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Worldwide EARTHQUAKE FREQUENCY
The following 22-year trend of earthquake statistics posted here at Believer's Home Page can be found at the following USGS website, under 'Earthquake Facts and Statistics':
The above link to the USGS web page of Earthquake Facts and Statistics would be a good starting point to discover the activities of the USGS to detect, measure, locate, and quantify earthquakes and their frequency of occurrences around the world. From here a click on the link to the Real-time Earthquake Map shows on a world map, historically and up to the present time, the location, time, and magnitude of earthquakes, and how this activity tends to follow along the fault lines of the earth's crust.
A click on the Get Real-time Data Sent to You link takes you to a page where you can request real-time earthquake lists of data to be emailed directly to you, on an hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly basis, from the Earthquake Notification Service (ENS). You can signup also to receive data on twitter accounts, receive data through a Google Earth KML feed, and receive real-time earthquake data in iGoogle.
At the bottom of the page there are many more handy and informative links under the topics of Earthquakes, Hazards, Learn, Prepare, Monitoring, and Research. Under the Learn topic you can link to information about various earthquake related topics, link to a FAQ page, and to a glossary of earthquake terminology. There is a link to a section designed specifically for kids, and for students and teachers. There is a link to a page where you can download low, medium and high resolution full color posters of earthquake activity in various locations, in both .JPG and .PDF file formats. There is a link to apparently endless libraries of Earthquake Photo Collections produced, going back to the beginning of the twentieth century.
The following charts, produced from the USGS data, show the trends in earthquake activity around the world, in all magnitude categories, for years 1990 through 2011.
Most earthquakes, by category of magnitude, measure in the 4.0 - 4.9 range of magnitude, historically about 37% of earthquakes.
Historically about 80% of all recorded earthquakes measure in the 2.0 and 4.9 ranges of magnitude.
Based upon the angle of their linear trend lines, the three fastest growing ranges of magnitude categories are 4.0 - 4.9, 3.0 - 3.9, and 6.0 - 6.9. Although 6.0 - 6.9 category earthquakes are much fewer in number than the other two categories, they are much more destructive.
upon the USGS data, earthquakes measuring 7.0 and above are very few,
being less than 0.1% of all earthquakes. But based upon the news media,
earthquakes measuring 7.0 and above are the most lethal, and are
responsible for most earthquake and tsunami related deaths.
Worldwide 22-Year Trend
Is the USGS data accurate, and are they comparing "apples to apples" both between years of data collected, and between magnitude categories? The USGS says, "Starting in January 2009, the USGS National Earthquake Information Center no longer locates earthquakes smaller than magnitude 4.5 outside the United States, unless we receive specific information that the earthquake was felt or caused damage."
In the above chart, the cells with the light yellow background contain the data which USGS states is no longer "apples to apples" with the other historical data in the chart. Measuring the frequency in the distinct occurrences of more destructive earthquakes, in the magnitude of 5.0 and upward, may serve in finding the correlation between scientific discovery and documentation of earthquakes with Biblical prophesy (Mat. 24:7; Mark 13:8; Luke 21:11; Rev. 6:12, 11:13, 19, 16:18). Therefore I believe the long term trends in higher magnitude earthquakes, which are most responsible for destruction and casualties, are what we should watch for as being most indicative of the approach of the last days.
In the four upper magnitude categories, from 5.0 magnitude and upward, the 6.0 - 6.9 magnitude category shows dramatic growth in the worldwide frequency of large magnitude earthquakes. But please keep in mind, whether this data actually means anything at all depends upon the quality of how the USGS calculates and quantifies all of the seismic data, to identify and count the number of distinct earthquakes which are occurring worldwide.
In the charts below, the legends show the magnitude sizes. The black linear trend lines may show the gradual increase/decrease in earthquake frequency over time, depending upon the quality of the data. Since more and more seismic detectors are still being planted in the ground it seems reasonable to expect that more smaller earthquakes are being detected, and for USGS numbers used in the charts to reflect that increase.
But are the USGS numbers accurate enough to reflect a plausible trend in the frequency of distinct earthquake occurrences?
