A number of prophecy teachers say that a pronounced increase in frequency and intensity of earthquakes has occurred in the latter part of the twentieth century, a worldwide trend fulfilling a prophecy made by Jesus. Contrary to these prophecy teachers, no obvious trend is found indicating an abnormal increase in the frequency of large earthquakes during the last half of the twentieth century. Neither is there a noteworthy deficiency of earthquakes in the first half of the century. Graphical plots of global earthquake frequency indicate overall a decreasing frequency of earthquakes through the century. The decades of the 1970s, 80s and 90s experienced a deficit of larger earthquakes compared to earlier decades of the century.
As has been warned for over six years in anticipation of the coming changes in 2012, the earthquakes are becoming much more violent. The frequency and intensity of the quakes are increasing, the death tolls are rising, property damage is mounting and the impact on the world’s already unstable economy is being pushed to unmanageable limits.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) there are literally thousands of earthquake events around the world in any given year. Most of these quakes are minor trimmers that are seemingly insignificant and pose no danger to life or property. Although these events are monitored and tracked as potential warning signs of much larger quakes, they are not prominently displayed on the USGS website.
The USGS website does however keep a running list of what they consider “Significant Earthquake”. This list is made up of quake activity that measures 3.0 or higher on the Richter magnitude scale. After an evaluation of these earthquake statistics, the results are somewhat startling.
In the year 2008, there were 58 significant earthquake events around the world. Conservatively considering that a 7.0 magnitude or higher quake could dramatically effect human life, 12 of the 2008 events were at or above 7.0.
In 2009, there were 72 quakes classified as significant with 17 measuring 7.0 or higher.
In 2009, there were 72 quakes classified as significant with 17 measuring 7.0 or higher.
Although the number of significant earthquake events decreased to 68 in 2010, the number of 7.0 or higher magnitude quakes increased to 22.
Less then three months into the year 2011, we have already seen 18 significant earthquake events. Of that 18 and including the recent earthquake in Japan, 6 have been classified as 7.0 or higher.
Although there has been an obvious increase in the number of 7.0+ magnitude earthquakes over the last three years, the steady increase in the intensity of 8.0 or higher quakes and the effects they are having on the earth is even more frightening.
In September 2009 there was an 8.1 magnitude earthquake in the Samoa Islands. In February 2010 Chile experienced an 8.8, and the March 2011 earthquake in Japan had a magnitude of 8.9 which was determined to be the largest quake in Japan’s recorded history, and the 7th largest in recorded world history.
The dramatic increase in intensity of these last three 8.0+ quakes has not only proven to be the most devastating in terms of loss in life and property, but has literally shifted the earth’s avis.
If statistics are any indication, we can be assured that the next 9.0 or higher earthquake is just around the corner, and all signs point to the United States as the next target.
It’s not a matter of “if” anymore, it’s now a matter of “when”.
The 70s, 80s and 90s are precisely those decades that many prophecy teachers suppose, erroneously, show a dramatic surplus of larger earthquakes. Regional earthquake data from California and Japan also do not argue for increasing earthquake frequency in the latter decades of our century.
At the time of Christ the Jews had a heightened anticipation that wars, famines, pestilence and earthquakes communicated signs having apocalyptic significance. Jesus responded to apocalyptic expectations in the Olivet Discourse. Whether one interprets Matthew 24:4-14 as (1) events which will occur during the tribulation period, or (2) general signs of the present age, there is no clear scriptural warrant for the claim that earthquakes will increase dramatically prior to the return of Christ. In the former interpretation, these earthquakes would be part of the tribulation period and so of little significance for any increase in earthquakes during the present Church age. In the latter interpretation, earthquakes are seen as recurring catastrophic events common to the present age - events that must not be misinterpreted as "signs" of an immediate end. It is ironic that a passage that intentionally teaches that earthquakes are not indicators of the "end of the age" should be so frequently interpreted as teaching exactly the opposite.
