Thirteen earthquakes, four of them registering six or more on the Richter scale, took place around the Pacific Ring of Fire on February 28, 2001. It is not unusual for this many quakes to occur worldwide in a single day, but this is a high number to be concentrated in a single quake area and, along with increasing area volcanic activity, suggests that the Ring of Fire may be entering an active phase. In addition, for four quakes in a single day to be rated as strong to very strong is unusual.
During this same period, earth’s magnetic field was in a state of disturbance, as recorded by the fluxgate magnetometer operating at the HAARP Atmospheric Observatory in Gakona, Alaska.
The first of the quakes struck at 0237 UTC off the coast of Peru. his quake, measuring 4.9 on the Richter Scale. followed by 3 1/2 hours a 4.7 magnitude quake in central Peru, which took place on 02/27/01 at 2330 UTC.
Subsequently, there were quakes on Mindanao in the Philippines and in the Solomon Islands. A quake near Samoa followed, this one measuring 5.4 on the Richter Scale.
The first of the really strong quakes, measuring 6.6 on the Richter Scale, took place southeast of the Loyalty Islands west of Australia in the South Pacific. It occured at 1230 UTC. 35 minutes later, a 6.1 quake struck the area.
Over the next few hours, minor quakes struck Sakhalin Island in Russia and the Ryukyu Islands in Japan. At 1850 UTC a 6.1 quake terrified residents of El Salvador, who have endured a series of damaging quakes in recent months.
Four and a half minutes later, the major quake of the day struck Washington State in the Pacific Northwest of the US. At 6.8 on the Richter Scale, it was the strongest quake of the day. It caused billions of dollars worth of damage and injured approximately 250 people. It would have been more damaging, but its epicenter was 52.4 kilometers deep, and the earth absorbed most of the impact.
A smaller quake then struck the region of New Britain, and at that point the day’s activity ended. March 1, 2001, was a more normal day, with seven quakes by 1700 UTC and no quake above 5.0 on the Richter Scale.
(To convert Coordinate Universal Time (UTC) to your time zone, subtract 8 hours from Pacific Standard Time, 7 hours from Mountain time, etc.)
In addition to the earthquake activity, volcanoes around the Ring of Fire are becoming active. Mt. Cleveland in the Aleutians erupted on February 19. This a mile-high stratovolcano on Chuginadak Island in the Aleutians. It is an active volcano, and last erupted in 1994. Mt. Oyama off the coast of Japan began venting again in February, and is now emitting approximately 50 tons of ash per day. Numerous earthquakes are being reported on Mt. Fuji near Tokyo, and volcanologists now consider that it is in danger of becoming active for the first time since the 18th century.
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