Facts & Fiction
When it comes to earthquakes there is no shortage of facts, fictions, suspicions and hyperbole. Here with we offer some interesting information about earthquakes. If you have other recommendations please contact us and we’ll do our best to post them.
Biggest Recorded Earthquake
On the afternoon of May 22, 1960, a magnitude-9.5 earthquake struck Chile, creating a tsunami that affected Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, New Zealand and Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. So immense was the quake’s energy that ocean waves measuring 35 feet were recorded 6,000 miles from the epicenter. Known as the Valdivia or Great Chilean Earthquake, the massive temblor killed thousands and cost billions in repairs. Seismic stations recorded global oscillations for days after the earthquake.
Throughout history people have reported on peculiar signs before an earthquake struck. These included animals behaving strangely, bizarre lights in the sky, rising (or sinking) water tables, and heavy emissions of natural gas. All of these, as it turns out, contain some elements of truth. The ancient Greeks reported animals fleeing their underground burrows in the hours before an earthquake struck and modern scientists suggest many animals have the ability to sense the P waves emanating from a quake before the larger, more powerful S waves strike. Colorful lights have in fact been photographed in the skies prior to or even during quakes, which jibes with growing evidence of changes in the ionosphere before and during earthquakes (the ionosphere is what produces the aurora borealis).
Global Climate Change Causes Earthquakes
As the Earth’s climate fluctuates from ice ages to warmer periods, massive sheets of ice emerge and later retreat. As these continent-wide, miles-thick ice sheets compress the earth, they alter plate movements and, similarly, when they later retreat the earth effectively ‘pops’ back into place. Clusters of earthquakes today are experienced in such places as Maine and Nova Scotia, courtesy the departure of gigantic ice sheets 10,000 years earlier.
Los Angeles and San Francisco United?
The two largest cities in California currently are separated by hundreds of miles of some of the most earthquake-prone mantle in the United States. Each year, however, they move approximately two inches toward each other, about the same page that your fingernails grow.
If you want to live without earthquakes head south – way south. Antarctica experiences the fewest earthquakes of any continent, perhaps because of the aforementioned pressure of all that ice.