Jesus' statement, "all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs" (Matt. 24:8), has been misunderstood to imply that pain would increase steadily in time. The birth image associated with such signs does not point (necessarily) to an increase in pain with time. Paul's understanding of creation's pain (Romans 8:18-25) is not that pain will grow steadily worse, but that the present period of suffering provokes eager longing for the new birth and the consummation of the coming age. The author of Hebrews sees a similar hope, not in anticipating a future "sign" of increasing earthquake activity, but in the coming of a sudden cosmic cataclysm producing a "kingdom which cannot be shaken" (Heb. 12:28).
|Earthquakes today are now occurring in even greater frequency and intensity, and amazingly enough are quickly moving across the entire globe itself. On February 27th, 2010, the Isle of Chile experienced a horrific earthquake of its own, measuring on the Richter scale an 8.8. This massive earthquake, thereafter triggered warnings and alarms of a possibe tsunami potentially racing towards Hawaii and smaller islands as well as even the Western Pacific Seaboard of America, threatening and displacing hundreds of thousands in the wake of its aftermath. |
Jesus WARNED us of such occurrences in the Holy Scriptures. In the Gospel of St. Matthew 24:7, Jesus prophesied and spoke of the very things we are currently witnessing, and NOW with even greater frequency TODAY. He says, "nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be FAMINES, and PESTILENCES, and EARTHQUAKES, in several and various places."
So what does it all mean...the increase in wars, the gross famines, escalation of disease and plagues, and the frequency of earthquakes? Well according to the Bible, it is the indicator light that we are nearing or very close to the time of Jesus' return (read entire Chapter Matthew 24). So how do I know? Well even Jesus' disciples asked prior to the above prediction in Matthew 24:30, "Tell us what shall be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the world?"
Furthermore, Jesus himself categorizes earthquakes in various places as one of the primary signs of his return, and refers to it as what would be "the beginning of sorrows" (Greek word birth pains). So what we should be doing is of even greater importance to ask ourselves? I would say to make ourselves ready for what lies beyond this present world and life, and all of its unpleasantness. That is, to live each day ready and in the light of Jesus' return and ETERNITY!
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Furthermore, at the time of writing this report, the death toll of human lives is unknown. Nevertheless as televised, the grave devastation remains certain, as buildings and homes lay toppled down, and the broken dreams of residents now in a state of ruins.What does it mean?
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|Figure 1. Global frequency of the largest earthquakes during the twentieth century. Graph (a) shows the frequency of M ³ 7.0 earthquakes during the entire century (1960 events). Graph (b) shows the frequency of M ³ 6.5 earthquakes after 1930 (4593 events). In both plots a general decrease in earthquake frequency is evident through the twentieth century.|
|Table 1. Numbers of M ³ 6.0 earthquakes worldwide in the twentieth century. The numbers of earthquakes reported in the National Geophysical Data Center file called "1900.EQ" greatly exceed those reported by Hal Lindsey from his unspecified U.S. Geological Survey source.|
Has an unusual increase in the frequency of big earthquakes afflicted civilizations in the last decades of the twentieth century? Is the supposed global increase in big earthquakes a fulfillment of prophetic statements concerning the “end of the age” made by Jesus? Contrary to the opinions of many prophecy teachers, global and regional earthquake data argue that big earthquakes have been decreasing in frequency through the twentieth century. Moreover, no clear scriptural warrant exists for the notion that earthquakes will increase in frequency just before the tribulation period and the return of Christ. Earthquakes of the present “church age” serve as reminders of creation’s present pain. A future cosmic shakedown will give birth suddenly to “a kingdom that cannot be shaken.”
- Hal Lindsey, Apocalypse Code (Palos Verdes, CA: Western Front Ltd., 1997), p. 296. The term "killer quake" is not defined. See also Hal Lindsey, Planet Earth 2000 A.D. (Palos Verdes, CA: Western Front Ltd., revised edition, 1996), p. 85, where Lindsey says these statistics refer to earthquakes of magnitude 6.0 and greater. Lindsey has been writing about the twentieth century increase of earthquakes for almost 30 years. See his book The Late Great Planet Earth (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1970), p. 52, that sold over 20 million copies.
- Lindsey, Planet Earth 2000 A.D., p. 86. Table 1 lists Lindsey's earthquake statistics.
- Lindsey's citation here is suspicious. Though he claims to be using a USGS source, his endnote (p. 105) refers only to the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, May 22, 1984. One wonders how a newspaper published early in 1984 could provide data for an increase in earthquakes in the 1980s and 1990s.
- Chuck Missler and Mark Eastman, Alien Encounters (Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, Koinonia House, 1997), pp. 170-172. On page 170 the authors say: "In the last 100 years there has been a dramatic increase in the frequency and intensity of earthquakes worldwide." Jack Van Impe, "News about Natural Phenomena: Killer Earthquakes on the Rise," May 1997 Intelligence Briefing at website:http://www.jvim.com/ib/1997/04/nature.ht
- Grant R. Jeffrey, Prince of Darkness (Toronto: Frontier Research Publications, 1994), pp. 310, 311. Jeffrey gives no information on how a copy of this report can be obtained (author, date, report name, and location). Furthermore, the numbers from Jeffrey's USGS source differ slightly from Lindsey's USGS source. Which is the better USGS source? Jeffrey repeats these statistics in his later books The Signature of God (Toronto: Frontier Research Publications, 1996) p. 194, and Armageddon: Appointment with Destiny (Toronto: Frontier Research Publications, revised edition, 1997), pp. 251, 252. In Armageddon (p. 252) Jeffrey is very confident in his earthquake statistics: "Anyone who examines the record of massive increases in earthquakes in our century must acknowledge that this is extremely unusual. The increase is unprecedented in recorded human history and, in light of the Bible's prophecies, these statistics provide incontrovertible evidence that we are living in the last days.
