You may not notice it, but the Earth’s rotation is slowing down. Nothing to be too worried about, in fact, this happens periodically.
Changes in the Earth's rotation are very small, measuring in milliseconds, and after a few years, the rotation picks up again and goes back to its usual pace.
The only problem is that according to a paper by Mr Roger Bilham of the University of Colorado in Boulder and Ms Rebecca Bendick of the University of Montana in Missoula, the slowing of the Earth’s rotation may not be noticeable to us, but it is very noticeable underground and is directly correlated to the number of major earthquakes that cause devastating effects on the surface.
Both scientists have used the recorded data of all major (above 7 on the Richter scale) earthquakes since 1900 (information which is well preserved) and compared this to the Earth’s rotation speed periods.
According to their research, there is a clear correlation between when the earth slows down and more, larger earthquakes happen. Unfortunately, if they are correct, 2018 will be a disaster year.
Mr Bilham: "The correlation between the Earth's rotation and earthquake activity is strong and suggests there is going to be an increase in numbers of intense earthquakes next year."
We have just ended a period of slower seismic activity and are normally entering one with more deadly quakes. Because according to their conclusion, soon after periods when the Earth's rotation decreases in speed slightly, there were a large number of intense earthquakes.
"In these periods, there were 25 to 30 intense earthquakes a year," Mr Bilham he said, “The other periods identified only averaged 15 quakes a year.”
If the research is accurate, then, we have just ended a four year period of slower seismic activity and are about to enter the worst year of the next five year period.
"We should see a significant increase in numbers of severe earthquakes. We have had it easy this year. So far we have only had about six severe earthquakes. We could easily have 20 a year starting in 2018."