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Is Escalating Earthquake Energy being concealed by scientific platitudes?

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posted on Aug, 10 2010 @ 08:16 PM

Is Escalating Earthquake Energy being concealed by scientific platitudes?

You are probably familiar with the feeling that the numbers and intensity of earthquakes around the world seems to be increasing. This is something that we see posted in threads and forums both within and external to ATS.

But what is the real story?

According to the scientists there is no increase in earthquake activity in 2010 over and above normal and 2010 is not as bad as 2007 which was the worst year of the decade 2000 to 2009.

You will also I have no doubt be familiar with the stream of earthquakes that have occurred and are still occurring at Baja California after the 7.2 quake earlier this year. There have been over 14,000 quakes, but they have for the most part been small.

But that ONE 7.2 was more powerful than all 14,000+ subsequent quakes by a substantial margin.

This set of figures puts it in perspective.


All of the 14,000+ quakes only came to 1.9 units against 63+ for the single 7.2

So, let's take a look at the earthquake figures for 2000 to 2010. You can check the figures for yourself here

It is my contention that what we should be looking at is not the number of earthquakes but the amount of energy that is being released. I believe that the equation I use is joules, but I am not a scientist, just a programmer! The formula I am using is 10^(1.5*(Magnitude Of Quake)) You can read about some of the mathematics here and there are other links off that to other formulae.

What the units are does not particularly matter as long as the formula is consistently applied to the figures to produce a result.

In this table you will see the number of earthquakes and next to that the energy release for all those earthquakes. Each quake has to be calculated separately so I have downloaded from ANSS the data for all quakes of 6.0 and above for each of the years.


This shows the number of megajoules (1,000,000 joules), or as I am calling them in this exercise Energy Units for each magnitude value in the 6-6.9 range

6 1,000
6.1 1,413
6.2 1,995
6.3 2,818
6.4 3,981
6.5 5,623
6.6 7,943
6.7 11,220
6.8 15,849
6.9 22,387

Important: For 2010 I have shown the actual values and the extrapolated value based on an equal ratio in the remainder of the year.

Let's take a look at the NUMBERS of earthquakes in each year above as a graph.

2010 definitely looks as if it is going to be as bad as 2007 in the 6.0-6.9 range, worse than any of the years in the 7.0-7.9 range, and possibly not as bad in the 8+ range. (2007 had 4 8+ quakes)

Even on numbers then the extrapolation definitely is looking as if it will be the heaviest year of the 11 year period.

So what of the ENERGY RELEASE then?

What has happened here? 2004 has a much higher energy release than any of the other years. This is of course the 9.0

As you can see from the graph even all 4 8+ quakes of bad old 2007 (according to the scientists) do not come up to one third of the energy released by that ONE single 9.0

You can also see that the potential 2 number 8+ quakes for 2010 are over half the energy of the 9.0. Why? Because Chile was an 8.8, and I have extrapolated another 8.5.

The curvy lines are polynomial trends and you can see that whilst 6 and 7 ranges are fairly steady, the 8s are showing a marked increase.

Finally, what does all this look like as a single energy total for each year?

Total Energy Release (Figures)

Total Energy Release (Graph)

In my humble opinion the total amount of energy being produced by earthquakes is increasing, and possibly significantly, and this fact is being hidden in the numbers which as numbers alone do not tell the full story.

[edit on 10/8/2010 by PuterMan]

posted on Aug, 10 2010 @ 08:30 PM
Great post and observations.

My question is, what effect does this increase in energy release have on the planet?

posted on Aug, 10 2010 @ 08:47 PM
reply to post by MoorfNZ

It is my firm belief, after studying all the available evidence, that the cumulative cracking and release of trillions of joules of energy will result in a puncture at the weakest point resulting in the planet whizzing though the solar system like a party balloon that has had it's air released. As the trajectory will take the planet out to the Kuiper belt it is recommended that everyone should avail of warm woollies and long socks are mandatory.

Seriously, the energy release is what goes into the fault lines and either moves on up making further potential problems along the line or causes havoc where it occurs. Every quake releases energy and this energy does not simply vanish. It has to be absorbed by the planet - faults, structures etc, so any increase of the general levels of energy has to be a concern.

posted on Aug, 10 2010 @ 08:49 PM
reply to post by PuterMan

You put a lot energy into this...pun intended.

From Source:

According to long-term records (since about 1900), we expect about 17 major earthquakes (7.0 - 7.9) and one great earthquake (8.0 or above) in any given year.

