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Jehovah’s Witnesses

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Awake!  |  December 2010

More Major Earthquakes Expected

More Major Earthquakes Expected

 More Major Earthquakes Expected

SINCE the invention of instruments that can measure the intensity of earthquakes, scientists have recorded hundreds of major earthquakes. Those that occur far away from human population cause little concern and receive little or no coverage by the media. On the other hand, the devastation can be great when an earthquake hits a big city. Loss of human life and property is then proportionate to the size and preparedness of the population.

On January 12, 2010, Haiti experienced one of the worst earthquakes in history in terms of loss of human life and property. But it was not the first nor has it been the only major earthquake this year. The following describes some quakes during the first few months of 2010 that registered as powerful as or more powerful than the one that devastated the capital of Haiti.

January 3: 7.1 Quake, Solomon Islands

This great earthquake, which was initially rated even stronger than 7.1, caused a tsunami of a “6 to 10 foot (2-3 metre) wall of sea water.” Disaster management official Loti Yates explained that “a total inundation” was seen from an airplane flyover. According to Yates, in the village of Bainara on Rendova Island, 16 houses were destroyed and dozens more were damaged.

That earthquake was preceded by a 6.6 tremor. Many were alarmed by this less powerful quake and fled to the hills. Their reaction resulted in their protection when their shores were hit by the tsunami caused by the larger earthquake two hours later.

 February 26: 7.0 Quake, Ryukyu Islands, Japan

This earthquake struck at 5:31 a.m., local time, and was centered 50 miles (80 km) from Naha, Okinawa, on one of Japan’s Ryukyu Islands. Tsunami warnings were given but were later canceled. A woman who had lived on Okinawa for more than 90 years said that it was the most powerful quake she had ever felt.

February 27: 8.8 Quake, Chile

This earthquake was the fifth strongest since the year 1900. The most powerful one was also in Chile, in 1960​—a quake with a magnitude of 9.4. That earthquake, plus the 7.7 quake that devastated Chile’s capital city in 1985, prompted the country to enforce strict building codes.

As a result, few buildings in Santiago and other cities affected by this year’s earthquake collapsed. However, many thousands of people were injured and suffered loss of property and possessions. About 500 are believed to have died, almost half of those in a tsunami along the coast of Chile.

April 4: 7.2 Quake, Baja California, Mexico

This quake was centered 11 miles (18 km) from Guadalupe Victoria, Mexico, and 29 miles (47 km) from Mexicali. The area is remote and largely uninhabited. Violent shaking, however, was felt in many cities and towns in Mexico and the southern United States.

May 9: 7.2 Quake, Northern Sumatra, Indonesia

This undersea earthquake occurred at noon about 135 miles (217 km) from Indonesia’s northernmost city of Banda Aceh. Many people ran out of their houses and for some time refused to go back out of fear. No fatalities, however, were reported.

More Expected

Based on the long history of major earthquakes shaking our planet, it is fair to say that we should expect more in the years to come. The U.S. Geological Survey puts it bluntly by stating: “Large earthquakes will continue to occur just as they have in the past.”

Interestingly, one newspaper editorial commented: “The recent earthquakes . . . are all beyond the possibility of human remedy and only remind us of man’s limitations. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t act in cases where we can . . . , but it does mean we must continue to expect major natural disasters that are far beyond our control.”

Serious Bible students cannot help but think of the Bible prophecies that specifically mention earthquakes as part of the composite sign of the last days of this system of things.​—Matthew 24:3, 7; Mark 13:8; Luke 21:11.

[Map on page 2021]

(For fully formatted text, see publication)

Some of the quakes 7.0 or higher from January through May

Mexico

Haiti

Chile

Japan

Indonesia

Solomon Islands