The earthquakes are becoming more and more frequent across the world. According to experts, it is believed that a bigger catastrophe is headed our way.
An investigation into earthquake archive data has shown there has been a higher than average amount of earthquakes this month and they have intensified in frequency and strength.
Alarmingly, there have also been more major earthquakes of magnitude six or above. Anything of magnitude seven or more is classified as a potential natural disaster.
There has been more magnitude six or above earthquakes in the first 22 days of April than the whole of February and March combined.
In March and February, there were just seven and 10 respectively six or above quakes across the globe.
But from April 1 to today, there have been 22 – an average of one a day. And 13 of these struck in the last 12 days alone.
Twenty of the 22 major quakes in April were in and around the Pacific Ring of Fire, the most seismically active part of the globe, which also features scores of active volcanoes, many of which are currently erupting or on amber alert warnings.
This month two of the earthquakes have been above magnitude seven – last Friday’s scale seven one which rocked Kyushu in Japan, and Saturday’s 7.8 monster which hit Ecuador.
In April 2015 there were 15 earthquakes of this scale for the whole month, including the huge 7.8 magnitude quake which struck Nepal, killing hundreds.
Global earthquake archives show that the number of medium (magnitude four or above) quakes has also risen this month.
The bulk of these have been around the Ring of Fire and south Asia. At least 587 people were killed in Ecuador on Saturday, and 7,000 people injured.
More than 150 remain missing and more than 2,000 buildings were damaged, according to local reports.
Experts admit the past two weeks has been exceptional in terms of earthquakes. Some scientists fear a mega-earthquake, measuring more than 8.0, is scheduled to hit us every 400 to 600 years, and we are now long overdue one on this scale.
Research at the USGS into a phenomenon known as “remote triggering” — whereby an earthquake in one part of the world can cause one in another region – remains ongoing.
According to the journal Nature Geoscience there are also fears the April 2015 earthquake “failed to rupture the locked portions of the Himalayan thrust beneath and west of the Kathmandu basin because of some persistent barrier of mechanical and structural origin”.
The study added “consequently, the stress could be released by afterslip” which would leave the chance of the locked portion producing a further large earthquake. BK Rastogi, director general of the Ahmedabad-based Institute of Seismological Research, said: “An earthquake of the same magnitude is overdue.
But Mr Gibson is not among those convinced it is building up to something bigger.
He added: “In terms of worrying about whether it means an even bigger one somewhere else, I don’t think so.”
Wu Pak-cheuk, who heads the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Hong Kong, told TIME: “A correlation between the Japanese and Ecuadorian earthquakes was highly unlikely, because they are a little too far away, and not on the same tectonic plate.”