A Few Comments, April 3, 2011:
The original article discussed Christ's answer to the apostle's question, "Tell us, when shall these
things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" (Matt. 24:3). He
answered, "Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines,
and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows." (Matt.
The removed article said that the rising of nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom had been
fulfilled by WWI and WWII. Among others, the Great Chinese Famine which killed between 17 and 43
million people from 1958 to 1961 fulfilled the end time famines. The emergence of drug resistant
diseases and the billion people now chronically short of food (and therefore vulnerable to infectious
disease) fulfill Christ's prophecy of pestilence. The rise in earthquakes fulfilled Christ's prophecy of
I was so horrified when I realized that I had used incorrect figures in the article that I deleted all copies.
Then I took another look at the figures for a century of earthquakes that I found on the United States
Geological Survey website. The website claimed that from 1900 to the present, the average number of
major earthquakes (magnitude of 7.0 or over) was 16 per year. (USGS website, Earthquake Facts And
Statistics). The first four categories of the chart are reproduced below:
Earthquake Facts and Statistics
Frequency of Occurrence of Earthquakes
Magnitude Average Annually
8 and higher 1 ¹
7 - 7.9 15 ¹
6 - 6.9 134 ²
5 - 5.9 1319 ²
¹ Based on observations since 1900.
These numbers have been recently updated, based on data from the Centennial catalog (from 1900 to
1999) and the PDE (since 2000).
² Based on observations since 1990.
Because I had researched incidents of dam building and oil and gas drilling that caused major
earthquakes, I did not believe that there had been no increase in major earthquakes over the last
century. The first 100 years of earthquake figures were taken from the Centennial catalog (see footnote
1 of the chart, also note that the PDE is a USGS monthly bulletin with the last decade's earthquake
The Centennial catalog is Chapter 41 of a book. (Engdahl, E.R., and A. Villaseñor, Global Seismicity:
1900-1999, International Handbook of Earthquake and Engineering Seismology, Part A, Chapter 41, pp.
665-690, Academic Press, 2002.) I printed a copy of the chapter from the USGS website for an in depth
What I found was apples and oranges summed and averaged. As any smart 5th grader will tell you, you
can't average apples and oranges and get meaningful data. The United States Geological Survey owes
you an apology for misusing the Centennial catalog figures. Because the USGS is made up of scientists,
I think the misinterpretation of the Centennial catalog figures must be deliberate. (Scientists are not
careless or stupid.) You probably won't get an apology.
There are several comments in the chapter that suggest that the data should not be used without
interpretation. The modern period of earthquake monitoring began in 1964. (Ibid, p. 666).
"Although earthquakes have been instrumentally recorded for more than 100 years, source parameters
(locations, magnitudes, and focal mechanisms) before the full implementation of the World-Wide
Standardized Seismograph Network (WWSSN) are in general poorly known." (Ibid, pp. 666). As a result,
scholarly estimates of the magnitude of historic earthquakes have varied from book to book.
"Because of the different magnitude scales used, the magnitudes in the resulting catalog are very
heterogeneous (variable). In order to evaluate the completeness of the catalog and to establish a
cut-off magnitude and select the earthquakes above that cutoff, all magnitudes must be corrected and
reduced to a common reference magnitude scale." (Ibid, pp. 667). After a page of charts, the paragraph
ends with: "The magnitudes listed in the catalog are the uncorrected values from the original sources."
(Ibid, pp. 669).
After the charts, the authors revisit the issue of differing estimates of the magnitudes of historic
earthquakes. Then they add: "Moreover, it was impossible to match the seismicity rates of the historical
period to those of the modern period without making a reduction in the older magnitudes of about 0.2
units." (Ibid, pp. 687).
In summation: the authors knew that the catalog they produced had many earthquakes that were
overestimated, they left corrections to their readers. But the USGS used the figures without correction,
thereby distorting the pattern of earthquakes over the decades and overstating the average number of
earthquakes over the last 110 years.
It would seem that 0.2 magnitude would not cause much change in the figures. But it does. I removed all
the magnitude 7.0 and 7.1 earthquakes from the catalog in the historical period (1900 to 1963), because I
assumed that they were really magnitude 6.8 and 6.9. From 1964 to 1976, I removed the same
earthquakes if their magnitude determination was made using historical methods. In this period, I
retained all magnitude 7.0 and 7.1 earthquakes rated using modern methods. From 1976 to 1999, I
retained all earthquakes, because they were all evaluated using modern methods. The figures are
DECADE CENTENNIAL CATALOG MY FIGURES
1900 to 1909 149 86
1910 to 1919 185 114
1920 to 1929 153 67
1930 to 1939 171 78
1940 to 1949 194 93
1950 to 1959 139 85
1960 to 1969 135 107
1970 to 1979 156 139
1980 to 1989 116 116
1990 to 1999 155 155
2000 to 2009 (PDE) 144 144
2010 (PDE) 22 22
Totals 1719 1206
Average (111 years) 15.4 10.9
My figures show a slow increase in the number of earthquakes that corresponds with the
industrialization of the planet. Note that the first bump in my figures occurs in 1910 to 1919, the decade
of World War I and the mass produced automobile. There was a world wide race to find oil. The second
bump occurs in 1940 to 1949, the decade of World War II. The third bump (actually a jump) occurs in 1960
to 1969, the decade which began with the formation of OPEC and the Cold War. The fourth bump occurs
in 1970 to 1979, the decade of the oil embargo. The last bump occurs in 1990 to 1999, hydraulic
fracturing and horizontal drilling on old and new wells began at the start of this decade.
Based on the early results of scientists now studying man made earthquakes and the bumps in my
figures, I think there is a causative connection between oil drilling and earthquakes. I believe that
hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling cause more earthquakes than old style drilling for several
Horizontal drilling affects a longer area of the earth than vertical drilling. Hydraulic fracturing, the
process of forcing liquids into the ground to breakup underground rock layers, affects a wider area
than traditional drilling. Further, the weight of the ground near the well is increased by the pressurized
liquids, then decreased as oil or gas is pumped out. Finally, liquids in faults tend to cause earthquakes
and the length of the fractures caused by hydraulic fracturing can not be completely controlled.
Who has the power to make the USGS hide the increase in major earthquakes over the last century?
Perhaps the answer is the industry that causes some of them.
Amo Paul Bishop Roden
PS: For a recent article also linking earthquakes and fracking, see: