Scientists have found strong evidence that 2018 will see a big uptick in the number of large earthquakes globally. Earth's rotation, as with many things, is cyclical, slowing down by a few milliseconds per day then speeding up again.
You and I will never notice this very slight variation in the
rotational speed of Earth. However, we will certainly notice the result,
an increase in the number of severe earthquakes.
Geophysicists are able to measure the rotational speed of Earth
extremely precisely, calculating slight variations on the order of
milliseconds. Now, scientists believe a slowdown of the Earth's rotation is the link to an observed cyclical increase in earthquakes.
To start, the research team of geologists analyzed every earthquake
to occur since 1900 at a magnitude above 7.0. They were looking for
trends in the occurrence of large earthquakes. What they found is that
roughly every 32 years there was an uptick in the number of significant
The team was puzzled as to the root cause of this cyclicity in
earthquake rate. They compared it with a number of global historical
datasets and found only one that showed a strong correlation with the
uptick in earthquakes. That correlation was to the slowing down of
Earth's rotation. Specifically, the team noted that around every 25-30
years Earth's rotation began to slow down and that slowdown happened
just before the uptick in earthquakes. The slowing rotation historically
has lasted for 5 years, with the last year triggering an increase in