Based upon the time and location of an earthquake, and the geologic structure of the earth's crust through which its shockwave must travel, I'm guessing the scientific experts may have, or maybe still do, collect the data from various seismic monitors in the region which detected the event, and then trace the time the shockwave required to travel to outward concentric locations through various geologic strata, and through which time-tracking process they can identify whether one event caused the many detectors at various locations to register it, or several events are being registered on the many seismic detectors in various distant locations.
But I know nothing about this, and I am simply guessing as to how the experts might go about distinguishing and quantifying one or multiple events from one another. A methodology of some kind, maybe like this, I'm assuming has been used all along to populate their tables of data of the number of distinct worldwide earthquakes. Otherwise the regional tables of data means absolutely nothing regarding accurate quantifications of the "number" of worldwide earthquakes occurring.
Exactly how is that number calculated and quantified, the number USGS gives which represents the counting of individual distinct earthquakes? This may seem like an obvious and logical question to ask, but so far I have not been able to find the answer at the USGS web pages.
From looking at the chart showing the colored trend lines for magnitude categories 3.0 to 3.9 and 4.0 to 4.9, their trend lines dip dramatically as a result of the now missing worldwide earthquake data for magnitudes 4.5 and below. The only magnitudes where data collection and consolidation remains "apples to apples" to years previous to 2009, according the USGS, are now for categories of events with magnitudes of 4.5 and higher.
As can be plainly seen from the USGS data, the frequency of worldwide earthquakes in the 2.0 - 4.9 magnitude categories are growing at the greatest rate compared to all other magnitude categories, with earthquake frequency in the 4.0 - 4.9 magnitude category growing at the greatest rate. Apparently this growth in the frequency of lower magnitude events is due to the use of more seismic detectors.
But I see something in the 1.0 - 5.9 chart which may suggest an anomaly in the USGS data, which is the apparent inverse growth rate between 2.0 - 2.9 and 4.0 - 4.9 magnitude categories for years 1993 through 2005. When 2.0 - 2.9 shows a drop in frequency 4.0 - 4.9 shows an increase in frequency, and the reciprocal. Whereas the three magnitude categories from magnitudes 1.0 - 3.9 appear to be somewhat in harmony in their frequency growth trends.
Are Earthquakes Really on the Increase?
The following few paragraphs are quoted from the following USGS site in 2002:
"We continue to be asked by many people throughout the world if earthquakes are on the increase. Although it may seem that we are having more earthquakes, earthquakes of magnitude 7.0 or greater have remained fairly constant.
A partial explanation may lie in the fact that in the last twenty years, we have definitely had an increase in the number of earthquakes we have been able to locate each year. This is because of the tremendous increase in the number of seismograph stations in the world and the many improvements in global communications. In 1931, there were about 350 stations operating in the world; today, there are more that 8,000 stations and the data now comes in rapidly from these stations by electronic mail, internet and satellite. This increase in the number of stations and the more timely receipt of data has allowed us and other seismological centers to locate earthquakes more rapidly and to locate many small earthquakes which were undetected in earlier years. The NEIC now locates about 20,000 earthquakes each year or approximately 50 per day. Also, because of the improvements in communications and the increased interest in the environment and natural disasters, the public now learns about more earthquakes.
According to long-term records (since about 1900), we expect about 18 major earthquakes (7.0 - 7.9) and one great earthquake (8.0 or above) in any given year. However, let's take a look at what has happened in the past 31 years, from 1969 through 2001.
Our records show that 1992 is the first time that we have reached or exceeded the long-term average number of major earthquakes since 1971. The long-term average for the number of earthquakes was exceeded in 1970, 1971, 1992, 1995, and 1996, but there was less than half the average number of events in 1984, 1986, 1988 and 1989. The number of events in 2001, is once again been below the long-term average."
My Analysis of the Data:
The USGS' foggy answer to the apparent worldwide increase in the frequency of earthquakes is that there are simply more seismograph monitoring stations now, and so more earthquakes can be detected. This sounds plausible to me for a moment, if I don't think through it any further, or actually look at the data. But, if more seismographic monitoring stations throughout the world detect more earthquakes, then shouldn't they detect more earthquakes in all magnitude categories without partiality toward any particular category?
I'm no expert, but I can look at the data and try to think, and question why more seismic monitoring stations planted into the earth's crust appear to find relatively no more No Magnitude to 2.9 category earthquakes through 2008? Smaller earthquakes, whose vibrations may not travel as far through the earth's crust, would seem to me to require more concentration of seismic detectors to find them, which agrees with what the USGS says they are doing. But yet, according to their own data through 2008 the frequency of earthquakes in the No Magnitude to 2.9 categories appear to be dropping over the last few years up to 2008, while the number of earthquakes of 3.0 and greater appear to still be on the increase!
To seismic detectors planted into the ground in the middle of Los Angeles, that to them what may measure as an 8.0 magnitude earthquake there, may measure to seismic detectors planted in Santa Barbara as only a 2.5 magnitude earthquake there, given the distance between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, and the time interval required for the wave to travel through the ground, and given the geological structure between those two cities. I'm guessing it's somewhat difficult for the USGS to differentiate between two separate and distinct earthquakes occurring, one each in both Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, as opposed to one single earthquake being measured at two different locations distant from one another. I'm guessing that this consideration, or something similar to it, must be factored into the data the USGS is posting at their web sites.
And what about the 5.0 - 5.9 magnitude category, which shows dramatically less growth relative to the 4.0 - 4.9 category below it and the 6.0 - 6.9 category above it? The three categories of magnitude below it and the one above it show tremendous variations and growth in earthquake frequency during the same period? Is the earth stubbornly not producing any more earthquakes in the 5.0 - 5.9 magnitude category in spite of more seismic detectors planted in the earth's crust to search them out? Or are the additional seismic detectors being intentionally attenuated to filter out earthquakes in the 5.0 - 5.9 magnitude category, which seems unlikely?
Neither of these explanations seems plausible to me to explain such a relatively dramatic lack of earthquake frequency growth in the 5.0 - 5.9 magnitude category over the last two decades. And so to me the explanation that more seismographic measuring devices are being implanted in the earth's crust as the reason for more earthquakes being detected, doesn't seem entirely true. The frequency of events in the 5.0 - 5.9 range can't seem to keep up no matter what.
The apparent lack of growth in the number of earthquakes in the No Magnitude, 1.0 - 1.9, and 5.0 to 5.9 magnitude categories presents a very curious phenomena, if the USGS data is correct, in contrast to the USGS claim that more seismic detectors are finding more earthquakes. Why shouldn't the increase in seismic detectors detect more earthquakes across all low magnitude categories without partiality?
I can think of several possibly plausible arguments which can both explain and explain away the apparent worldwide increase in earthquake frequency, aside form the installation of more seismic detectors. But may I suggest only one? IF the seismographic monitoring stations are finding more earthquakes to monitor and measure, but since the No Magnitude, 1.0 to 1.9 magnitude and 5.0 to 5.9 magnitude categories show no relatively dramatic trended increase in earthquake frequency proportional to the rate of increase in the other low magnitude categories, then the worldwide frequency of earthquake occurrences in these three magnitude categories would need to actually diminish at a rate commensurate with the rate of increase in the number of seismic detectors coming on-line, in order for the slope of their linear frequency trends to remain virtually flat. This I find very hard to believe.
The very lack of increase in the worldwide frequency of earthquake occurrences in the No Magnitude, 1.0 - 1.9, and 5.0 to 5.9 magnitude categories seems to actually refute the USGS argument that the increase in seismic detectors is responsible for the apparent increase in the worldwide frequency of earthquake occurrences in the other magnitude categories!
From a perspective of the ancient Judeo-Christian writings, the holy scriptures give us some information regarding earthquakes: 1 Kings 19:11-12; Isa. 29:6; Amos 1:1; Zech. 14:5; Mat. 8:24, 24:7, 27:54, 28:2; Mark 13:8; Luke 21:11; Acts 16:26; Rev. 6:12, 8:5, 11:13, 11:19, 16:18.
At least one tsunami, as a result of an earthquake, is recorded in the holy scriptures. The words in parentheses are those in the Greek text.
