A: Pat from Aromas asked, " I've been following the major earthquake activity around the world, particularly the Pacific rim. Lately, the Japan area has settled down and other areas have become more active, like Indonesia, the South Pacific, and the Aleutians. Now I'm seeing more activity on the eastern Pacific, from Chile to Columbia in the south. Could this be an indication of new activity in our area?"
Here's Chief Meteorologist Norm Hoffmann.
The quick response is that the Ring of Fire around the Pacific is always active as the plates move in different directions and the continents move apart. It has been my experience that larger quakes at some location do not necessarily mean large quakes are going to happen in other locations. If you look at the global earthquake map here http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/
you can follow the activity around the globe over the last week. Most of the earthquake activity seems to be in the Western Pacific, Japan and Indonesia.
However if you look at California and Nevada here http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqscanv/
you will see that there have been over 400 earthquakes in California and Nevada over the past week. It has been my experience that as long as the smaller earthquakes continue the pressure for a larger earthquake is less, not eliminated, but less. Notice that California has lots of smaller earthquakes then the Western Pacific.
Each year there are a number of 8.0 earthquakes around the globe and each decade there are one or two earthquakes of 9.0 or greater. Geologists still cannot correlate one earthquake to another or forecast when the earthquakes will occur. You can look at the history of the larger quakes at this location http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eqinthenews/
and you can look at previous years as well.