While Puterman is right about the overall averages going down sometimes the graphs and charts don't tell the whole story.
Mark Twain said "there are three kinds of lies; lies, damn lies and statistics". And someone else said (I don't think I ever knew the true source) "If
you torture the data long enough it will confess to anything". The chart below will show that Puterman was right as far as his numbers go, but
sometimes you have to dig down underneath the lines on the graph to see the whole story.
Now before I get started I want to throw out the Arkansas swarm that was found to be caused by hydrofracking.
So, what do I find when I dig down? Well, in spite of an overall trend toward many fewer quakes, there are some new hot spots that, in spite of the
downturn, are something to be concerned about.
First, there is the swarm in Nevada that has been going on with various ups and downs since mid December of 2012. While it is true that Nevada is part
of an active quake area, there have been a little more than 260 small quakes in just over a month. The largest group being centered in and around the
small town of Tonopah Junction. That is more activity in a small area than I have seen in the 4 or 5 years I have been quake watching. And like all
such swarms, the real question is; are stresses being built toward a big quake, or are they being relieved and thus reducing the chances of a big one?
this is one of the classic examples of the "only time will tell" scenario. BTW - If someone has a link to an archive for Nevada quakes of all sizes
going back at least five years, more would be better, I would like to look at it to see if what I have been seeing and the conclusions I have drawn
from it are accurate over the long term.
Next, the New Madrid fault is part of a series of faults that run all the way from southern Lake Michigan to the gulf. While the idea that this fault
system is going to be responsible for splitting the United States down the middle leaving a large inland sea in it's place falls into the realm of
unproven psychic prophecy, the system does exist and it has been seeing more recent activity above what is normal in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri,
Kentucky, Tennessee and northern Louisiana.
There have also been anomalous quakes in the northeastern states, North Carolina, eastern Tennessee and northern Georgia.
While none of the above taken individually against the background of world wide activity amounts to much on a world wide quake graph; taken together
they do constitute an increase in areas that don't normally see such activity.
Considering the structure of the North American plate these small and insignificant events are somewhat like snow flakes. One at a time they can be
interesting, but when they gang up on us they can be reason for concern.
One study I saw about the North American plate shows it doing a twist against it's two halves pretty much along the fault zone that includes the New
Madrid. The seismologist who did the study was very concerned that this action could set the New Madrid, and the associated faults, off and create a
quake much stronger than the New Madrid quakes of 1811/1812. The 1811/1812 quakes were strong enough to ring church bells in Boston.
So, my final conclusion is that while world wide activity has slowed down, there is enough activity in other areas that don't normally see it to
consider it as an increase to be worried about.
Puterman, this is for you. We may not agree or see eye to eye on some things, but you will notice I treated you in a much more civil manner in this
reply than you treated me in your reply. We can compare data and learn from each other if we are civil to each other. Can you do that?
23-1-2013 by happykat39 because: typo