Freitag, 5. März 2010

Gibt es mehr Erdbeben als sonst?


- Nein.

Verständlicherweise fragen sich das viele zurzeit - erst die Beben in Haiti und Chile und jetzt anscheinend eines nach dem anderen in Taiwan und anderswo. In Amerika geht gerade die Angst vor dem "Big One" um, ein befürchtetes Riesenerdbeben im Bereich des San-Andreas-Grabens. Aber ist das wirklich so? "Rächt" sich die Erde an den Menschen?

Glücklicherweise kann man Erdbeben einfach zählen, also brauchen wir uns bloß die Tabelle angucken:




Die Tabelle wird jeden Tag aktualisiert. Beim Hochrechnen kommt man auf die Zahlen, die ich mit Paint rechts daneben gekrakelt habe. Streng genommen funktioniert das Hochrechnen hier nicht, da sich durch die Abnahme der Proben die Varianzen und Konfidenzintervalle zu sehr verschieben - ein Vergleich mit einzelnen Monaten wäre vielleicht besser. Aber für diesen Punkt reicht es aus, da zumindest bei 7.0-7.9 kein stark erhöhtes Auftreten festzustellen ist. Ein paar Prozent über dem langjährigen Mittel, aber nicht all zu viel. In den 90ern gibt es noch mehr Abweichungen (allein 3 Jahre mit 18 Beben in der Kategorie), siehe hier.

Die anderen Kategorien sind stärker erhöht, das liegt jedoch an den Nachbeben in der jeweiligen Region. In den vergangenen Tagen fanden allein 214 mittelschwache Nachbeben in Chile statt, daher fällt die unterste Zahl aus dem Rahmen. So viele Nachbeben sind im globalen Maßstab in der Tat eher selten, kommen aber an den Anden häufiger vor. Viele kleine Nachbeben sind immerhin besser als ein großes.

Fassen wir zusammen: das Ganze ist, abgesehen von den Nachbeben, selektive Wahrnehmung. Die Zunahme der Erdbeben ist bisher nicht statistisch signifikant.

Abgesehen davon hängt die Zerstörung oft auch nur sehr lose mit der Magnitude zusammen. Ein 7.0-Erdbeben wie auf Haiti findet mindestens jeden Monat irgendwo auf der Erde statt - heute wie früher. Chile war ein Jahrhundertereignis, wenn auch mit viel weniger Opfern.

Ein Erdbeben kann weitere in der gleichen Region oder entlang der Platte triggern, aber nicht über den halben Erdball verteilt, zumindest ist der Einfluss äußerst gering.

Was sich auf jeden Fall im Vergleich zu früher geändert hat, ist folgendes:

1. Urbanisierung - mehr Menschen wohnen in erdbebengefährdeten Städten.
2. Globale Medienaufmerksamkeit - wäre das Erdbeben in Chile vor 20 Jahren gewesen, hätte es keinen interessiert. Heutzutage haben wir ein stärkeres globales Bewusstsein (aber auch mehr Sensationsgier der Medien)

Da liegt der Hase begraben.

Kommentare:

  1. Deine Hochrechnung ist ja doch deutlich über dem langjährigen Mittel. liegt das an den vielen Nachbeben der beiden Großbeben?

    Btw, was hältst du von der aktuellen Story in Science über das Sichuan-Beben und den Stausee?

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  2. Ich merke gerade, dass ich mir vorhin einen ziemlichen Mist in dem Artikel zusammengestammelt habe, ich war wohl irgendwie müde ^^

    Die Hochrechnung ist insofern problematisch, da sie von einer gleichbleibenden Rate ausgeht, die mit Sicherheit nicht so passieren wird. Man könnte sogar argumentieren, dass durch die Erdbeben soviel Spannung abgebaut wurde, dass es nach der Nachbebenphase für den Rest des Jahres sogar eher zu weniger Beben kommen wird. Dafür kenn ich mich mit dem Thema aber nicht ausreichend aus.

    Ich habe die Hochrechnung trotzdem mit reingenommen, da ich zeigen wollte, dass trotz der subjektiv erdbebenreichen letzten Wochen die Abweichung nicht wirklich groß ist. Liest man sich einige Forenposts und Nachrichtenseiten durch, bekommt man den Eindruck, es sei auf einmal ein Vielfaches des normalen Durchschnitts eingetroffen. Leider kam diese Intention beim ersten Verfassen nicht wirklich durch.

    Die aktuelle Science habe ich noch nicht gelesen, werde demnächst mal reinschauen.

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