We've had so many earthquakes lately--is this a trend? Will there be more quakes in the future? (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show). Geologist Robert Yeats says, "What you are seeing in Japan today is what you will also see in OUR future. Except they are better prepared that we are."
At least there's some good news: Geologists says that seismic activity is NOT increasing, according to the way they measure these things. It only SEEMS like earthquake activity is increasing, mainly because there are vulnerable big cities in more parts of the world, thus their impact on society has increased. One or two-story buildings constructed from light materials have been replaced by concrete skyscrapers that are much more dangerous when the shaking starts, and many of these megacities that are in earthquakes zones have seen their populations grow since the last earthquake struck. They are also often situated in coastal areas, making them vulnerable to tsunamis. Thus the number of people exposed to risk during a quake has risen from thousands to millions.
Yeats says, "There are a few clusters of disasters at some times more than others, but the real message is that the Earth is very active and sometimes violent, it always has been and always will be. We can't predict these events so we have to prepare for them." There are earthquake faults in the Himalayas and a very active fault zone between Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. A quake in that area could affect the cities of Kathmandu, Nepal, Islamabad, New Delhi and Dhaka in Bangladesh, all of which have large populations. These faults have not generated giant quakes in recent years, but historical and geological records show this happens every few hundred years, and none of these cities have the level of earthquake preparedness of Japan. Despite this, we are NOT following the right path: One of the proposed Federal cost cutting initiatives would reduce NOAA's budget and close the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii.