The awful death and destruction caused by the earthquake in Haiti reminds us once again that we are very vulnerable to seismic disasters. And it reminds us that earthquakes are one of the Signs of the Times that Jesus mentioned.
- Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. – Matthew 24:7-8
Ever since the monstrous 9.1 magnitude earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia in 2004, people have had a heightened awareness of the danger of seismic activity. That year, the great tsunami claimed 227,898 lives.
According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), more than a million earthquakes occur in the world each year, but many go undetected because they occur in remote areas or have very small magnitudes. The number of major earthquakes has been relatively stable during the past two decades– an average of 17 per year with a magnitude 7.0 or greater.
Prophecy students debate whether or not there really is an increase in seismic activity in our times. From some perspectives it certainly seems that there is, but scientists remind us that this could also be caused by better methods of measuring and reporting of events.
However, there are actually some new causes for earthquakes in our generation! By 2008 scientists were claiming that man-made earthquakes would be a problem. We have always wondered if nuclear tests could trigger quakes. But even if it turns out that these blasts donâ€™t cause tremors, there are at least five other ways that man-made activity may cause earthquakes: by building dams, by injecting water into the ground (disposal, geo-thermal power), by mining vast amounts of coal, by draining oil wells dry, and by building super-tall buildings.
Last year, scientists in China and the United States blamed a 2008 earthquake that killed at least 80,000 people in Sichuan on construction of the 511 ft-high Zipingpu Dam, which lies just 550 yards from the fault line, and three miles from the epicenter of the earthquake. They believe that the weight of water, and the penetration of water into the rock, could have affected the pressure on the fault line underneath.
In 2004 a now-infamous geothermal project in Basel, Switzerland drilled three miles into Earth’s crust. The project set off a magnitude 3.4 earthquake that affected the whole town and caused the operation to be shut down entirely.
The Bible also teaches that the worst earthquakes ever will accompany the Battle of Armageddon.
- Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. The great city split into three parts and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. Every Island fled away and the mountains could not be found. -Revelation 16:18-20