More Earthquake Data Does Not Mean More Earthquakes | The Institute for Creation Research
More Earthquake Data Does Not Mean More Earthquakes

Following a magnitude 8.8 earthquake on February 27, 2010, Chile experienced a 7.2 magnitude aftershock on March 11, the same day that President Sebastian Pinera was sworn into office.1 Considering the size of the initial earthquake, it is no surprise that the aftershock was significantly powerful, and more strong aftershocks remain likely.

These recent events have made some people curious about any connection between current earthquakes and various predictions of earth’s final days. Do the apparently increasing number of earthquakes foreshadow a divine judgment?

On the surface, earthquake data compiled by the United States Geological Survey appear to show a sharp increase in the number of earthquakes in recent decades.2 During the 1990s, fewer than 200,000 earthquakes were recorded in the world. From January 2000 until March 2010, almost 275,000 earthquakes were recorded.

However, the increased number of recorded quakes does not correspond with an increase in seismic activity. Rather, it is due to the proliferation of seismometers deployed worldwide over the last few decades. A USGS fact sheet reminds readers that “as more and more seismographs are installed in the world, more earthquakes can be and have been located.”3

Geologist Steve Austin reviewed similar earthquake data from the 20th century.4 He found that there was a decrease in the number of magnitude 7.0 or higher earthquakes in the latter half of the century. Thus, either secularly or religiously motivated apocalyptic claims that are based on increasing numbers of earthquakes in general, or on increasing numbers of major earthquakes, stand on shaky ground.

Although there are no instruments that can accurately predict the imminence of any major reworking of earth’s surface, there is solid teaching from the Bible. The Revelation of future events given to the apostle John describes a coming earthquake greater than any that occurred before.5 It will come as part of God’s judgment on sinful mankind and will destroy “the cities of the nations”6 in preparation of the earth for its rightful king, Jesus Christ the Creator.

References

  1. Long, G. New earthquake strikes Chile as billionaire Sebastian Pinera is sworn in as President. The Independent. Posted on independent.co.uk March 12, 2010, accessed March 12, 2010.
  2. Compare Number of Earthquakes Worldwide for 1990-1999 with Number of Earthquakes Worldwide for 2000-2010. U.S. Geological Survey fact sheets. Posted on earthquake.usgs.gov, accessed March 15, 2010.
  3. Earthquake Facts and Statistics. U.S. Geological Survey fact sheet. Posted on earthquake.usgs.gov, accessed March 15, 2010.
  4. Austin, S. A. 1998. Twentieth Century Earthquakes – Confronting an Urban Legend. Acts & Facts 27 (1). Similar results were published in Austin, S. A. and M. L. Strauss 1999. Are Earthquakes Signs of the End Times?: A Geological and Biblical Response to an Urban Legend. Christian Research Journal. 21(4): 30-39.
  5. Revelation 16:18.
  6. Revelation 16:19.

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.

Article posted on March 23, 2010.

The Latest
NEWS
Creation and Climate Science with Dr. Jake Hebert
ICR physicist Dr. Jake Hebert* recently made a guest appearance on Good Heavens! A Podcast About the Universe with Wayne and Dan. Dr. Hebert presented...

NEWS
Inside May 2021 Acts & Facts
How should Christians respond when authorities are in conflict with God’s Word? Can we trust scientific measurements and reports about fossil...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Kids: Volcanoes
Christy Hardy and Susan Windsor* You’re never too young to be a creation scientist! Kids, discover fun facts about God’s creation with...

ACTS & FACTS
Tributes of Honor and Remembrance
At the end of a long day, a boss I had early in my career would often tell me, “No more today, Henry. My brain is full.” I found his comments...

APOLOGETICS
Guided by Lynx to Appreciate Christ
Not all tour guides in Alaska are human. Amazing animals of Alaska can guide us into learning creation truth. In fact, such animals should direct us—like...

ACTS & FACTS
Zion National Park: Evidence of Deep Water Sand Waves
Brian Thomas, Ph.D., and Tim Clarey, Ph.D.* It was like driving into another world when we emerged from Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel right at dawn....

ACTS & FACTS
Is the Bible Evidence for Creation?
Have you ever had a skeptic tell you to keep the Bible out of it when discussing origins? Skeptics claim we Christians argue in a circle, that we are...

ACTS & FACTS
Vertebrate Origins on the Ropes…Again
In 1859, the Western world was turned upside down by the publication of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or...

ACTS & FACTS
The Fossils Still Say No: Enigma of the Carboniferous Explosion
Many creationists and evolutionists alike are familiar with the initial huge explosion of complex marine life buried in the Cambrian rock layers at...

RESEARCH
Archaeopteryx by the Numbers
Sometimes scientists get a chance to collaborate. This happened last year when a fellow creation-based researcher invited me to contribute comments...