Global warming and earthquakes

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Earthquake fault line - global warming? 

Image by jblyberg

We are just two weeks into 2009 and there have already been a few major earthquakes reported around the world; Indonesia, Costa Rica, Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming and here in Southern California.  But before anyone starts to panic or tries to figure out how earthquakes are a sign of global warming, etc., there are a few facts you should know:

First of all, here’s an interesting fact I didn’t know – per the USGS site on earthquakes, “The average rate of motion across the San Andreas Fault zone during the past 3 million years is 56 mm/yr (2 in/yr).  This is about the same rate at which your fingernails grow.”

This shows the earth’s crust is constantly moving, we just don’t necessarily feel it.  Apparently there are at least 500,000 detectable earthquakes in the world every year.  Of those, only about 100,000 can even be felt and only about 100 of those cause any sort of damage.

You know that earthquakes aren’t something new.  The earliest recorded evidence of an earthquake was traced back to 1831 BC in China.

But, why do earthquakes happen?  In basic terms, an earthquake is a sudden, rapid shaking of the earth caused by the release of energy from the earth’s crust.  While earthquakes are often classified as disasters…especially when they occur in populated areas…they are part of nature.  They are a result of the earth’s crust moving and releasing energy.

So, rather than worrying whether global warming has anything to do with earthquakes – just ensure you are well-informed, properly prepared and that you do what you can to make things safe for you and your family.

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