Shocking statistics


Brian Golden

Following any major earthquake, it’s certainly not unusual to hear a number of news reports on the aftershocks which typically follow such an event, including the 9.0 temblor that’s caused (and continues to cause) so much destruction in Japan. Obviously, my heart goes out to those who’ve been lost and those who are still suffering from this catastrophe, as well as my thoughts and prayers.

With that said, I must admit my curiosity was peaked. How many of these aftershocks can the people of Japan expect, I wondered? And how would these aftershocks effect rescue efforts, not to mention the ongoing problems (and problems is putting it mildly) at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

What I found out, however, left me stunned.

The estimated 9.0 earthquake on March 11 (and subsequent tsunami) was followed by no less than 117 other quakes which measured between 5.0 and 7.9 on the Richter scale, according to information I located on the U.S. Geological Survey’s website, www.earthquake.usgs.gov. And that’s just March 11.

March 12 saw 73 earthquakes off or near the coast of Honshu, Japan, all of which measured between 5.0 and 6.4. March 13? 41 quakes in all, between 5.0 and 6.2. The next three days saw a combined 63 earthquakes, all between 5.0 and 6.2, that continued to shake the island nation and – just today (so far) – the area around Honshu suffered from a dozen more quakes between 5.0 and 6.3.

And that’s not counting the hundreds of smaller quakes measuring between 2.5 and 5.0 on the Richter scale that have also occurred.

As I said, I was stunned. And while I was well aware that most large earthquakes are followed by the occasional aftershock, these numbers are unbelievable. It’s enough to make one wonder if the shaking has ever stopped since that first, extremely powerful quake.

All in all, that’s over 300 earthquakes measuring over 5.0 on the Richter scale in less than a week. All located geographically in a relatively small area. Again, my thoughts and prayers go out to all of those currently struggling in Japan and, if there’s anyone up there listening, please give these people a break.

Let’s just hope this latest disaster isn’t a harbinger of worse to come.