Seismic Activity Increases on the Pacific Rim; Scientists Monitor for Precursors to Major Quake on US-Mexico Pacific Coast
January 25, 2012 • 5:26AM

Amidst an apparently renewed pattern of quake activity on the Pacific Rim of Fire, a number of scientists are watching with concern for potential precursors that indicate a threat of a 'mega-quake' in the Mexico-United States Pacific border area, in the time frame of the next 7 to 10 days. The LPAC Basement science team is closely investigating this situation.

The Schmidt Institute of Physics of the Earth (IPE) in Moscow, issued a report over this past weekend, that warns that the 6.2-magnitude earthquake that struck the Chiapas region of Mexico Saturday (centered southwest off the coast, Jan. 21, 41 miles deep), is a "potential precursor" to a mega-quake of at least 7.5 to 8.3 magnitude, that could hit soon in the Mexico-U.S. Pacific border zone.

The IPE took the Chiapas quake into consideration with many other seismic events, including, for example, a Jan. 18 quake of 4.1 magnitude, which hit the Mexican Baja peninsula, and several others of certain locations and times. It has been noted that there are heightened atmospheric temperatures present associated with the Chiapas and other quakes, which would not "normally" be expected to occur.

In addition, the IPE report points out that there are grounds for more concern, given that a 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit northern Baja California on April 4, 2010, which was the first big earthquake to occur on this particular fault system since 1892, and it links Mexico's seismic zone to California's massive fault system, thus pointing to a "reawakening" of this region's potential for catastrophic seismic/volcanic occurences.

The IPE report states that their conclusions have been confirmed by their using the latest information obtained from the Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite operated by NASA and available for viewing.

It is noted that heating of the atmosphere — extreme heating, or rapid heating — above earthquake zones is now believed to be an accurate predictor of major earthquake activity as was documented prior to the Great Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011. Before the March 11 quake struck, the total electron content in a part of the upper atmosphere, called the ionosphere, increased dramatically over the earthquake's epicenter, reaching a maximum three days before the quake struck.

Another warning comes from forecaster Jim Berkland, about the likelihood of a 7- or greater-magnitude quake for this general Pacific-coast border area by the end of the month.

LPAC maintains a current look-up page on "Latest Earthquake Activity" (from the US Geological Survey) in the Weather section. You can see that up until about a week ago, the situation was relatively quiet. Then the pace and intensity of activity exploded, with incidents in the Aleutians, Mexico, Chile, the Caribbean, and around the Rim.