Rash of Recent Earthquakes Just Coincidence, Experts Say

By Stephen Jones
Stephen Jones
Stephen Jones
March 9, 2010 Updated: March 9, 2010

The last several weeks have seen devastating earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, Taiwan, and now Turkey, but there is little cause for concern, experts have said.

An earthquake measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale hit Turkey on Monday, killing dozens.

It follows two months of major earthquakes, including the Chilean earthquake, measuring 8.8, and the Haiti earthquake measuring 7.0.

Four days ago, Taiwan saw widespread power cuts after being rattled by a magnitude 6.4 earthquake.

Seismologists estimate that there are tens of thousands of large and small earthquakes a year, but many of them are not felt because they are deep below the surface of the earth or in the middle of wide oceans.

Of the major earthquakes, there are around 18 earthquakes a year of magnitude 7.0 or higher, said Don Blakeman, a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey.

"Although earthquakes are not random in location, they are random in their timing," said Blakeman. "I think we are at a time now where we are seeing a cluster of them all happening at the same time."

Jon Davidson, a professor of Earth Sciences at the Durham University, in the U.K., said that the Chilean earthquake may have been triggered by aftershocks from the Haiti earthquake—but the link between these two and others around the world is probably coincidence.

"There are a large number of earthquakes taking place everywhere in the world all the time," he said. "However most of them are deep below the surface or are in remote areas, and aren't reported on.

"It just so happens that we've had a few big ones around the same time."