Published by Brunsell on 26 Aug 2011 at 12:14 am
What gives? Are we seeing a swarm of related events? Is the Earth shaking itself apart?
It’s easy enough to think so. But our brains are wired in a way that makes them easily fooled (proof). What we need to do is not panic — always a good start — and think this through. Happily, we have an exceptionally good tool for this sort of problem: science. Well, science and a tiny touch of math.
You need to look at the statistics, and not by coincidence the United States Geological Survey provides them. When you look at the chart, you see that there is 1 quake per year somewhere on Earth that’s magnitude 8 or more. There are 15 between 7.0 and 7.9 every year, or on average about one every three weeks. Mag 6? 134 per year, or 2-3 per week. Mag 5: 1300 per year, or about 4 per day.