April 2014 – GEOLOGY – The season of hyper seismicity which I warned would unfold across the globe from March 15 to April 12 continues in earnest with a dazzling display of increased seismic events erupting along the peripheral boundaries of the Pacific Plate in the Ring of Fire. This latest burst of seismic activity reflects dramatic, intense changes occurring deep within the interior of the planet as gradient pressures become increasingly more erratic. Powerful churning forces generated from gradient fluctuations, which boil magma, awaken dormant volcanoes, perturb dormant fault systems, and incinerate massive slabs of rock continue to build deep below the planet’s surface. The increased risks from some of these cataclysmic forces are seen in the latest round of large tremors striking the globe which are occurring at depths greater than what is normally observed with most recent large earthquakes. Chile’s 8.2 earthquake occurred at a depth of 20 km, and the 7.7 magnitude earthquake which followed erupted much deeper at a depth of 31 km. The 7.1 magnitude earthquake which struck Papua New Guinea on April 11 occurred at a depth of 50 km and the 6.6 which struck Nicaragua on the same day was recorded at a depth of 138 km.
Subduction zone earthquakes have a tendency to occur at greater depths than other earthquakes, so are we just seeing more of them? The USGS even recorded a faint 2.5 magnitude earthquake 38km NNW of Ester, Alaska on April 11 at a depth of more than 99 km below the surface. Similarly, on April 11, a 4.1 magnitude earthquake struck 49km E of Farkhar, Afghanistan at more than 203 km underground and a 4.1 magnitude earthquake struck 173km NE of Lambasa, Fiji that was more than 452 km underground. Why are even such small tremors occurring now so deep underground? These forces will continue to unsettle the broken patchwork of tectonic plates which make up Earth’s lithosphere and that consequently will foster more geological activity across the planet – particularly in subduction zones where huge slabs of rock are being violently pressed down under the weight of another. Stress in building on the Pacific Plate, as a series of powerful earthquakes ripple back and forth along the peripheral plate boundary- from Chile to Papua New Guinea back to Nicaragua. People living in high-risk seismic hazard zones should remain alert for the potential occurrence of large-scale seismic events.