This IMO seems key...when we start to see multiple quakes 8.0 or greater - we have a problem.

As to covering it up - either they did indeed do some fuzzy math, or the term generalization has been watered down.

Good thread...hopefully others can contribute to the discussion. And I hope the lack of participation here is due to our members taking the time to research it.

posted on Aug, 10 2010 @ 08:55 PM
reply to post by facelift

Yes agreed multiple 8+ does cause a problem, but the main point is that numbers do not tell the whole story as amply demonstrated by 2004 energy.

The 8s even without being multiples are more intense and we appear to be looking at 26 x 7.0+ against the expected 17 !!

[edit on 10/8/2010 by PuterMan]

posted on Aug, 10 2010 @ 09:05 PM
Great post I must say in away it eases my mind; I have been following the yrs myself on quakes and have been concerned with the lack of activity, because I felt a lack could mean the time of the super eruption and the location possibly being Yellow Stone Park. From my understanding that supper eruption is over due by some 50,000 years. And such and eruption will wipe out most of the United States. So I think stronger energy release is like a pressure cooker that will not supper blow, because if it didn’t let off a lot of pressure and it maintained it within itself it might let go all at once meaning a supper eruption.

Please as you have much more knowledge on this topic then I let me know if my hypothesis makes sense to you and if not can you explain where my logic fails me. Thank you.

posted on Aug, 10 2010 @ 09:16 PM

Originally posted by facelift
reply to post by PuterMan

Good thread...hopefully others can contribute to the discussion. And I hope the lack of participation here is due to our members taking the time to research it.

Geez. I'm guessing there are a lot of others like me. Very interested in this thread and the information, but just kinda reading through it going "wow" this guy is smart.

I'll keep following along, as best I can.

posted on Aug, 10 2010 @ 09:22 PM
reply to post by drmeola

I understand what you are saying, that increased energy release keeps the pressure cooker from blowing, but are we looking at a pressure cooker here?

There are very basically two types of earthquake, tectonic - caused by movements in the earth's crust, and volcanic - caused by the movement of magma. Your pressure cooker analogy would relate for example to somewhere like Yellowstone as you mentioned, but the pressure that needs to be 'released' there would be magmatic - i.e welling up from the bowels of the earth and needing to find a way out.

Tectonic earthquakes on the other hand are caused by the movement of the earth's crust, either due to stress relief in a land mass which is rising (isostatic relief), or through the subduction of the lithosphere at the plate boundaries - an area that is also associated with volcanoes as well (also stress relief of course).

Increased tectonic energy release could lead to more destructive earthquakes and/or tsunamis and for the most part this is the bulk of what we are considering here. It is very unusual for volcanic earthquakes to exceed around magnitude 7.

With regard to Yellowstone, firstly I think that it is not possible to say that it is 50,000 years overdue, for a number of reasons. First geological time is so far removed from our daily consideration that a difference of 50,000 years of even a million years is really neither here nor there. In addition to this you cannot actually pigeon hole Mother Nature. Even the subject of this thread is really an exercise in pigeon holing to a degree as I am making an assumption that the rest of the year will be like that which has passed, and Gaia probably won't play ball!

There is also the possibility that Yellowstone is passée, as there is a theory that the plume has been cut off and the hot-spot is moving on.

[edit on 10/8/2010 by PuterMan]

posted on Aug, 10 2010 @ 09:29 PM
The problem i see with your analysis is that the data skews towards only one strong earthquake in 2010. Throw out the one strong one in 2010 and there is little left supporting your theory.

posted on Aug, 10 2010 @ 09:32 PM
Thank you for the response, yes I did realize after I posted that the main of this discussion was that of tectonic and yes I understand the difference. I also understand the reference to years and that information though I can not find it today was noted from one of those shows about volcanoes and specify the supper eruption. I will look for the movement of the hot spot because at the last time I checked Yellow Stone has seen more than usual activity and there was a concern not that very long ago of a possible eruption. The movement I heard about was just into one of the older pockets that was filled once before just prior and eruption and the land mass has risen in the area not sure of the figures but will try to locate that information for you. The rise from what I remember is on a steady, rather than just the occasion shift and stall. Please keep us updated I will look back here often and look forward to more of your post. Thanks again.

posted on Aug, 10 2010 @ 09:50 PM

Originally posted by sligtlyskeptical
The problem i see with your analysis is that the data skews towards only one strong earthquake in 2010. Throw out the one strong one in 2010 and there is little left supporting your theory.

