Written by Staff Writer
18 Nov, 2013 | 10:57 am
One of the largest earthquakes of 2013 to date struck on 17 November in the south of the Atlantic Ocean.
At magnitude 7.8 (M7.8) the Scotia Sea tremor is approximately the same size as the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906 (which had an estimated magnitude of around M7.9) which the United States Geological Survey describes as ‘one of the most significant earthquakes of all time.’
Despite its size, the Scotia Sea earthquake has attracted little media attention and is unlikely to do so. What makes earthquakes newsworthy is their human impact.
This quake took place in a remote area (the closest inhabited land is almost 1500 km distant) which means that there is no immediate direct impact on human populations.
A secondary impact of major submarine earthquakes is, of course, tsunamis: but at the time of writing no agency has reported a tsunami, and world meteorologists arnt expecting any reports of a tsunami as the result of this quake due to the nature of the faulting.
According to meteorologists, geological phenomena generate tsunamis when they displace large volumes of seawater laterally, or in a side-to-side motion. Earthquakes are the primary cause of tsunamis, but other mechanisms such as landslides could have the same effect. In this case, because there was no vertical movement, the quake could generate no large-scale tsunami, and any local tsunami would have disappeared before reaching land.
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