March 12th, 2011

Of the fifteen strongest earthquakes recorded since 1900, five have occurred in the past seven years. That’s 33% of the total concentrated within about 6% of the time span.

Is it because recording methods have become more sensitive recently?  Probably not, since even old-tech seismographs should easily pick up these 8.0+ quakes.

Is it merely a statistical fluke?  Hard to say.  Others (including the USGS) have suggested that for smaller major earthquakes there is no meaningful pattern.

However, for the 15 “max-quakes” listed here by the USGS, the timing definitely is clumpy, as if the factors that give rise to them do become more intense, for some reason, every so often. Four of the top fifteen occurred during 1957-65 — and if we extend the list to 16, then 5 of these 16 occurred in that period. So purely from these data, it appears (though it is impossible to prove) that a previous “max-quake max” period occurred about fifty years ago, and we are in another such period now, but perhaps near its end — or grand finale.

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