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The 188 Day Earthquake Cycle – Revisited

On February 27, 2010, the first day of the cycle (2009 doesn’t check out).

There was a great 8.8 magnitude earthquake that struck offshore Maule, near Concepcion, Chile, at a depth of 30km, at approximately 06:34 UTC.

The segment of the fault zone which ruptured in this earthquake was estimated to be over 700 km long with a displacement of almost 10 meters. It lay immediately north of the 1,000 km segment which ruptured in the great earthquake of 1960.

A tsunami was produced with waves that struck Chile, the highest being 2.6m, New Zealand with surges up to 2.2m high. A low tsunami warning was issued for Alaska and Australia, with a partial evacuation of Easter Island for safety. A 4m wave struck Hiva Oa in the Marquesas Islands as well. Warnings were issued and cancelled for Hawaii and the Philippines.

Following were aftershocks, most at the same location, or a very close-distance away, from earliest to latest at 6.2, 6.0, 6.0, 6.9, 6.1, 6.0, 6.3 and 6.1, with dozens of 5-5.9 magnitude quakes, and a 6.2 magnitude quake near Salta, Argentina.

With over 500 killed and dozens missing, 370,000 destroyed homes in Chile, dismantled roads, buildings cracked in two, it is a day that is, and will be remembered by many for decades.

 

On September 03, 2010, the second day of the 188 day cycle, the first coincidental interval since the first date of February 27.

On this date there was a 6.3 magnitude quake at the Andreanof Islands of Alaska at 11:16 UTC. At approximately 16:35 UTC, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck with an epicenter near Darfield, Canterbury, New Zealand.

The quake caused widespread damage and power outages, particularly in the city of Christchurch, the second largest city.

The damage analysis of this earthquake differed from that of the Chile earthquake. It struck on land at a very shallow depth of 5km. The main quake occurred as a result of strike-slip faulting within the crust of the Pacific plate, near the eastern foothills of the Southern Alps at the western edge of the Canterbury Plains.

There were no reported casualties, but up to 100 people were injured. Aftershocks have continued into 2012, with some causing significant damage themselves. The quake caused up to 3.5 billion in damages and as of January, 2012, has had 9,300+ aftershocks of magnitude 2 or higher.

With images of buildings crumbling into the streets, the amount of people injured and the effect that the main quake has had on the land in the form of aftershocks since, this is definitely a significant event for that area that will surely be remembered for decades.

On March 11, 2011, the third day, and the second successful interval in the cycle of events following the two dates of February 27 and Sept 03. 188 days later following the afternoon events of September 3rd, 2010, to the early hours of March 11, 2011.

This day started dramatically, with one of the largest recorded earthquakes in recent history.

At approximately 05:46 UTC, a massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck on water at a depth of 22km near the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

There have since been over 1000 aftershocks recorded from the area. Following the 9.0 was a 7.9, 7.6 and dozens of aftershocks over 6.0.

This earthquake occurred where the Pacific Plate is subducting under the plate beneath northern Honshu; which plate is a matter of debate. The Pacific plate, which moves at a rate of 8 to 9 cm per year, dips under Honshu’s underlying plate releasing large amounts of energy. This motion pulls the upper plate down until the stress builds up enough to cause a seismic event. The break caused the sea floor to rise by several meters.

A quake of this magnitude usually has a rupture length of at least 480 km, and generally requires a long, straight fault surface. The plate in this area is not really straight. It was unusual for a quake here in exceed 8.5. The 9.0 was a surprise to most scientists.

The earthquake caused up to an 8 meter upthrust on a 180 km wide seabed at 60 km offshore from the east coast. A wave up to 38 meters was viewed at Omoe peninsula, Miyako city. Up to 11,000 miles away in Chile, waves as high as 2m came down. Russia evacuated up to 11,000 people from the Kuril Islands. In California and Oregon, following warnings, waves as high as 2.4 meters came down and caused up to 10 million $ US.

Warnings were issued all over the Pacific, homes were destroyed along parts of Indonesia, and the tsunami broke icebergs off the Sulzberger Ice Shelf in Antarctica about 8000 miles away.

The tsunami produced by the earthquake also took out the backup generators at the Fukushima I Dai’ichi power plant, leading to a frenzy and panic as fuel rods melted for weeks, months. It is the largest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl of Ukraine (SSR), in 1986. On the international nuclear event scale, with 7 being the highest, the disaster sat at level 4, then was raised to 5, and eventually level 7. Areas up to 50km away showed enough radiation to be concerned about. The country is still feeling the effects and will for some time.

The estimated cost from damages is said to be over 230 billion $ US. With a death toll said to be around 16,000 people, 6000 injured and over 3000 missing, with images of massive tsunami waves, fear and panic, and widespread devastation. It is a day that will be remembered for many years, the images never forgotten by many.

On September 15, 2011, the fourth day, and third date in the cycle of events, following the dates of February 27, September 03 and March 11. We arrive again, 188 days later.

At approximately 07:53 UTC, a 6.0 magnitude quake struck at a depth of 10km, east of North Island, New Zealand. At 08:00 exactly, a 6.2 quake struck near the east coast of Honshu, Japan, then at 19:31 UTC, a magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck in the Fiji region at a very deep depth of 630km.

The date wasn’t anything devastating this time, but still, a 7 magnitude or higher earthquake did strike, with a lot of other shaking going on around the globe. On the day prior, there was a lot of shaking in and around Greece and a 6.0 near the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. On the day following the 7.3 in Fiji, there was also a 6.7, 6.0 and a number of other aftershocks and tremors near the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

3 intervals of 188 days where regions of the globe release energy. An 8.8 was very significant on February 27, 2010, an 8.8 is closer to a 1/10 year event, where an 8.0 would be considered an annual event now. The first interval decided to glide from Chile to New Zealand for its 188 day anniversary. It was a large event that has left it’s scar. The second interval, New Zealand to Japan. The March 11, 2011 earthquake is described as being close to a 1/100 year event. It was the most powerful earthquake in known history to strike Japan, and one of the five most powerful earthquakes since 1900 when recording began.

The third interval of 188 days passed, but after a relatively slow few weeks of seismic activity, around and after the time-period of a few M and X class solar flares and geomagnetic storms. On the 15th, 188 days after the Japan earthquake, many said nothing would occur. For the third time, a 7 magnitude or higher earthquake did strike, while within the past 48 hours on that date, there were 4 other 6+ magnitude earthquakes.

Next is March 21, 2012, then September 25, 2012 and April 01, 2013.

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February 7, 2012 - Posted by | Seismic | , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Thank you so much for this. Very informative and easy to read.

    So . . . what is your belief and what is your feeling about March 22nd? Is the cycle going to continue or were the past two 188-cycle dates — (I don’t count the first two since it take two to start a cycle, IMO) — just a coincidence?

    Comment by Kathryn Forrey | February 28, 2012 | Reply

    • It could be just a coincidence of Earth exerting stress in a pattern that we’re taking too seriously, or it could be something else. March 22 feels like an ominous date and has for me since before 2012. I hope nothing happens deep down.

      Comment by murkraz | March 17, 2012 | Reply


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