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As World Turns More Slowly, We Face Earthquake Boom, Scientists Warn

科学家警告,随着地球自转变慢,我们将面临频繁地震
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More powerful earthquakes could rock the globe in 2018 because of infinitesimal changes in the speed of the Earth’s rotation, scientists warn.

科学家警告,由于地球自转速度的细微变化,2018年世界可能面临更多强震。

It seems contradictory, but a minuscule slowing of the Earth’s rotation over years, which can extend the length of a day by a millisecond or more, appears to be linked to an increase in major quakes. 

这似乎是自相矛盾的,然而地球自转速度在几年里的微小减慢,会使得每天的长度延长一毫秒或更多,大地震频率的增加似乎与之有关。

Roger Bilham of the University of Colorado and Rebecca Bendick of the University of Montana say that historical data since 1900 clearly reveal a “strong” link between major global earthquake activity and a slight slowing of the Earth’s rotation for five or six years. That has occurred approximately every 32 years. If that pattern continues, the number of powerful quakes in the coming year could triple, according to the researchers.

科罗拉多大学的Roger Bilham和蒙大拿州大学的Rebecca Bendick称,1900年以来的历史数据明确显示,全球重大地震活动与地球自转速度在5、6年时间内的轻微减缓之间存在着“强有力”的联系。这种情况大约每32年发生一次。根据两位研究者的说法,如果这种模式持续下去,那么明年大地震次数可能增加至三倍。

“On five occasions in the past century, a 25 [to] 30 percent increase in annual numbers of  earthquakes [of a magnitude 7.0 or greater] has coincided with a slowing in the mean rotation velocity of the earth,” the scientists noted in a research abstract. They presented their findings recently at a meeting of the Geological Society of America.

这些科学家在一份研究摘要中指出:“地球平均自转速度减慢的同时,年度地震(7.0级或以上)次数增加了25%~30%——这种情况上个世纪曾发生过5次。”他们最近在美国地质学会一次会议上展示了他们的成果。

“Next year we should see a significant increase in numbers of severe earthquakes,” Bilham warned in an interview with The Observer. “We have had it easy this year. So far we have only had about six severe earthquakes. We could easily have 20 a year starting in 2018.”

“明年我们应当会看到大地震次数的显著增加,” Bilham 在接受《观察家》采访时警告称。“今年我们过得很轻松。目前为止我们只经历了六次大地震。而进入2018年,大地震可能会轻松达到20次。

The researchers don’t understand precisely the dynamics that may explain what’s happening when the Earth slows. As the Earth’s rotation slows, the diameter of the equator shrinks, essentially “rumpling” the tectonic plates nearby and increasing the likelihood of a major earthquake where the plates connect, Bilham explained on the BBC radio program “Science in Action.” 

研究人员还没搞清楚地球自转变慢的动力学解释。Bilham 在BBC广播节目《科学的作用》(Science in Action)上解释道:随着地球自转的减慢,赤道直径会缩小,实质上使得赤道附近的构造板块“起皱”,因此增加了板块连接处大地震的可能性,。

Historically, most earthquake upticks linked to a slower planet rotation occurred near the equator in the West and East Indies, according to the scientists. Since 1900, more than 80 percent of all major quakes on the eastern Caribbean plate boundary, including the 2010 Haiti quake, have occurred five years following a “maximum deceleration” of the Earth’s rotation, according to Bilham and Bendick.

根据科学家的说法,在历史上,大多数与地球自转变慢有关的地震频发都发生在赤道附近的东、西印度群岛。Bilham 和Bendick 称,自1900年以来,发生在东加勒比板块边界的所有大地震中——包括2010年海地地震——有超过80%的地震发生在地球自转达到“减速极值”后的5年内。