On Thurs. April 14, and on Sat., April, 16 the world was literally rocked by a natural disaster. Two massive Earthquakes struck Japan Thursday and Saturday morning, and another struck Ecuador Saturday night. This string of earthquakes leaves scientists scratching their heads, wondering if somehow these earthquakes are related in some way.
This was Ecuador’s strongest earthquake since 1906 as it clocked in with a magnitude of 7.8. 272 people were killed as a result of this disaster, and infrastructure in Ecuador is left in shambles. In the two earthquakes that struck Japan, there was a total death of forty-two people and 1,000 people were seriously injured. The quakes in Japan together unleashed 400,000 times more energy than the atomic bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki in 1945. The U.S. is currently providing aid for these struggling countries to help offer shelter and food for those left injured or homeless.
These earthquakes have sparked the debate of correlation, and coincidence. Geophysicist Paul Caruso stated that it is “way too early to tell” and that there is ongoing research on a phenomenon called “remote triggering,” an idea that one big quake can cause another big quake a long distance away. Also, both of these Earthquakes occurred in the Ring of Fire, "a string of volcanoes and sites of seismic activity, or earthquakes, around the edges of the Pacific Ocean." According to the National Geographic Society, 90% of the world’s earthquakes occur in this area.
Although it seems likely that these earthquakes seem related, Ross Stein, CEO of Temblor.net, a website that helps people understand locations’ seismic risks, thinks otherwise. “For one thing, the earthquakes that hit Japan was a completely different type of quake than the one that struck Ecuador,” Stein stated. The two earthquakes that hit Japan were defined as “strike-slip” earthquakes, which is the result of the Earth’s crust sliding against each other. Stein stated that the earthquake in Ecuador was much different. This one was a so-called megathrust earthquake, which is caused when one tectonic plate is jammed under another. Because these two quakes were much different, and on opposite sides of the globe, Ross Stein believes it was merely a coincidence but feels confident that the two earthquakes just in Japan were related.
In the end it is still too early for scientists to prove or dispel any theory regarding the possible correlation between these disasters, but what can be known is that Ecuador and Japan are struggling and need help from the world to help rebuild and heal their people.