“The National Center for Earthquake Information locates about 20,000 earthquakes a year, about 55 a day . And as a result of improved communication and increased interest in natural disasters, the public now learns faster earthquakes than ever before” we read there.
“(But) an increase or temporary reduction in the seismicity is part of the natural fluctuation of frequency. And neither an increase nor a decrease globally is a clear – cut indication that a major earthquake is imminent , ” says the institution.
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Musson, meanwhile, emphasizes that the earthquake in Tonga, for example, which made many think that something unusual could be happening in the Ring of Fire, was actually quite ordinary.
“Not even reached magnitude 6.0, is the kind of movement that once recorded every three days,” he told the BBC.
“The news just mentioned about what was happening (in Japan and Ecuador),” said the expert.
Waiting for the next
All this, however, does not mean that an earthquake can not help anticipate, in a way, other quakes.
First are the so – called replicas , quite common after a seismic event of great magnitude and indicative of the energy release of the activated fault.
In the case of Ecuador, for example, more than 135 had already been reported by the Geophysical Institute of the National Polytechnic School midmorning Sunday.
And, according to Musson, in some cases the energy released by earthquakes also can help advance the occurrence of earthquakes in other nearby faults .
“But only you can ‘trigger’ something that already was going to happen,” says seismologist.
“It means that if there is a fault heavily loaded due to start, maybe a nearby earthquake finished giving the final push . But like the second earthquake would possibly occur , ” he adds.
Moreover, what they can be sure Ecuadorians is that Saturday’s earthquake predicts no doubt that other major earthquakes shook the area again within years.
As Musson explains, the last major earthquakes that have occurred in the coastal area of Ecuador simply have been transferring stress to different areas of that failure.
And everything indicates that stress will now make our way back.
“In 1906 there was a major earthquake in Ecuador, which broke about 1,000 kilometers of the fault affecting the coastal zone. About 40 years later there was another, on the same fault, but only broke the southern third. In 1958 there was another very similar which affected the central third. And in 1979 there was one more than hit the northern third, “Musson says.
“And Saturday’s earthquake is like a repeat of 79, in the north of the fault, so that the sequence can now start to repeat south,” said the expert.
“Although that’s something that will take decades. It will not move from overnight , ” he says.
And eventually there will be another large earthquake is something they know all those living in earthquake zones that have suffered major earthquakes.