The Big Ones: Scientist warns up to 4 quakes over 8.0 possible under ‘current conditions’
Sunday’s devastating earthquake in Ecuador might just be the beginning, according to a seismologist who says that current conditions in the Pacific Rim could trigger at least four quakes with magnitudes greater than 8.0.
Roger Bilham, a University of Colorado seismologist, told the Express, “If (the quakes) delay, the strain accumulated during the centuries provokes more catastrophic mega earthquakes.”
A total of 38 volcanoes are currently erupting around the world, making conditions ripe for seismic activity in the Pacific area.
More than 270 people are now confirmed dead after Sunday’s quake in Ecuador, with the number expected to rise.
In Japan, at least 42 people have been killed after tremors measuring 6.5 and 7.3 struck the southwest part of the country in the past week. A quarter of a million people were ordered to leave their homes amid fears of aftershocks.
Five years on from Japan’s devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami, the country fears a repeat of the disaster which left more than 15,000 people dead.
Scientists at Tokyo University estimate there is a 98 percent chance that, in the next 30 years, Japan will be hit by an earthquake equivalent to the “Great Kanto” of 1923, which measured 8.9 and killed an estimated 142,800 people.
Seismologists at the Japan Meteorological Agency, however, put the odds of this happening at 70 percent.
Japan has some of the world’s strictest building codes due to the amount of seismic activity in the area, with Tokyo getting rocked at least once a month.
Buildings may be able to withstand an earthquake, but as the 2011 quake proved, the ensuing tsunami can cause more damage including the nuclear fallout at Fukushima.
In the Himalayan region where 8,000 people were killed a year ago when a quake measuring 8.0 hit Nepal, India’s disaster management experts from the Ministry of Home Affairs warned in January that another quake of that size was long overdue in the region.
Tectonic plates west of the Nepal epicenter remain locked together with scientists fearing the accumulation of stress will soon reach its elastic limit.