If you throw out the one strong quake in 2010 then you would also have to dispense with the strong quakes in the other years, and that would be nonsense since the contention is that the intensity of earthquakes IS getting stronger, so why throw the baby out with the bathwater?

You cannot cherry pick the data - this is not a climate thread - thus the strong quake in 2010 is very germane to the exercise and should not be 'thrown out'.

This graph shows the 'one strong quake' in the Moro Gulf and you can see the difference in energy release between a 7.3 and a 7.6


The point of the data is that it is a whole and not components which is why I was looking at total energy release.

Incidentally if anyone is wondering why I have not included the 5.0-5.9 range this is not cherry picking. The TOTAL energy release of ALL 5.0+ quakes in the past 12 months (about 1,650+) is 6,220 mJoules (Energy Units) which is roughly the equivalent of ONE 6.5 earthquake!

[edit on 10/8/2010 by PuterMan]

posted on Aug, 11 2010 @ 06:19 AM
Wow lots of effort here, and very interesting thread that I will follow however I find that there is not enough info in your graphs to come to a proper conclusion

What are the chances that you would add maybe another 10-20 years to your graphs?

posted on Aug, 11 2010 @ 07:23 AM
reply to post by bluedrake

I would willingly do that (in fact might) but one of the potential problems is that of detection.

We already know that these figures from USGS do not tell the whole story not just in terms of energy release but also in terms of number. I have not come to that one yet but there is a study going on into what USGS is reporting - and not everything is getting on to the list.

The further back you go the less accurate are the figures and that could give a false impression, but I will certainly give it some consideration and maybe produce one decade further back based on USGS figures.

[Edit: Later]

As requested here are the number of quakes and energy release for the decade 1990 - 1999 and he comparison between the two decades 1990-1999, 2000-2009+2010

First the figures

Now the number of quakes for the 1990s in graph form

Now the energy release for the 1990s in graph form

To get the figures for the 1990s I had to use the Centennial Catalogue as the ANSS catalogue was woefully short, and the Centennial catalogue is what the USGS say they use for their figures for the 1990s.

There are som minor differences between what I found in the catalog and their figures but this may be because of the earthquake type. All of my figures are for Mw values.

Here are the differences

So, the total values for energy release for the two decades look like this:

It is immediately possible to see that there is a significant increase going on here.

Now the totalled energy release

The trendline shows that over the two decades there is an even more marked upward trend.

Further edit

This is the graph of total energy for the years 1990 to 2009 inclusive - i.e. NO 2010

Here you can see the trend looks as if it is going down.

Now look at the graph with ONLY the actual collected figures for 2010 (i.e. no extrapolation)

There is still a very slight dip but it is nearly the same value as 2009 - but we are only 7 months into the year!
Finally if I take the last part of 2009 (which was relatively quiet) and add the values from 10th August 2009 to 31st Dec 2009 to the current figures for 2010, we get a graph that looks like this. (I have NOT included the 8.1 on the 29th September in the forward figures)

If that 8.1 Mag was to be included the graph then looks like this:

[edit on 11/8/2010 by PuterMan]

posted on Aug, 11 2010 @ 05:52 PM
reply to post by PuterMan


You have taken all of our questions (from the EQ thread, anyways) and put it all together for a visual FEAST of information.

Thank you

It clearly shows an upward trend, as those of us that have been following quakes for years have been saying for the past year or so. I myself have been an avid watcher for over ten years and you have presented me with the info that I have been trying to find and do not have the knowledge to put together as you have.

I will be following closely to see what other info you come up with that has somehow managed to slide below the USGS radar.

posted on Aug, 11 2010 @ 09:34 PM
Not so fast.

Because the total energy release is so "right skewed" in probability distribution you can't be so sure from simple statistics or visualization that there is a change in trend.

Small fluctuations due to change could result in seeming trends over short times.

There still could be a stat sig trend, but you'd have to do a much more sophisticated analysis using Extreme Value Theory as appropriate for this problem, and go back further in time as well. It's even more complicated when you consider correlations (which are the case because of aftershocks).

posted on Aug, 11 2010 @ 10:08 PM
You do make a convincing argument about the increasing energy release.

I did notice when I have been compiling my data back to 1900 that when there was a Mag 8 in in a year then the less number of 7's there were that year. perhaps there is a cap on how much total energy there is available to be released over a certain time span?.

