Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

No More Earthquakes Than Usual, But 2001 So Far Is Deadly

Date:
March 7, 2001
Source:
U.S. Geological Survey
Summary:
With more than 35,000 estimated deaths from earthquakes in the first two months of 2001, it may seem like the earth is more restless than usual. Not so, according to scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC) in Golden, Colo.

With more than 35,000 estimated deaths from earthquakes in the first two months of 2001, it may seem like the earth is more restless than usual. Not so, according to scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC) in Golden, Colo.

"While it's true that more people have died from earthquakes during the first two months of this year than in the last two years put together, the average number of earthquakes per month has stayed about the same," said NEIC chief scientist, Waverly Person. "Overall, earthquake activity isn't on the rise," said Person. "We're simply able to locate more lower magnitude earthquakes due to advances in the technology, and when a deadly quake occurs, those images of death and destruction come right into our living rooms on the evening news."

In January 2000, there were six "significant" earthquakes that were responsible for seven deaths. Significant earthquakes are defined by NEIC as "earthquakes with a magnitude of 6.5 or larger, or ones that caused fatalities, injuries or substantial damage." In January 2001 there were also six significant earthquakes, but the combined death toll from the January 13 earthquake in El Salvador and the January 26 quake in southern India is estimated at 30,000 to 40,000.

In February 2000 there were five significant earthquakes, with one death, whereas in February 2001 there were three significant quakes, with 325 deaths. The highest magnitude of any quake in February 2001 was the 6.8 temblor that struck the Seattle area, February 28, but no deaths were directly attributed to the earthquake, and damage, though extensive, was far less than it would have been in many cities of the world.

"Dense urban populations coupled with weak building structures near the epicenters are responsible for most of the fatalities, in any year," Person said. "The annual, long-term average is 10,000 deaths worldwide, but that figure varies greatly, from year to year. In 2000, for example, there were only about 225 people killed in earthquakes, whereas, fatalities totaled 8,928 in 1998, and 2,907 in 1997. The deadliest year of the 20th century was 1976, when at least 255,000 people, and perhaps more than 600,000, were killed after one quake rocked Tianjin (formerly Tangshan), China."

Person said a typical year for earthquakes consists of 18 major temblors (magnitude 7.0 to 7.9) and one great quake (8.0 or higher). During the first two months of 2001, there were seven earthquakes with magnitudes of 7.0 or higher, and two others with magnitudes of 6.8. The highest magnitude of any quake in February 2001 was the magnitude 7.3 in Southern Sumatra.

The greatest number of earthquake-related deaths this year has been in India, where at least 30,000 have been confirmed dead, from the 7.7, January 26, earthquake, with the death toll estimated to go as high as 50,000. The death toll from the January 13, 7.6 quake in El Salvador, plus several aftershocks, is estimated at around 1,170. Many of the El Salvadorans were killed when earthquake-triggered landslides crushed their homes.

The USGS estimates that several million earthquakes occur in the world each year. Many go undetected because they hit remote areas or have very small magnitudes. The USGS now locates about 50 earthquakes each day, or about 20,000 a year, with an average of 20 earthquakes per day in California. Real-time information about earthquakes can be found at http://quake.wr.usgs.gov.

Since 1973, the USGS has provided up-to-date earthquake information to emergency response and mitigation teams, government agencies, universities, private companies, scientists and the general public. This information includes determinations of the locations and severity of seismic events in the United States and throughout the world, including the rapid analysis of significant earthquakes on a 24-hour basis. Seismologists around the world use this information to increase their understanding of earthquakes and to better evaluate earthquake hazards. As the nation's largest water, earth and biological science and civilian mapping agency, the USGS works in cooperation with more than 2,000 organizations across the country to provide reliable, impartial, scientific information to resource managers, planners, and other customers. This information is gathered in every state by USGS scientists to minimize the loss of life and property from natural disasters, contribute to the sound conservation, economic and physical development of the nation's natural resources, and enhance the quality of life by monitoring water, biological, energy and mineral resources.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by U.S. Geological Survey. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

U.S. Geological Survey. "No More Earthquakes Than Usual, But 2001 So Far Is Deadly." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 March 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/03/010306072544.htm>.
U.S. Geological Survey. (2001, March 7). No More Earthquakes Than Usual, But 2001 So Far Is Deadly. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/03/010306072544.htm
U.S. Geological Survey. "No More Earthquakes Than Usual, But 2001 So Far Is Deadly." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/03/010306072544.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The United Nations says water is a human right, but should it be free? Detroit has cut off water to residents who can't pay, and the U.N. isn't happy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) Suni, a rare northern white rhino at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, died Friday. This, as many media have pointed out, leaves people fearing extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins