Earthquake 2010


A magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck Qinghai Province, China on April 14th (local time), which is reported as magnitude 7.1 by China Earthquake Administration (1,2).  Till now, the death toll stand at 1484, and rescuers pulled more than 12,088 people from the rubble alive (3). The Qinghai earthquake and the recent devastating earthquakes around the world have many wondering if this earthquake activity is unusual, while geophysicists said no. From the statistical data by USGS, since 1900, an average of 16 major earthquakes (magnitude 7 or greater) have occurred worldwide annually, while with 6 major earthquakes striking in the first four months of this year, 2010 is not significantly deviated from the normal range.  Even as for the time period between April 15, 2009 and April 14, 2010, there have been 18 major earthquakes, a number also well within the expected variation (4). While Dr. Stephen Gao presented a different idea than USGS in an interview by Xinhua New Agent on Mar. 8th, 2010, “It is clear that the Earth is significantly more active over the past 15 years than the 20 years before” (5). At the end of USGS’s statement, they made it clear that earthquakes can produce disasters when they strike populated areas — especially areas where the buildings have not been designed to withstand strong shaking. And also provided a useful website on how to prepare for the earthquake to improve the safety and reduce the losses by taking actions to make their homes, places of work, schools and businesses as earthquake-safe as possible (4). Please check the useful information on http://earthquake.usgs.gov/prepare/. Also, a list of magnitude 6.5 and greater was attached at the bottom of this post.

References:

1. http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eqinthenews/2010/

2.http://www.cea.gov.cn/manage/html/8a8587881632fa5c0116674a018300cf/_content/10_04/17/1271490928556.html

3. http://news.sina.com.cn/z/qhearthquake2010/index.shtml

4. http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=2439

5. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/indepth/2010-03/10/c_13204200.htm

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