- J. R. Church, "Riders of Revelation 6, Mount Up!," in William T. James, Foreshocks of Antichrist (Eugene, Harvest House, 1997), p. 336: "Nevertheless, when one looks at modern records, one invariably sees a steady increase in earthquake activity, ranging across the spectrum from large events to small tremors.
- Gary Stearman, "Are Earthquakes on the Increase?" Prophecy in the News 16 (June 1996): pp. 3-5. These are the numbers cited by Lindsey.
- We searched the archive of the Philadelphia Inquirer on July 22, 1998 on the Internet at URL: http://www.phillynews.com. We searched all earthquake articles of the 1990s through June 1998.
- Gary Stearman, "Earthquakes Are Indeed on the Increase," Prophecy in the News 16 (October 1996): pp. 27, 28.
- John Hagee, Beginning of the End (Nashville, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1996), p. 193.
- Hagee, Beginning of the End, p. 193.
- Hagee, Beginning of the End, p. 193. Hagee, Beginning of the End, p. 98, "…the number of earthquakes recorded has risen from 2,588 in 1983 to 4,084 in 1992." Here Hagee has committed a serious error by citing the "No Magnitude" row in the National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC) worldwide seismic frequency table. He supposes erroneously that the "No Magnitude" row is the total number of earthquakes that have been located globally for both of the years. The NEIC "Preliminary Determination of Epicenters" database (PDE) for 1983 locates 9,842 events globally (2,588 events with no magnitude data given), and that database for 1992 locates 19,548 events globally (4,084 events with no magnitude data given). The apparent doubling of earthquake frequency from 1983 to 1992 is caused by significant improvement by 1992 in the detection and location of magnitude less than 5.0 earthquakes. For magnitude greater than or equal to 5.0, the PDE locates 1813 events in the year 1983, but locates only 1668 events in 1992. For magnitude greater than or equal to 6.0, the PDE locates 140 events in 1983, but locates only 127 events in 1992. The data might better argue for decreasing frequency with time, contrary to the conclusion of Hagee. The above numbers were obtained on december 28, 1998 by going to the NEIC files on the Internet at: http://wwwneic.cr.usgs.gov and then going to the NEIC-PDE data using the "Search Earthquake Data Base" function. The earthquake data file cited by Hagee contains the cautionary statement, "As more and more seismographs are installed in the world, more earthquakes can be and have been located." See the summary NEIC-PDE data file at:http://wwwneic.cr.usgs.gov/neis/eqlists/
eqstats.html which closely resembles the source of Hagee's numbers. Therefore, our analysis shows Hagee's argument for increased earthquake frequency in the 1990s to be seriously flawed. Charles Capps in End-times Events-Journey to the End of the Age (Tulsa, Harrison House, 1997) commits a similar error by citing the much-increased lower-magnitude location ability within the most recent NEIC data: "A recent U.S.G.S. report shows there were 4,139 earthquakes in 1970 -and 19,996 in 1996." Capps concludes, "...earthquakes are definitely on the increase." (p. 13).
- Peter and Paul Lalonde, 301 Startling Proofs & Prophecies (Niagara Falls, ONT: Prophecy Partners Inc., 1996), p. 248. The Lalonde earthquake frequency numbers have been widely quoted in popular publications. For example, we found the above Lalonde quote reprinted in Daymond R. Duck, Revelation: God's Word for the Biblically-Inept (Lancaster, PA: Starburst Publishers, 1998), p. 242. The Lalonde statistics were rephrased by Jack Van Impe, "Last Days: Hype or Hope?," Perhaps Today (September, October 1996), viewed on August 20, 1998 on the Internet at:http://220.127.116.11/PerhapsToday/SeptO
ct1996/last.html. Van Impe says: "In Matthew 24, Jesus predicted such fearful signs just before His return. He said they would be like birth pangs - increasing in frequency and intensity as the time of the end drew near.... From 1900 through 1969, a 70-year period, there were only 48 quakes of 6.5 magnitude or greater. But from July 1990 through 1992, a three-year period, there were 133 great quakes!" For other statements about the apocalyptic increase of earthquakes in the 1990s see David Allen Lewis Signs of His Coming (Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Press, 1997): "…there have been more earthquakes in the last 50 years than in the previous 1,500 years." (p. 24). Lester Sumrall, "Famines, Pestilence, Earthquakes, as Man Rebels," in Bob Anderson et al., Earth's Final Days (Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Press, 1995), p. 68 says: "In this century, there have been more earthquakes than all the rest of history put together…. Every 10 years, earthquakes double in number, and so it has been for the last 10 decades. During the later part of this decade, earthquakes will occur with increasing regularity, creating terror and panic throughout the world. Jesus said that was one of the signs of His coming." If earthquakes are increasing so rapidly in the 1990s, then what is there to prevent Christ's return? Therefore, in Larry Wilson, The Revelation of Jesus (Brushton, NY: Teach Services, 1992), p. 1, we find the former Seventh-day Adventist pastor predicting four global earthquakes beginning about 1994 and ending in 1998 with the Second Coming of Christ.
- For a recent survey of thinking on earthquakes and other natural disasters as apocalyptic signs see Richard Abanes, End-time Visions: The Road to Armageddon? (Nashville, Broadman & Holman, 1998), 428 p. For a review of authors before the 1990s who advocated the increase in frequency and intensity of twentieth-century earthquakes see the chapter "Earthquakes and Historical Facts" in Carl O. Jonsson and Wolfgang Herbst, The "Sign" of the Last Days - When? (Atlanta: Commentary Press, 1987), pp. 46-87.
- Interested researchers can investigate the Council of the National Seismic System (CNSS) composite catalog on the Internet at URL:http://quake.geo.berkeley.edu/cnss.
- O. J. Perez and C. H. Scholz, "Heterogeneities of the Instrumental Seismicity Catalog (1904-1980) for Strong Shallow Earthquakes," Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America 74 (1984): p. 685.
- An incident illustrates why earthquake catalogs need to be checked carefully for completeness. In 1997 we consulted the "Worldwide Earthquake Catalog" maintained by the Council of the National Seismic System (CNSS) for seismic events of the 1990s. The CNSS "Worldwide Earthquake Catalog" was examined at Internet URL:http://quake.geo.berkeley.edu/cnss on december 28, 1997. Because this is a composite database assembled from the records of the thirty member organizations, we might assume it to be a "complete" catalog. However, when we consulted records maintained by CNSS member organizations, we found them to include earthquakes not in the composite database. We even found many earthquakes of the early 1990s with M ³ 7.0 that were not in the composite database. The lesson is obvious: careful study must be conducted before an earthquake catalog can be said to be "complete." It takes a deliberate process to make a "complete" catalog.
- T. M. Tsapanos and P. W. Burton, "Seismic Hazard Evaluation for Specific Seismic Regions of the World," Tectonophysics 194 (1991): p. 154.
- Tsapanos and Burton, "Seismic Hazard Evaluation for Specific Seismic Regions of the World," p. 154.
- K. Abe, "Complements to 'Magnitudes of Large Shallow Earthquakes from 1904 to 1980'," Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors 34 (1984): pp. 17-23.
- For an excellent summary of earthquake magnitude scales see W. Spence, S. A. Sipkin and G. L. Choy, "Measuring the Size of an Earthquake," Earthquakes and Volcanoes 21 (1989): pp. 58-63. The paper has been posted on the Internet at URL:http://wwwneic.cr.usgs.gov/neis/general/
- An Internet site with National Earthquake Information Center databases and summary files is open to the public. The Internet URL for the NEIC home page ishttp://wwwneic.cr.usgs.gov.
- The Internet site at URL http://wwwneic.cr.usgs.gov/neis/eqlists/
7up.html contains the summary data listing
- National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, Seismicity Catalog (Boulder, CO: National Geophysical Data Center, 1996), two volumes on CD-ROM disks. A description and current updates to the "Worldwide Earthquake Database" and its Seismicity Catalog are maintained on the Internet.
- The file "1900.EQ" is part of the global NGDC "Seismicity Catalog" on CD-ROM. The data file has not been screened rigorously for duplicate events below magnitude 6.5, and some of the events of lower magnitude, which normally might be supposed to be aftershocks or foreshocks, are likely duplicated listings. Therefore, the data file "1900.EQ" probably overestimates the frequency of magnitude 6.0 events globally.
