Seismically Speaking - Review and Forecast for April-May 2014
April 2014: A Standout for the Largest Earthquakes may also be a Sign of Another Mega-Quake in the Not Too Distant Future...
Shortly after a below average period of earthquake activity in the months of December 2013 and January 2014, I predicted in a hub just prior to this one that, seismically speaking, there should be an average month in February, followed by a surge of significant worldwide earthquakes in March and April of 2014. March was a bit above average but April was off the chart, with fifteen 6.5 magnitude or larger earthquakes occurring or 3.75 times more than an average month (average would be 4 events per month). If one looks at 6.8 magnitude or larger events, there were nine that occurred in that month or 4.5 times greater than average (average is 2 per month). And finally, looking at 7.3 magnitude or larger quakes, there were five total or 6.76 times greater than the usual number per month (average is 0.74 per month).
Focusing on the 6.8 magnitude or larger range, there hasn't been a month with such a high frequency since September of 2007. Similar to the 8.15 magnitude event which occurred on April 1, 2014, an earthquake of 8.5 magnitude occurred during the first half of September 2007 and 6.8 magnitude or larger earthquakes were then seen to follow in other areas of the world. Both of these monthly occurrences are rare in this regard; the last similar month being in March 1957, when eleven 6.8 magnitude or larger quakes occurred. That one was composed of an early in the month earthquake of 8.6 magnitude in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, a series of related aftershocks, followed by a lone quake in the Banda Sea of Indonesia.
One possible pattern appears to emerge from these types of record setters: within a few years, before and after these types of months, 9.0 magnitude or greater events have occurred. Preceding March 1957 was a 9.0 magnitude temblor in Kamtchatka on November 4, 1952 and then afterwards in Chile for the biggest quake ever recorded on May 22, 1960. Then, surrounding the September 2007 high yield month, there was the December 26, 2004 Indian Ocean catastrophe before and the March 11, 2011 Japanese disaster afterwards. And it doesn't look like it stops there... Not only does April 2014 tie with September 2007's seismic activity, but it occurred just 3 years after the 9.0 magnitude Japanese mega-quake and tsunami. This could signal that this pattern is going to continue in a back to back fashion with another 9.0 or greater quake occurring a few years from now.
As for the 8.15 magnitude earthquake that occurred in Chile during this last record month of April 2014, its epicenter was in the middle of a seismic gap that has been quiet since an 8.75 (give or take 0.25) magnitude event there in 1877. Seismologists say that the recent mega quake in northern Chile released only part of the pent up stress there and that one should probably be on the alert for a possible larger quake in the same area in the future. In other words, this last quake in the lower 8 magnitude range is a likely pre-shock to a larger temblor in the future.
April 2014 was an extremely busy month for the larger earthquakes of 6.8 magnitude and up or the ones that, although not as numerous as the quakes below it in magnitude, release on average 95% of the total seismic energy of all quakes. The month of May is more likely to be typical in its output or at least more average than April 2014 was. However, there is still a good chance of an 8.0 magnitude or larger earthquake occurring in the Solomon Islands or Fiji areas during the coming months and that could happen in May. If that does happen, then May would likely not be so average.
May 2014: April a tough act to follow but May may still produce some surprises...
As shown in the graphic (above), when looking at the largest earthquakes, 7.75 magnitude or greater quakes are more numerous in the months of November and December, followed by May and June. Oddly, when I did a study of all earthquakes of 6.5 magnitude or greater, May, June, and December were months that often had record low number of such quakes. Different rules appear to apply for the greatest types of earthquakes. Another graphic (also above) shows a spike at about 9pm (local time) for these higher magnitude events during the months of May and June (data gleaned from the ISC-GEM catalog for the period of 1900-2009).
One thing that I have noticed from my past forecasts is that the busier the month, the greater than average is the percentage of significant earthquakes which fall within my projected windows as defined by astro-aspect values. This was the case in April, but unfortunately a couple of factors may get in the way of everybody accepting that fact. One is that I was caught unprepared for the recent over 8.0 magnitude Chile quake. I had predicted a 7.5 magnitude, give or take 0.7 magnitude, event in Chile or Peru for a period of time close to the end of March 2014. However, I didn't get out my next earthquake report until after the later than projected 8.15 magnitude earthquake and its aftershocks occurred early in the month of April 2014 (the main shocks and aftershocks for this event, at least for the 6.5 magnitude or greater ones, ended up being inside my earthquake windows as defined by astro-aspect values).
I also didn't see the coming of a batch of 6.5 magnitude or larger earthquakes in the Solomon Islands and the 6.6 magnitude quake in Nicaragua on April 11 & 12, 2014. Later I realized that I had left out a significant aspect for that month and when it was inserted into the overall data (correct chart shown above), those quakes were then inside a window. Using the amended chart, all but the last of the 15 quakes for April 2014 falls within the periods of time as defined by my windows.
That however is also due to my lowering the bar that defines the beginning and end times of these windows. Rather than being based on a line that defines windows occupying a set 33% of time during a given month, they now represent an average of the earthquake astro-aspect values for each month.
Also, as a result of some recent observations of mine, I am changing the way potential epicenter locations are determined. In the past, too much weight was given to locations determined by transiting aspects to the natal position of the planets for event charts in my database. Not enough weight was given to locations determined by eclipse paths (due in large part to the fact that I have only recently adapted eclipses as a tool for earthquake forecasting). It is my impression that the further back in time one goes, the effect of planetary transits to the natal positions of an event fades. The earthquakes in my database are prior to 1981, while the eclipses being considered are within about 2 years behind the forecast period. Over time, I've developed a notion that, if transit to natal positions of past earthquakes are to be used in any practical form, one should be looking at earthquakes no more than say the past three years and of a magnitude of approximately 1.5 less than the projected earthquake's. I still need to produce a database of such quakes within that time frame. I recently produced a data set of earthquakes (that were within my windows) of 6.8 magnitude or larger from 2004 to the present, but the results were disappointing. Next step is to look at earthquakes of 5.8 to 6.7 for the last 2 years, creating a database of over 150 events (within windows defined by astro-aspect values where they cluster together).
Below are the projected time periods and locations for significant earthquakes (defined as at least 6.5 in magnitude). A graphic display of how the astro and eclipse values unfold during May 2014 follows this list.
2014-5/2, 1000-2000UT, peak 1400UT, Tonga, Fiji, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Peru.
2014-5/5 0000UT - 2014-5/8 0000UT, peak 5/6 1200UT: Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Cuba, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic; peak 5/7 1800UT: Mexico, Philippines, Kuril Islands, China, Japan, Aleutian Islands, California.
2014-5/10 0600UT - 2014-5/12 1200UT, peak 5/11 1200UT: Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic.
2014-5/13 1500UT - 2014-5/15 1800UT, peak 5/14 1200UT: Fiji, Peru-Ecuador.
2014-5/19 1200UT - 2014-5/20 0600UT, peak 5/19 1800UT: New Zealand (or N. of there), Peru, Fiji, Tonga, Chile; peak 5/20 0000UT, Mexico, Cuba.
2014-5/20 2000UT - 2014-5/27 1500UT, peak 5/21 0000UT: Japan (or N. of there), W. coast of Canada, China, Philippines, Mexico, Turkey, Aleutian Islands; peak 5/27 0600UT: Japan, Fiji, China, Peru; peak 5/27 1200UT: New Zealand, Peru, Fiji.
© 2014 Joseph Ritrovato