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The World Probably Isn't Ending

Foreign Policy responds to the worried citizenry who cite recent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions as evidence of an impending apocalypse. Earthquakes actually haven’t become more frequent, although they have become more deadly, most likely due to urban expansion: “China’s Qinghai province has experienced 53 magnitude 5.0 or higher quakes since 2001, but it wasn’t until one struck near the population center in Yushu that the casualty numbers exploded.” According to the U.S. Geological Survey,?16 major earthquakes have occurred on average each year since 1900; so the six major earthquakes of 2010 are not unusual. Reported volcanic activity has increased, however the Global Volcanism Project hypothesizes that the observed increase in volcanic activity is actually due to “an increased reporting of eruptions.”[%comments]