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Earthquakes in the Himalayas follow the seasons

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posted on Dec, 11 2007 @ 03:00 PM
I found this article on the link between seasons and earthquakes to be most interesting:

Earthquake Season in the Himalayan Front

Avouac and two collaborators from France and Nepal--Laurent Bollinger and Sudhir Rajaure--began their earthquake seasonality investigation by analyzing a catalog of around 10,000 earthquakes in the Himalaya. They saw that, at all magnitudes above this detection limit, there were twice as many earthquakes during the winter months--December through February--as during the summer. That is, in winter there are up to 150 earthquakes of magnitude three per month, and in summer, around 75. For magnitude four, the winter average is 16 per month, while in summer the rate falls to eight per month. They ran the numbers through a statistical calculation and ruled out the possibility that the seasonal signal was due merely to chance.


In the Himalaya, monsoon rains swell the rivers of the Ganges basin, increasing the pressure bearing down on the region. As the rains stop, the river water soaks through the ground and the built-up load eases outward, toward the front of the range. This outward redistribution of stress after the rains end leads to horizontal compression in the mountain range later in the year, triggering the wintertime earthquakes.

I wonder if the same mechanism is responsible for the recent slight tremor in the Titiwangsa Range in Peninsular Malaysia. We've never had an earthquake happen, ever, or at least none that anyone alive can recall. But recently there was a series of tremors slightly over the 3.0 Richter mark over there, at a point called Bukit Tinggi.

Quake measuring 3.5 hits Bukit Tinggi
That tremor came from a fault that has apparently been dormant for more than 1.6 million years.

Although it has been raining on and off throughout the year, the past month or so the rains have picked up and are heavier with the start of the monsoon season. This year the monsoon is stronger than usual, affecting states as far south Johor (north of Singapore).
Death toll reaches five in Malaysian floods

So maybe a similar mechanism is at work here. I wonder if it will be the same case with other areas experiencing increased precipitation.


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