New Delhi, Nov 20: While the NASA may have debunked the theory that a planet called Nibiru (or Planet X) is about to destroy the Earth soon, scientists have predicted a far more scary and believable scenario.  The number of big earthquakes could increase in 2018 due to variations in the speed of Earth. Scientists say the fluctuation in Earth’s rotational speed could trigger intense seismic activities across the planet. The heavily populated tropical regions could be the worst hit, says a research paper tabled at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America.

“The correlation between Earth’s rotation and earthquake activity is strong and suggests there is going to be an increase in numbers of intense earthquakes next year,” Roger Bilham of University of Colorado, who presented the research paper along with Rebecca Bendick of the University of Montana, said.

What The Research Paper Revealed

“The Earth is offering us a five-year heads-up on future earthquakes,” Guardian quoted Roger Bilham, as saying. The experts studied the relationship between periods of major earthquakes and other factors and discovered that whenever Earth’s rotation had slowed down in the past, the period witnessed a substantial increase in seismic activities across the world.

“Next year we should see a significant increase in numbers of severe earthquakes. We have had it easy this year. So far we have only had about six severe earthquakes. We could easily have 20 a year starting in 2018,” Bilham said.

Bilham’s warning comes a few days after a 7.3 magnitude earthquake rattled Iran and Iraq killing over 400 people.


Warning for India

Scientists of Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG) had recently warned that a big tremor could hit the region sooner than expect. Scientists explained the Indian Plate is moving towards the Eurasian Plate at the speed of 45 mm/year causing immense pressure under the earth surface in the region.

The energy created beneath the Earth surface triggered the April 2015 quake and experts said there is high probability of more such high intensity tremors in coming years. Prior to the 2015 quake, the Himalayan region has experienced three big earthquakes during the past century – Nepal-Bihar (1934), upper Assam (in 1950) and Kangra, Himachal Pradesh (1905).

On April 25, 2015, a magnitude 7.9 quake wreaked havoc in the Himalayan country of Nepal. Nearly 9,000 people were killed and over 20,000 injured. Tremors were felt as far as New Delhi and other parts of northern and eastern India. The massive earthquake sent Nepal’s economy and infrastructure back by a few years. The Northern Himalayan region is considered to be one of the most active seismic region in the world. Scientists have repeatedly warned of possibility of catastrophic earthquakes in the region. According to a latest research, the world could witness severe quakes in 2018.

Timeline of Major Earthquakes in India, Asia:

April 25, 2015: An earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale strikes Lamjung district in Nepal.

November 23, 2014: A 6.3 magnitude quake hits China, killing at least two people.

November 23, 2014: Over 50 people were injured and about 10 houses collapsed after a 6.7-magnitude quake hit Japan.

May 5, 2014: An earthquake of 6.0 magnitude occurred in the Bay of Bengal and tremors were felt across India.

September 25, 2013: A 7.7-magnitude quake hit Pakistan’s remote south-west province of Balochistan killed over 300 people.

April 20, 2013: A quake of 6.6 magnitude hit a remote mountainous area of southwestern China’s Sichuan province, killing around 150 people and injuring several people.

September 20, 2011: At least 68 people died and over 300 were injured in a quake of 6.8 magnitude that struck Sikkim.

September 22, 2009: A high-magnitude earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale killed at least 10 people in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan and left dozens more injured.

October 8, 2005: The magnitude 7.6 earthquake killed at least 86,000 people, injured more than 69,000 and caused extensive damage in northern Pakistan.

December 26, 2004: A quake of powerful 9.3 magnitude on the Richter Scale triggered a massive Tsunami hitting countries in the Asia Pacific region, killing over 2 lakh people.

January 26, 2001: A massive earthquake measuring 7.7 on the Richter scale hit the town of Bhuj in Gujarat, killing over 10,000 people.