a puzzle and then understanding

The established view when it comes to earthquakes is that they’re not predictable and although there’s a change in that thinking it hasn’t as yet been thought through and applied to warnings.

This explains what’s puzzled me over the last day or so. An 8.2 deep earthquake was reported near Fiji yet it hasn’t made the news. At over 500 miles deep it produced very little effect on the surface and, thus, isn’t seen as having any further impact. It’s a huge earthquake and will, likely, have huge and ongoing effects.

Deep earthquakes have an effect similar to a lever action on the plate and within a few days to perhaps a week larger earthquakes are manifest in locations nearby. This is what’s happened in Indonesia where a deep magnitude 6 struck a few days before the recent shallower and larger earthquakes at Lombok.

It’s not ‘rocket science’, not difficult to understand – earthquakes are the result of pressure transferring across the plate. It’s not that one earthquake produces another but that the pressure coming up from deep below the plate finds the point of least resistance and then moves on, as a force, leaving earthquakes in its wake.

The pressure from that deep earthquake near Fiji doesn’t disappear like a soap bubble being popped, it transfers out in all directions and moves towards New Zealand, towards the Philippines, then across to Papua New Guinea and Indonesia in one direction and towards Japan in the other. Gradually it moves around and across the whole Pacific plate. This can be demonstrated over and over again and, odd though it seems, those deep earthquakes which often appear north of New Zealand eventually make their way to Europe and further.

Knowing that earthquakes are, to some extent, predictable means that warnings can be given and lives saved. The unpredictable aspect is removed, fear is diminished and earthquake plans can be activated.

The lack of information in the news regarding the 8.2 magnitude deep earthquake is due to ignorance – not ignorance on behalf of the public but ignorance – almost a wilful ignorance – on behalf of the governmental agencies charged with the responsibility for reporting and understanding such events.