- K. Abe, "Magnitudes of Large Shallow Earthquakes from 1904 to 1980," Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors 27(1981): pp. 72-92. K. Abe and S. Noguchi, "Determination of Magnitude for Large Shallow Earthquakes 1898-1917," Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors 32 (1983): pp. 45-59. K. Abe and S. Noguchi, "Revision of Magnitudes of Large Shallow Earthquakes, 1897-1912," Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors 33 (1983): pp. 1-11. K. Abe, "Complements to 'Magnitudes of Large Shallow Earthquakes from 1904 to 1980'," Physics of Earth and Planetary Interiors 34 (1984): pp. 17-23.
- K. Abe and H. Kanamori, "Temporal Variation of the Activity of Intermediate and Deep Focus Earthquakes," Journal of Geophysical Research 84 (1979): pp. 3589-3595.
- J. F. Pacheco and L. R. Sykes, "Seismic Moment Catalog of Large Shallow Earthquakes, 1900 to 1989," Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America 82 (1992): pp. 1306-1349.
- T. M. Tsapanos, E. M. Scordilis and B. C. Papazachos, "A Homogeneous and Complete Catalog for World's Great Earthquakes Covering the Time Period 1898-1985," Publication of the University of Thessaloniki, Geophysics Laboratory (1988): p. 182.
- The NGDC statistics come from the file "1900.EQ" contained in volume 2 of the CD-ROM called "Seismicity Catalog" issued in 1996 jointly by the NGDC and the NEIC. Anyone wishing to evaluate completeness of earthquake statistics globally for M ³ 6.0 cited by prophecy teachers should consult this file. The file is in ASCII code that can be read by any word processor and imported into a spread sheet. Because the file "1900.EQ" is not copyrighted, the authors can make a copy available on floppy disk to anyone requesting it.
- Abe and Kanamori, "Temporal Variation of the Activity of Intermediate and Deep Focus Earthquakes." J. Xanthakis, "Possible Periodicities of the Annually Released Global Seismic Energy (M ³ 7.9) during the Period 1898-1971," Tectonophysics 81 (1982): pp. T7-T14. Y. Ogata and K. Abe, "Some Statistical Features of the Long-Term Variation of the Global and Regional Seismic Activity," International Statistical Review 59 (1991): pp. 139-161. I. Liritzis and T. M. Tsapanos, "Probable Evidence for Periodicities in Global Seismic Energy Release," Earth, Moon, and Planets 60 (1993): pp. 93-108. Y. Ogata and K. Katsura, "Analysis of Temporal and Spatial Heterogeneity of Magnitude Frequency Distribution Inferred from Earthquake Catalogues," Geophysical Journal International 113 (1993): pp. 727-738.
- Researchers suggest the inhomogeneity of earthquakes may be related to some type of internal global fluctuation within the earth, perhaps a variation in the large-scale motion of the earth. Could a slight wobble during the earth's rotation correlate with the inhomogeneous data? Is there occasional chaotic motion within the earth's liquid outer core that correlates with earthquakes in the crust? Earthquake frequency cycles appear to be real, but the cause remains speculative. An observer might say it is like monitoring birth pangs. When will the next ones come? How long will we have to wait? The observed earthquake frequency pattern is consistent with creationist ideas suggesting overall exponentially declining tectonism and volcanism following a recent geologic upheaval such as Noah's Flood. The data may present a problem for the skeptic of the doctrine of Creation and the opponent to the reality of Noah's Flood. Such a uniformitarian skeptic would want to say, "everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation" (2 Peter 3:4 NIV). The skeptic might not want to acknowledge such a declining pattern over time.
- M. Zirbes, "Are Earthquakes Really on the Increase?" National Earthquake Information Center Web site Documents (Denver, CO: United States Geological Survey, updated 14 October 1997). This document was viewed in december 1997 at URL: http://web.archive.org/web/2005121519462
- Lindsey, Planet Earth 2000 A.D., p. 88.
- Lindsey, Planet Earth 2000 A.D., p. 88.
- Lindsey, Planet Earth 2000 A.D., p. 89. "By selectively manipulating the criteria used to determine a 'major quake,' the USGS can effectively argue against any increase in seismic activity." Lindsey's assertion of selective manipulation is demonstrated to be incorrect by data displayed in Figure 1b.
- Lindsey's statistics for M ³ 6.0 earthquakes in Table 1 come from Planet Earth 2000 A.D., p.85,86.
- Jeffrey, Prince of Darkness, pp. 310, 311, and Jeffrey, Armageddon: Appointment with Destiny, pp. 251, 252
- Stearman, "Are Earthquakes on the
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