The 6.4-magnitude Taiwan earthquake that hit on Thursday – on the heels of quakes in Haiti and Chile – raised concern of an accelerating trend. But the statistics say otherwise.The article doesn't downplay the destructiveness or importance of the recent quakes, it just places them in an appropriate context.
Kuo says the Taiwan, Chile, and Haiti quakes involved different tectonic plates. Globally, he says, there's an average of one magnitude 8 or higher earthquake per year, some 17 magnitude 7 or higher quakes, and 170 to 180 of magnitude 6 or larger.So not only was this the first I had heard of the quake in Taiwan (photo gallery), it's the first time (that I recall) seeing the statistic that there is a magnitude 6 quake every two days or so, on average.
So far this year there's only been one quake higher than 8 – Chile's fearsome, 8.8 magnitude temblor. Last year there were 16 magnitude 7 or higher quakes, right at the average. And so far this year there have been three magnitude 7 or higher quakes, including Haiti's.
"From a global view, that's not especially a lot," says Kuo.
Taiwan is frequently rocked by quakes, experiencing one of magnitude 7 or higher every five years and a quake of magnitude 6 or higher every 100 days. "We've only had one like this so far this year, so that's still normal," says Kuo.
Way to go, CSM! Ur doin it rite!