China & Iran Earthquake Cycles; 2016–2019

Earthquake Cycles (Asia) in 2016–2019;
China & Iran at Risk; Instability Rising?
2011 Ushers in New Cycles…Iran Overdue

09/29/11 INSIIDE Track: “Outlook 2011-2012… The Great Transition… into Act II

Birth Pains

There are other areas that should not be overlooked when discussing earth disturbances.  One of these is Iran (Iran & Indonesia are both in the Alpide Belt, so increasing activity could be related)…

The intriguing thing about Iran is that the frequency of earthquakes, if not always the intensity (magnitude), has been accelerating for over 80 years.  From 1929 to 1957, Iran averaged a major earthquake – of 6.5 magnitude or greater – every 5 years.  Quakes ranging from 6.5 to 7.4 hit in 1929, 1930, 1947, 1953, 1957 & 1957.

In the overlapping period of 1953 to 1976, this frequency accelerated with Iran averaging a major earthquake – of 6.5 magnitude or greater – every 4 years.  Quakes ranging from 6.5 to 7.3 hit in 1953, 1957, 1957, 1962, 1968, 1972 & 1976.

This frequency – and the related intensity – accelerated further, from 1968 to 1981, when Iran averaged a major earthquake – of 6.9 magnitude or greater – every 3 years.  Quakes ranging from 6.9 to 7.8 hit in 1968, 1972, 1976, 1978, 1981 & 1981.

The average from 1976 to 1997 was about the same – one quake every 3 years – but this period included one of the most deadly… a 7.4 quake in 1990 that claimed over 50,000 lives.

Interestingly, this was during the same period that a major earthquake (7.8) struck Luzon, Philippines – later recognized to be the precursor to the Mt. Pinatubo volcanic eruption of 1991.

From 1994 to 2006, the frequency increased while the intensity decreased (modestly).  Iran was hit by 15 earthquakes – of magnitude 5.9 to 7.4… 15 earthquakes in less then 12 years.

The reason that a 5.9 is included in this list is that it was also an important precursor – 4 months prior to (and in the same area as) the Dec. 2003 Bam quake that claimed over 31,000 lives.

From Sept. 2008 into Jan. 2011, Iran was hit by 7 earthquakes ranging from magnitude 5.7 to 6.7.  Here again, the intensity decreased a little while the frequency accelerated.

Not surprisingly, the two quakes in January 2011 – on Jan. 13th & 27th – were like bookends around a major, 7.2 quake in SW Pakistan – about 150 miles from Iran.

Looking at this from a slightly broader perspective, Iran has experienced at least 30 earthquakes – of magnitude 5.9–7.8 from 1947 until 2011.  11 of these quakes have been between 7.1–7.8 magnitude… an average of one 7.0+ earthquake about every 6 years.  However, Iran has not experienced a 7.0+ earthquake since 1997 (overdue?).

At the very least, Iran (and her new nuclear facility) is in a period when – statistically & cyclically speaking – another 7.0+ quake is due.

Could an impending quake and the related instability be part of the reason that Iran is also increasing the frequency and intensity of their ‘irrational belligerence’?

If I did not know any better, I would say the pattern of earthquakes in Iran is like the birth-pain analogy that is used in Scripture – and which has been borrowed in this newsletter many times – with increasing frequency occurring as it leads into a major event.

As Act I was coming to a close, we witnessed the havoc & destruction that a major earth disturbance near a nuclear facility can wreak.  Will Act II see a repeat performance?  IT

China, Three Gorges… and the 17-Year Cycle

     Construction on the Three Gorges Dam – in China – began on December 14, 1994.  It reached completion in 2011… 17 Years later.  However, it is not the 17-Year Cycle applying to this construction that grabs my attention.  Instead, it is another – more disturbing – 17-Year Cycle that should be of greater concern.  Before expounding on this, let me reprint a small excerpt from the Wikipedia entry on this massive structure…

Three Gorges Dam

Erosion and sedimentation

     Two hazards are uniquely identified with the dam. One is that sedimentation projections are not agreed upon, and the other is that the dam sits on a seismic fault. At current levels, 80% of the land in the area is experiencing erosion, depositing about 40 million tons of sediment into the Yangtze annually.  Because the flow is slower above the dam, much of this sediment will now settle there instead of flowing downstream, and there will be less sediment downstream.

      The absence of silt downstream has three effects:

           — Some hydrologists expect downstream riverbanks to become more vulnerable to flooding.

           — The city of Shanghai, more than 1,000 miles (1,600 km) away, rests on a massive sedimentary plain. The “arriving silt—so long as it does arrive—strengthens the bed on which Shanghai is built… the less the tonnage of arriving sediment the more vulnerable is this biggest of Chinese cities to inundation…”

           — Benthic sediment buildup causes biological damage and reduces aquatic biodiversity.

Earthquakes and landslides

     Earthquake-induced peak ground acceleration coupled with the immense weight of the reservoir water might be able to breach the upstream face of the dam. Erosion in the reservoir, induced by rising water, causes frequent major landslides that have led to noticeable disturbance in the reservoir surface, including two incidents in May 2009 when somewhere between 20,000 and 50,000 cubic metres (26,000 and 65,000 cu yd) of material plunged into the flooded Wuxia Gorge of the Wu River…in the first four months of 2010, there were 97 significant landslides.

That second ‘hazard’ is the one that jumps out at me.  It ‘sits on a seismic fault’.  Now, let’s think about this for a minute.  First, there is the hypothesis that I made many years ago and have repeated since.  It is that I believe, in some cases, massive flooding precedes major earthquakes.  This does NOT mean that every major flood results in an earthquake.  This does NOT mean that every major earthquake is linked to a flood. Instead, it means that in SOME instances the two are intertwined.  Why?

The rationale I gave before – though overly-simplistic – is the only one I could find (although a geologist or geophysicist might have other perspectives):  A massive flood adds an enormous amount of weight in one area – and ultimately on one plate – and is then quickly removed.  Does this cause a reverberation by pushing the stress level to one extreme… and then quickly removing it?  I do not know.  But, then again, a lot of cycle analysis is based on observation – with or without the reasoning immediately available.

So, what happens when you fill a ‘limited’ area with almost 32 million acre-feet (over 1,380,000,000,000 cubic feet) of water… and see that amount significantly rise and lower each year… and do it on top of a seismic fault?  Maybe nothing.  What if all this stress comes immediately after an enormous construction projection that had to create seismic vibrations?  Don’t know.  Maybe, this is not an example of cause & effect.

BUT… China has had an intriguing sequence of earthquakes and earthquake swarms during the past century, which include 18 quakes of over 7.0 magnitude.  Many of these are closely linked in time.  They adhere to the 17-Year Earth-Disturbance Swarm Cycle with many cycles pointing to 2016–2019 as the time for at least one additional major quake.

However, the period of 2002–2018 could be similar to 1917–1933, when 9 major quakes (7.0+) were seen in one 17-Year period.  Could the coming years see multiple, 7.0+ quakes in China?  Could any of these impact the area around Three Gorges?  More next month…     IT


1976–1978 ushered in acceleration & intensification of Iranian Earthquakes.

2016–2018 = Culmination of 40-Year Cycle… coinciding with 17-Year Cycle of Earth Disturbance Swarms for China in 2016–2019.

2018 is also next phase of 14-Year Cycle that connects Major Iran quakes in 1962, 1976, 1990 & 2003 (Dec. 26, 2003… 6 days before 2004).

2018 (and 2011) are next phases of related 7-Year Cycle.  Earth has been extremely shaky now (2010/2011) and is likely be shaky in 2016–2019.