Its hard to get an overall picture though, what about back when the other 9's happened, I forget the years right now, the 60's Chilean and ? Alaskan 9, and I think there was a 9 at Kamchatka too last century (1900-1999)
The ANSS data won't be much help going back that far, you'd need to use the NOAA data.

BTW most of the "extra" quakes I have found that USGS did not report have been 7.0-7.2Mw or Ms, and may already show in your Energy release as 6's.
50% of the "7' not reported by usgs" quakes came from Peru or Chile.

posted on Aug, 11 2010 @ 10:55 PM
reply to post by mbkennel

I accept what you are saying if you are trying to forecast unusual events, however I am not attempting to do any forecasting here.

All this is observing is that the energy release levels are going up and the trendlines are showing the trend BUT I have not created any forward figures for the trend. Since this is historic data the trendline within the dataset is perfectly valid as it is not attempting to extrapolate future trends..

I agree that for forecasting one would need to go much further back, and this is an exercise that is under way, but again I doubt that it would be of any use for forecasting. The main problem being the lack of accurate older data.

I would guess you are possibly an actuary in the insurance industry?

No one has used this system successfully to forecast earthquakes for the saving of life and limb, and I would not even attempt that. Statistically EVT might be of interest to insurance companies for the purpose of assessing premiums, but really for little else.

Edit to add: The use of energy released gives a measure of the effect of plate movements since these are the major contributor to earthquake figures.

As the stress moves along a fault system so the earthquakes occur - a really good example was in Turkey where a series of quakes moved from East to West over a period of months. The total energy output in the course of a year is actually a very vague figure, but it is nonetheless an indicator of what is going on in the system as a whole. If you wanted to forecast quakes you would have to measure all the energy release in a fault system and plot the lat/lon/depth as well to get a picture of where the stresses were moving in addition to knowing the expected movement of the strike face in a given period and the friction in the system. Actually statistics have little of nothing to do with it since it is controlled by topography and plate tectonics, which is one reason why EVT will never be able to accurately predict an earthquake any better than a 'local' in the area (if it is on land).

Putting a trendline on historic data is only a visual aid to what has passed and not to the future in any way shape or form and I apologise if I gave any other impression.

In this case there is a perception that there has been an increase in the number/intensity of earthquakes. This data confirms that. This data does NOT mean that this 'trend' will continue in 2011, or even to the end of the current year.

[edit on 11/8/2010 by PuterMan]

posted on Aug, 11 2010 @ 11:19 PM
Wholly awesome thread and awesome pictures. Had to blink to be sure I was reading the total energy release graphs you created for the 1990's and 2000's correctly. What an eye opener - better than a morning cup of coffee.

Sometime in the 90's wasn't there a change to the way the strength of earthquakes were reported? I seem to remember that it wound up making a 7.1 a 6.7 or something like that or was that just USGS? I know that with insurance companies there is a cut off point where the government will give them money and beyond which the government just wants to handle it directly leaving the insurance companies out or this is how it was explained to me.

posted on Aug, 11 2010 @ 11:21 PM

Is Escalating Earthquake Energy being concealed by scientific platitudes?

It's concealed by a general lack of knowledge regarding what is really happening.

We don't know what's going on underground... and we don't know what's going on in the atmosphere either.

You're local meteorologist can't accurately predict the weather for more than about 8 hours in advance yet they can predict hurricanes, etc.... (umm... nope) and global warming too. Wow.... And that is stuff they can see in the air.

And people think we can predict quakes? All those things going on underground where we can't see it?

[edit on 8/11/2010 by abecedarian]

posted on Aug, 11 2010 @ 11:25 PM
Fantastic work! i have been trying to find data like this for a long time, but there is nothing out there that shows the total energy released each year. i was tempted to make my own graphs but i had no idea where to start so thank you very much for your work, it's much appreciated.
Looking at your graph of 1990-2009 brings to mind the 11 year solar cycle, unfortunately as the graph only covers a 19 year period it's unwise to state that a correlation exists. Looking at the period of 2008 and 2009 where we had one of the least active solar minimums on record your graph shows a corresponding dip in tectonic energy release, also around 1996-1998 the previous solar minimum.
If when you get more data for the last century would you be able to plot energy released alongside sunspot activity? Additionally is it possible to find data for the energy released in CMEs from the sun for each year and graph that as well?

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