by Debbie Smith
The first week of April was a shaky one, with earthquakes reported in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Wyoming, and Chile.
Over the past month, a wave of earthquakes has captured people’s attention ;a magnitude 6.9 off of Eureka, north of San Francisco, a pair of magnitude 4-5 earthquakes in the Los Angeles basin, a magnitude 4.8 near the Yellowstone Caldera in Wyoming, and then, a massive magnitude 8.2 off the coast of Chile that even generated a tsunami.
Each year, there are many thousands of earthquakes felt around the world. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, using data going back to 1900, there are over 20,000 earthquakes of magnitude 4 or greater every year. That works out to be, on average, approximately 50 per day. Even large earthquakes (magnitude 6 or greater) occur, on average, over 150 times per year.
The 8.2 earthquake that shook northern Chile and surrounding countries late Tuesday night was one of a string of recent earthquakes along what is known as the “Ring of Fire,” a circle of quake-prone areas on the Pacific Rim.
On Monday, March 31st, parts of Wyoming-Montana were shaken by a 4.8 magnitude earthquake in the Yellowstone National Park area.
In the days following this trembler, bison and other animals were seen fleeing the area. Bloggers in the region have theorized that the animals are fleeing an impending eruption of the Yellowstone Park’s Caldera supervolcano.
“Whether I believe this, or whether I don’t believe the story or not, I don’t know. I can tell you this story I saw this morning about the buffaloes running the street … whether or not it’s because of any activity in Yellowstone or not, I don’t know,” stated blogger Jay Lee, who posted a story on his site tatoott1009.com.
“But I’ll tell you this, whatever the case may be that their running away from Yellowstone is an alert of some sort.” predicted Lee.
Seismic activity at Yellowstone isn’t unusual. The land boasts the world’s largest collection of geysers, formed by volcanic activity.
Ton Lupshu reported seeing “herds of bison running for their lives on the public roadways…running right past a filming crew.” A survivalist and search and rescue expert, Lupshu believes the animals are running for their lives and “the Yellowstone Supervolcano is the only thing that fits the bill.”
Monday’s seismic activity was the largest in 34 years and the latest in a flurry that began last week, with more than 25 smaller quakes reported by the University of Utah’s seismographs.
A team of researchers, including Dr. Bob Smith of the University of Utah, recently discovered that the supervolcano is approximately 2.5 times bigger than previously thought with a cavern stretching more than 55 miles!
“We’ve been working there for a long time, and we’ve always thought it would be bigger … but this is astounding,” Smith told the BBC.
So what, if anything, do all these recent quakes have in common?
Earthquakes do tend to occur in clusters. These” seismic clusters” result when a big earthquake puts further strain on the surrounding faults, which are likely to rupture soon after. Earthquakes therefore can trigger one another.
A large number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur around the “Ring of Fire”. In fact, 90% of Earth’s quakes happen in this area. Not surprisingly, due to the natural beauty of the Pacific Rim area, this is a highly populated region.
This high level of population and subsequent development makes this region particularly susceptible to loss of life and property damage.
Of note, March 27th marked the 50th anniversary of the largest earthquake in U.S. history: Alaska’s 9.2 magnitude spawned a deadly tsunami, massive landslides, damage from Canada to Hawaii and ultimately killed 131 people. Interestingly, this was the second most powerful earthquake ever recorded.
2000 years ago, as a part of His Olivet discourse, Jesus listed “earthquakes in divers places” as a “beginning of sorrows” that would occur before His 2nd coming. (Matt. 24:7 KJV)
The term “diverse” is an archaic spelling of diverse, meaning many and varied. So we should expect to see many earthquakes of differing intensities, happening in various places throughout the Earth, prior to the return of Jesus Christ.
According to the US Geological Survey, from 1973 until 2011, there have been 8 years that have exceeded the yearly average number of major earthquakes, 7.0 or greater. Those years were, 1976,1990,1995,1999,2007,2009,2010, and 2011.
The Bible reveals that there will be several major earthquakes during the last 7 year period on earth, often called “The Tribulation Period”.
One of those earthquakes will directly affect Jerusalem:
Revelation 11:13 “At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven”.
During last October five tremors shook the northern region of Israel in a span of one week, prompting Israeli officials to issue a general alert to citizens to update their knowledge about emergency measures during quakes.
Seismologists in Israel agree that a major earthquake is only a matter of time. The last Big One was in 1837 — magnitude 7.0 and with an epicenter in northern Israel’s Hula Valley. It devastated the town of Safed, killing some 4,000 people.
According to Ata Elias, an assistant professor of geology at the American University in Beirut, “We know from historical records that at least twice in the last millennium along the entire fault line form the Red Sea up to Turkey there were a major series of earthquakes in the 3rd to 6th century and then again between the 11th and 13th century. Apparently the faults in the area have a cycle of 8-10 centuries, so we’re due for another one.”
In many areas of the Middle East, homes are built very closely together, often on sandy soil or clay, rather than on solid rock. The cost of constructing new buildings in accordance with earthquake codes adds an estimated three to five percent to the total price tag. Making existing buildings safe is very expensive and governments do not seem to want to invest these sums of money.
Israeli seismologist Ephraim Laor says that in Israel, new fault lines have been discovered in heavily populated areas. He says Israel is not prepared for an earthquake, “you can’t even dream of what a big earthquake would be like here”.
While we have not yet entered that seven year period of time described in the Bible it seems inevitable that we are going to experience much more shaking in the days ahead. The great and final earthquake that appears to change the very topography of the earth is described in the Book of Revelation in such a way that one is reminded of the language used to describe Noah’s flood:
Revelation 16:18 “And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.”