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We know where the next big earthquakes will happen — but not when

Mexico

A 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck near Mexico City on Tuesday, September 19, 2017.

Rupture within tectonic plate is probable cause of Mexico earthquakes

We are often reminded about the force and devastation from earthquakes that occur around the Pacific Ring of Fire. The titanic collision of two tectonic plates, which firmly lock together and accrue strain over tens to hundreds of years, eventually releases this pent-up energy as a large earthquake. We have seen such quakes striking Indonesia, Chile and Japan over the past 15 years. Mexico, too, lies on the Ring of Fire and is no stranger to such quakes: the 1985 8.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated Mexico City was a fairly typical “thrust” earthquake that ruptured the shallow portion of the tectonic plate boundary…

 

We know where the next big earthquakes will happen — but not when

Two massive earthquakes have struck Mexico this month. The first, the strongest in a century at magnitude 8.2, occurred off of the Southern Mexican coast near Chiapas state on September 7, killing 98.

Another powerful — but seismically unrelated — earthquake struck Tuesday 100 miles Southwest of Mexico’s sprawling capital. This magnitude 7.1 quake has killed at least 230 people in and around Mexico City so far. Especially tragic was the collapse of an elementary school, where at least 30 students were killed. Rescuers are still searching for children and adults buried in the rubble there and elsewhere, and the death count is likely to rise.

Mexico is just one of many regions of the world at risk of big, damaging earthquakes, of course. In light of the recent tremors, and the looming possibility of a big one in the United States, here’s a refresher on earthquakes, along with…

 

Is the U.S. Overdue for a Catastrophic Earthquake? These Cities Are Most at Risk

The likelihood that the U.S. will see a catastrophic earthquake within the next 30 years is very high — and it’s not just the West Coast that’s at risk, experts say.

 

Seismologists have long warned that the U.S. is “overdue” for an earthquake, because a catastrophic one has not occurred in the U.S. since about 1989, when the Loma Prieta earthquake killed at least 63 people in California, said Robert Yeats, a geology professor at Oregon State University. The most destructive earthquake the U.S. has ever seen was the 7.9-magnitude “Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906,” which killed an estimated 3,000 people, according to the agency. As more years have passed without earthquakes, pressure has built up along certain fault lines as tectonic plates try to shift, including in the Pacific Northwest and California, Yeats said.

Earthquakes, which occur when two Earth surfaces move against each other, are typically difficult to predict and impossible to prevent. But the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) maps out high-risk zones based on seismic and geologic data that take into account when and where earthquakes occurred in the past, among other measures that help them predict future events, according to…

 

Death toll in Mexico earthquake rises to 272

An agonising wait for the rescue of up to six children believed to be trapped beneath the rubble of their school in Mexico City, that had kept a shell-shocked nation on tenterhooks for more than a day, ended with the news that no children were apparently missing after all.“The information is clear: 19 children dead, six adults dead, 11 injured and in hospital. All the other children from the school are at home and safe,” Javier Treviño, education undersecretary, told the FT. “All that remains is to recover the [dead] body of an adult. No one else is missing.”However, capping a day of high drama and confusion, some Mexicans insisted it was still possible that one unidentified person might still be alive inside…

 

 

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This entry was posted on 23/09/2017 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , .

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