CENC: Yushu earthquake not a rare phenomenon

15:05, April 15, 2010      

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The 7.1-magnitude earthquake that rocked Yushu County in Qinghai province on April 14 killing hundreds and injuring thousands more is just the latest in a series of earthquakes that have hit the region throughout its history, according to the China Earthquake Network Center (CENC).

Sun Shihong, a researcher from CENC, gave an exclusive interview to a reporter from People's Daily. According Sun's analysis, earthquakes have occurred many times in the history of Yushu due to its geological structure.

Yushu is located at the center of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau plate, which is very active and the epicenter of many massive quakes in the past. Therefore, this earthquake in Yushu was not unusual. Earthquakes occurred in both Taiwan and Yushu on April 14, and it reflects that the Earth has entered an active seismic period, though the two places sit on different plates.

Sun said that since July 25, 2009, seven earthquakes of 7.0-magnitude or above have occurred in the world, which is an average of 2.6 occurrences per month.

During the entire 20th century, the average frequency of such earthquakes was just 1.6 occurrences per month or 19 occurrences per year. The average frequency of earthquakes of 7.7-magnitude or above was two times per year for the entire 20th century, but in the past nine months, six such massive earthquakes have occurred in the world.

Sun believes that the earth has entered an active seismic period, and seismic researchers should pay extremely close attention to monitoring in order to find out whether even greater earthquakes (above 8.0 or 8.5-magnitude) will occur in the future.

By People's Daily Online


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