Over the last decades, the frequency of earthquakes has drastically increased all across the globe.
While this is already a matter of concern, the condition is going to worsen a lot in the coming years (as warned by the scientists).
So, what are the reasons behind this? Let’s try to find out.
A “sudden shaking of the Earth’s surface” – earthquakes are surely a dreadful threat to our existence. It can occur due to several factors such as tectonic movements, volcanic eruptions, meteor impacts, underground explosions, and more. In the last 4,000 years, this natural disaster has caused the death of more than 13 million people worldwide. Now, if we just look at the recent scenarios, would realize that the frequency has increased at a rapid pace. As per a report of the National Earthquake Information Center, our planet now sees about 20,000 earthquakes each year(which is approximately 55 per day). In any given year, there are more than 20 earthquakes that measure more than 7 on the Richter Scale. In this article, we will discuss some of the most significant reasons behind this phenomenon.
Earth’s rotation speed is slowing down
Research has found that the Earth’s speed of rotation is gradually slowing down. With this, the edges of the tectonic plates are also getting squeezed. This, in turn, puts additional pressure on the plate boundaries and causes more earthquakes. On the other hand, it also promotes the release of a huge amount of underground energy, which further results in this natural disaster. Also, the Moon is moving away from the Earth by about 1.5 inches each year – this is also contributing to earthquakes.
Human activities might be a factor
As per a recent report, around 730 earthquakes in the last 150 years may have occurred due to human activities. The list includes mining, fracking, dam building, groundwater extraction, nuclear explosion, and more. The destructive earthquake (7.9 on the Richter scale) that hit China in 2015 was linked to the filling of a reservoir. Also, some scientists have claimed that the quake (7.8 on the Richter scale) of Nepal in 2015 is due to the excessive extraction of groundwater.
Climate change plays a huge role
Climate change, which is also a result of human activities, is a major reason behind the increasing number of earthquakes. It promotes the production of seismic waves, thus contributing to the phenomenon. Also, there is evidence that many recent glacial quakes have occurred due to the increasing temperature. The ongoing climate change is a trigger of tsunamis, volcanoes, tropical cyclones, etc. as well.
An earthquake usually lasts less than a minute, but the damages it causes can last for years. And as the frequency is increasing rapidly, it’s high time we should become more responsible and do whatever we can to bring a positive change.