Mat. 8:23 (LIT/UBS4) And (kai) he (autō) having embarked (embanti) into (eis) a ship (ploion), the (hoi) disciples (mathetai) of him (autou) followed out (ēkolouthēsan) to him (autō).
Mat. 8:24 (LIT/UBS4) And (kai) behold (idou), earthquake (seismos) caused itself to become (egeneto) great (megas) in (en) to the (tē) sea (thalassē), and so (hōste) the (tōn) waves (kumaton) covered (kaluptesthai) under (hupo) the (to) ship (ploion).
But (de) he (autos) was down asleep (ekatheude)!
According to what Jesus Christ said, as quoted by the disciple Matthew, the signs of the last days shall be so intense, and thusly obvious to everyone, that there could be no doubt as to whether they are signs of the end times (Mat. 24:3-16).
Mat. 24:3 (LIT/UBS4) But (de) of him (autou) causing himself to sit down (kathēmenou) upon (epi) the (tou) mountain (orous), the one (tōn) of olive trees (elaiōn), the (hoi) disciples (mathētai) came toward (prosēlthon) him (autō) down (kat’) [on] his own (idian), saying (legontes), “Enunciate (eipe) to us (hēmin) when (pote) these things (tauta) shall cause itself to be (estai), and (kai) what (ti) [is] the (to) sign (sēmeion) of the (tēs) presence (parousias) [of the] moth (sēs), and (kai) of the (tēs) complete coming together (sunteleias) of the (tou) age (aionos)?” (See Isa. 51:8)
Mat. 24:4 (LIT/UBS4) And (kai) having been caused to make a decision (apokritheis), the (ho) Jesus (Iēsous) enunciated (eipen) to them (autois), “Look (blepete), do not (mē) [let] anyone (tis) cause you to wander (planēsē humas)!
Mat. 24:5 (LIT/UBS4) Because (gar) many (polloi) shall cause themselves to come (eleusontai) over (epi) the (tō) name (onomati) of me (mou), saying (legontes), ‘I (egō) am (eimi) the (ho) Christ (Christos)’, and (kai) they shall cause many to wander (pollous planēsousi).
Mat. 24:6 (LIT/UBS4) But (de) you are about (mellesete) to hear (akouein) of wars (polemous), and (kai) things heard (akoas) of wars (polemōn).
See that (horate) [you are] not (mē) troubled (throeisthe), because (gar) it is necessary (dei) [for them] to cause themselves to come to pass (genesthai).
BUT (all), absolutely not yet (oupō) is (estin) the (to) completion (telos)!
Mat. 24:7 (LIT/UBS4) Because (gar) there shall be aroused (egethēsetai) ethnic group (ethnos) over (epi) ethnic group (ethnos), and (kai) kingdom (basileia) over (epi) kingdom (basileia).
And (kai) famines (limoi), and (kai) earthquakes (seismoi) shall cause themselves to be (esontai) down (kata) places (topous).
Mat. 24:8 (LIT/UBS4) But (de) all (panta) these things (tauta) [are] a beginning (archē) of pains (ōdinōn).
Mat. 24:9 (LIT/UBS4) Then (tote) [ethnic groups] shall give you alongside (paradōsousin humas) into (eis) mental pressure (thlipsin), and (kai) they shall kill (apoktenousin) you (humas).
And (kai) you shall cause yourselves to be (esesthe) ones being despised (misoumenoi) under (hupo) all (pantōn) ethnic groups (ethnōn), through (dia) the (to) name (onoma) of me (mou).
Mat. 24:10 (LIT/UBS4) And (kai) then (tote) many (polloi) shall be scandalized (scandalisthēsontai), and (kai) they shall give one another alongside (paradōsousin allēlous), and (kai) they shall despise (misēsousin) one another (allēlous).
Mat. 24:11 (LIT/UBS4) And (kai) many (polloi) false prophets (pseudoprophētai) shall be aroused (egerthēsontai), and (kai) they shall cause many to wander (planēsousin pollous).
Mat. 24:12 (LIT/UBS4) And (kai) through (dia) the (to) [false prophets] to make more full (plēthunthēnai) the (tēn) lawlessness (anomian), the (hē) love (agapē) of the (tōn) many (pollōn) shall be blown cold (psugēsetai).
