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Old April 12th, 2016, 06:40 PM   #1
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"An Earthquake is OVERDUE!" Number 10,537 of stupid things people say........

Every time I hear about an Earthquake or a story about earthquakes, invariably, someone will write "A major earthquake is overdue in this area." I have always found this to be asinine, and I pull my hair out when people say this. How can a natural event be "overdue"? Nature has no time, and there is no fixed time nature happens. It is just something stupid people have said for so long that people just accept it as fact.

Earthquakes are something that basically cannot be predicted with much certainty. We humans have tried for a long time to find a system to predict when an Earthquake may happen.

Let's look at San Francisco, a town inhabited by weirdos, tech geeks and millionaires, which is situated on the San Andres fault which shakes a lot. There was a famous and destructive earthquake there in 1906 which killed scores of people. Although I am sure there were smaller earthquakes, tremors and whatnot associated with living in a fault zone, the next major earthquake was in 1989.

1906 to 1989 is 83 years. So, using the "Earthquake is due" logic, the next quake will happen sometimes around 2072. Now, that is stupid thinking isn't it? San Francisco may have another destructive quake tomorrow, or 10 minutes from now. Or something on the destructive scale of the quakes of 1906 and 1989 may not happen again until the 22nd Century or beyond.

Since Earthquakes have no timetable, they cannot be "due" or "overdue". It happens when it happens!
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Last edited by senor boogie woogie; April 13th, 2016 at 01:41 AM.
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Old April 12th, 2016, 06:58 PM   #2
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Incredible, some years ago a big earthquake happened in Italy and Italy was going to prosecute their earthquake scientists for not predicting the earthquake. True story but I don't have a link and even if I did I do not know how to copy and paste.
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Old April 12th, 2016, 07:01 PM   #3
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The reason the phrase "overdue" is used in some cases is that earthquakes happen when tectonic plates move relative to each other and get hung up rather than just sliding. What the earthquake is is a sudden movement when the forces have built up to the point that whatever force is preventing the sliding is overwhelmed and a sudden movement of one or both plates occurs.

The rate and direction of movement of the plates is monitored closely and estimates can be made of the stress being built.

Added to this is that if smaller earthquakes happen with some regularity, the stresses are released without the major damage.

Putting all these things together, and it is still just a best estimate, the geologists can conclude that an area has built up a lot of stress, and that is when they will say an earthquake is overdue.
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Old April 12th, 2016, 09:04 PM   #4
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The reason the phrase "overdue" is used in some cases is that earthquakes happen when tectonic plates move relative to each other and get hung up rather than just sliding. What the earthquake is is a sudden movement when the forces have built up to the point that whatever force is preventing the sliding is overwhelmed and a sudden movement of one or both plates occurs.

The rate and direction of movement of the plates is monitored closely and estimates can be made of the stress being built.

Added to this is that if smaller earthquakes happen with some regularity, the stresses are released without the major damage.

Putting all these things together, and it is still just a best estimate, the geologists can conclude that an area has built up a lot of stress, and that is when they will say an earthquake is overdue.
One could say, the time till the next really big one grows ever shorter.
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Old April 12th, 2016, 09:14 PM   #5
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The next big earthquake will start at the Hoover Dam, work its way over to L.A., and then up to San Francisco causing a huge tsunami that will wipe out San Fransisco. The San Andreas Fault covers that much area.
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Old April 12th, 2016, 09:25 PM   #6
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One could say, the time till the next really big one grows ever shorter.
I hope we don't get a magnitude 9 earthquake below the Yellowstone super volcano caldera. Occurs approximately every 600,000 years for a major eruption and it has been approximately 600,000 years since the last major eruption. End of civilization as we know it but there will be pockets of humanity that will survive.
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Old April 13th, 2016, 04:02 PM   #7
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we now know that the Pacific Northwest has experienced forty-one subduction-zone earthquakes in the past ten thousand years. If you divide ten thousand by forty-one, you get two hundred and forty-three, which is Cascadia’s recurrence interval: the average amount of time that elapses between earthquakes. That timespan is dangerous both because it is too long—long enough for us to unwittingly build an entire civilization on top of our continent’s worst fault line—and because it is not long enough. Counting from the earthquake of 1700, we are now three hundred and fifteen years into a two-hundred-and-forty-three-year cycle.
The Really Big One - The New Yorker
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Old April 13th, 2016, 04:10 PM   #8
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I just remembered Seismic Zone from working in the steel construction industry. Surprisingly, Atlanta's Seismic Zone number is relatively high that I would not have expected.
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Old April 13th, 2016, 05:18 PM   #9
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30m tsunamis.

The last time this fault triggered, 5m tsunamis were observed in Japan!!
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Old April 13th, 2016, 05:21 PM   #10
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30m tsunamis.

The last time this fault triggered, 5m tsunamis were observed in Japan!!
And even though I have been living with the metric system since the 1970s, expressing things in meters still doesn't have the same impact.

This is 100 foot tsunamis here and it was 17 foot tsunamis in Japan back then.
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