed of rotation of the Earth, we introduced a leap second, thanks to which our time measurement system is immune to these changes. The fall of the speed with which our planet revolves around its axis, however, has other, much more serious consequences.
Changing the speed of our planet may affect the frequency of earthquakes.
Roger Bilham of the University of Colorado and Rebecca Bendics of Montana University in their joint publication claim that the drop in speed has an impact on the strength and frequency of earthquakes. According to scientists, the frequency of earthquakes increases on average every 32 years. If their calculations are true, in 2018 the number of earthquakes will increase by as much as three times.
In a study presented at a meeting of scientists associated in the framework of the Geological Society of America , Bilha and Bendics found that in the previous century up to five times the frequency of earthquakes has increased the strength of 7 or higher (according to the Richter scale). In my opinion this is due to the fact that our planet slows down.
– Next year we should see a significant increase in the number of major earthquakes. 2017 was very calm. So far we only had about six major earthquakes. Next year this number may rise to 20, “said Roger Bilham in an interview with Observer.
Researchers have failed to understand the dynamics so far, which can explain what happens when Earth slows down. With the rotational speed decreasing, the diameter of the equator shrinks, which in turn means that neighboring tectonic plates begin to approach each other dangerously. This obviously increases the probability of a major earthquake.