Mexico earthquake
Mexico earthquakeReuters

The year 2018 might bring in some bad news for billions of people around the world. Scientists have warned that there could be a series of deadly earthquakes next year.

They believe that Earth's rotation is slowing down and it could have a larger impact on billions of people. According to scientists, the variations in Earth's speed could trigger huge seismic activity and release "vast amounts of underground energy."

Experts believe that this year was easy with "six severe earthquakes," but next year, the number of massive earthquakes could go up to 20, majorly affecting people living in heavily populated tropical regions.

This came to light last month when Roger Bilham of the University of Colorado and Rebecca Bendick of the University of Montana presented a paper at the Geological Society of America and explained why there will be an increase in earthquakes in 2018.

"The correlation between Earth's rotation and earthquake activity is strong and suggests there is going to be an increase in numbers of intense earthquakes next year," Bilham told the Observer.

Bilham and Bendick analysed earthquakes of magnitude 7 and higher that occurred since 1900. "Major earthquakes have been well recorded for more than a century and that gives us a good record to study," Bilham said.

mexico earthquake
Rescuers, firefighters, policemen, soldiers and volunteers remove rubble and debris from a flattened building in search of survivors after a powerful quake in Mexico City on September 19, 2017Reuters

During their study, they found out five periods when considerably higher numbers of massive earthquakes were triggered compared to other times. "In these periods, there were between 25 to 30 intense earthquakes a year. The rest of the times, the average figure was around 15 major earthquakes a year," Bilham said.

"The rotation of the Earth does change slightly – by a millisecond a day sometimes – and that can be measured very accurately by atomic clocks," he said, adding, "It is straightforward. The Earth is offering us a five-year heads-up on future earthquakes."

Bilham said that Earth offers five-year heads-up and one of its periodic slowdowns began more than four years ago. Thus, the next year there will be a rise in the number of earthquakes.

"The inference is clear. Next year we should see a significant increase in numbers of severe earthquakes. 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," Bilham said.