Mat. 24:13 (LIT/UBS4) But (de) the one (ho) having endured (hupomeinas) [it] into (eis) [the] completion (telos), this one (houtos) shall be made whole (sōthēsetai).
Mat. 24:14 (LIT/UBS4) And (kai) this (touto) shall be preached (kēruchthēsetai), the (to) evangelism (euangelion) of the (tēs) kingdom (basileias), in (en) to the (tē) whole (holē) inhabited land (oikoumenē), into (eis) a witness (marturion) to all (pasin) the (tois) ethnic groups (ethnesin).
And (kai) then (tote) shall arrive (hēxei) the (to) completion (telos).
Mat. 24:15 (LIT/UBS4) Therefore (oun), when perhaps (hotan) you may see (idēte) the (to) foul thing (bdelugma) of the (tēs) desolation (erēmōseōs), the (to) [prophecy] having been worded (rhēthen) through (dia) the (tou) prophet (prophētou) Daniel (Daniēl), having stood (hestos) in (en) a holy (hagiō) place (topō), (the one (ho) reading up (anaginōskōn), perceive (noeitō) [it]),
Mat. 24:16 (LIT/UBS4) then (tote) the ones (hoi) in (en) the (tē) Judaea (Ioudaia), let them flee (pheugetōsan) into (eis) the (ta) mountains (orē).
The Sixth Seal
Rev. 6:12 (LIT/UBS4) And (kai) I saw (eidon) when (hote) [the little Lamb] opened up (ēnoixen) the (tēn) seal (sphragida), the (tēn) sixth one (hektēn), and (kai) there caused itself to become (egeneto) a great (megas) earthquake (seismos).
And (kai) the (ho) sun (hēlios) caused itself to become (egeneto) black (melas) as (hōs) a hair (trichinos) sackcloth (sakkos).
And (kai) the (hē) whole (holē) bright moon (selēnē) caused itself to become (egeneto) as (hōs) blood (haima).
Rev. 6:13 (LIT/UBS4) And (kai) the (hoi) stars (asteres) of the (tou) heaven (ouranou) fell (epesan) into (eis) the (tēn) land (gēn), as (hōs) a fig tree (sukē) throws (ballei) the (tous) unripe figs (olunthous) of her (autēs), she being quaked (seiomenē) under (hupo) a great (megalou) wind (anemou). (See Mat. 24:29-31)
Rev. 6:14 (LIT/UBS4) And (kai) the (ho) heaven (ouranos) made space away (apechōristhē) as (hōs) a little scroll (biblion) being coiled (helissomenon).
And (kai) every (pan) mountain (oros) and (kai) island (nēsōs), they were moved (ekinēthēsan) out (ek) of the (tōn) places (topōn) of them (autōn).
Rev. 6:15 (LIT/UBS4) And (kai) the (hoi) kings (basileis) of the (tēs) land (gēs), and (kai) the (hoi) great ones (megistanes), and (kai) the (hoi) tribunes (chiliarchoi), and (kai) the (hoi) rich ones (plousioi), and (kai) the (hoi) strong ones (ischuroi), and (kai) every (pas) slave (doulos) and (kai) free one (eleutheros) hid (ekrupsan) themselves (heautous) into (eis) the (ta) caves (spēlaia), and (kai) into (eis) the (tas) rocks (petras) of the (tōn) mountains (oreōn);
Rev. 6:16 (LIT/UBS4) And (kai) they say (legousin) to the (tois) mountains (oresin) and (kai) to the (tais) rocks (petrais), “Fall (peseta) upon (eph’) us (hēmas), and (kai) hide (krupsate) us (hēmas) from (apo) [the] face (prosōpou) of the one (tou) causing Himself to sit down (kathēmenou) upon (epi) the (tou) throne (thronou), and (kai) from (apo) the (tēs) anger (orgēs) of the (tou) little Lamb (arniou);
Rev. 6:17 (LIT/UBS4) because (hoti) the (hē) day (hēmera) has come (ēlthen), the (hē) great one (megalē), of the (tēs) anger (orgēs) of them (autōn), and (kai) who (tis) can inherently power himself (dunatai) to stand (stathēnai)?”