A mag 6.3 – 107km SSE of Dostyq, Kazakhstan is the second major quake of August and the 56th of 2017
Green alert for shaking-related fatalities and economic losses. There is a low likelihood of casualties and damage.
Graph Gary Walton; click to enlarge.
It’s the second smallest total in almost 40 years from January to August, 2017 has witnessed major quakes dropping off the cliff altogether and we could be heading to the lowest total in decades, which is extremely interesting when you consider major quakes have increased by over 450% since 1900.
And before some of you scream conspiracy, or USGS are cooking the books the overall average for the same period is 86, which would require USGS to have hidden more than 30 major quakes which is not possible, major quakes are too powerful to hide.
So what is causing the decline? I have no idea but I would like to point you toward volcano activity which also appears to have decreased this year dramatically with only 13 confirmed eruptions up to May 23rd this year, not quite on the scale of the major quake decrease but never the less down on other years.
We are approaching a solar minimum,.
The sun is heading into a period known as solar minimum, during which activity at the surface will ‘change form.’ In this time, certain types of activity, such as sunspots and solar flares will drop – but, it’s also expected to bring the development of long-lived phenomena including coronal holes. According to NASA, solar minimum could also enhance the effects of space weather, potentially disrupting communications and navigation systems.
The sun follows roughly an 11-year cycle.
While sunspots were relatively high back in 2014, they’re now heading toward a low point expected in 2019-2020, according to NASA.
Does space weather effect quakes and volcano activity on Earth, of course it does and it’s clear to see on the graph above major quakes of decreased since 2014 but is this the result in the drop off of sunspots, I can’t say, time will tell what is happening and lets hope it’s not the calm before the storm.