Wednesday, August 24, 2011

East Coast, Get Ready For Another Earthquake: In A Mere 100 Years

According to the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, the 5.9 earthquake that shook, rattled and rolled across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast U.S. Tuesday, is likely to happen again... in 100 years.

The last such tremor struck in 1884, which was felt from Philadelphia to Boston. Before that, quakes rocked the region in 1783 and 1737.

Based on history, researchers say quakes of at least 5.0 in magnitude should be expected about every 100 years—so future planetary occupants of 2112's New York be warned: "With so many buildings and people, a magnitude 5 centered below the city would be extremely attention-getting," said John Armbruster, from Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. "We'd see billions in damage. People would probably be killed."

Even more serious quakes are possible. Scientists said that fault lengths and stresses suggest magnitude 6 or 7 quakes—which would be 10 and 100 times bigger than magnitude 5—are "quite possible."

They calculate that magnitude 6 quakes take place in the area about every 670 years, and magnitude 7 temblors every 3,400 years. Of course, by then, all humankind will have been eaten by aliens, so no need to worry. If only the aliens could come for Justin Bieber a little sooner.