Earth's Rotation is Mysteriously Slowing Down: Experts Predict Uptick in 2018 Earthquakes

Sloshing of Earth's core may spike major earthquakes

Sloshing of Earth's core may spike major earthquakes

In the abstract of a presentation they made to Geological Society of America's annual meeting, the scientists said that five times in the past century, an increase of 25-30 per cent in the annual numbers of magnitude 7 and above quakes, had coincided with a slowing in the speed of the Earth's rotation.

Tiny changes in the speed of our planet's rotation will trigger huge seismic activity by releasing vast amounts of underground energy, experts claim - although their research has been rejected by some scientists. Scientists Roger Bilham of the University of Colorado at Boulder and Rebecca Bendick of the University of Montana in Missoula conducted a study that found there have been five periods when larger earthquakes were significantly more frequent than at other times.

According to Bilham and Bendick, these findings show that the Earth is offering a "five-year heads-up" on future earthquakes. If the two geophysicists' research is correct, 2018 should bring a significant increase in the number of major earthquakes.

This is good news for those who always complain that there are never enough hours in the day-at times next year, there'll be an extra millisecond or so every day as a result of the slowed rotation.

But, according to the Guardian, the researchers "found that most of the intense earthquakes that responded to changes in day length seemed to occur near the equator". They explained that the Earth began one of its periodic slowdowns more than four years ago.

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Bilham said it's hard to pinpoint why there's a link between rotation and earthquakes, but the earth's core might be to blame.

More Major Earthquakes In 2018: Why?

The scientists expect the recent earthquakes in Mexico, Iran and Iraq will be dwarfed by bigger quakes in the coming year. But from 2018 we could easily have 20 years.

These hotspot locations are home to at least a billion people, who are all potentially at risk from a particularly powerful quake.

While there have been advancements in natural disaster prediction technology, including the discovery of fiber optic cables as possible detectors and gravity signals as possible indicators, there is still no surefire method of knowing when earthquakes will happen. "The cause of Earth's variable rotation is the exchange of angular momentum between the solid and fluid Earth (atmospheres, oceans and outer core)", they noted in their paper. "The correlation they've found is remarkable, and deserves investigation", fellow geologist Peter Molnar told Science.

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