Even though the reason behind
such seismic event is yet to be studied and revealed, it may have a
relation with the El Nino phenomenon that is predicted to develop this
year in the Indian Ocean, as some observations suggest.
In one of his recent articles
in the Environmental Science, Cutler J. Cleveland, Professor of Earth
and Environment at Boston University, talks about the correlation
saying, “El Niņo events can be triggered by a large thermal input that
raises sea surface temperatures. These thermal inputs can be driven by
the normal pattern of oceanic circulation. Nonlinear and stochastic
elements in the pattern of oceanic circulation cause variations in the
rate at which heat accumulates and dissipates in various portions of the
Presenting the findings of a geophysicist Daniel A.
Walker, Cleveland mentions in his article El Niņo: A Link among
Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Crustal Circulation, “Walker noticed an
interesting pattern: Months with the greatest number of earthquakes or
months with earthquakes that release the greatest amount of energy
precede the onset of El Niņo events. This hints at a relationship
between seismic activity and El Niņo events.”
Walker, as quoted by the New York Times, reaches such
a logical conclusion after studying the occurrence of seismic and
extreme weather events over 285 months ending in September 1987. During
the study, Walker found a striking coincidence between the extent of
strain release by earthquakes along the East Pacific Rise and the
recurrence of El Ninos every five to seven years.
The correlation is also
supported in a paper titled “Statistical analysis of the El
Niņo-Southern Oscillation and sea-floor seismicity in the eastern
tropical Pacific,” prepared by Serge Guillas, Simon J. Day, and B.
McGuire of Statistical Science, Earth Science and Hazard Research Centre
respectively of the University College London.
While presenting statistical
evidence for a temporal link between variations in the El Niņo-Southern
Oscillation (ENSO) and the occurrence of earthquakes on the East Pacific
Rise (EPR), the authors note in the abstract of the paper that “We adopt
a zero-inflated Poisson regression model to represent the relationship
between the number of earthquakes in the Easter microplate on the EPR
and ENSO (expressed using the southern oscillation index (SOI) for east
Pacific sea-level pressure anomalies) from February 1973 to February
2009. We also examine the relationship between the numbers of
earthquakes and sea levels, as retrieved by Topex/Poseidon from October
1992 to July 2002. We observe a significant (95% confidence level)
positive influence of SOI on seismicity.”
While it seems quite logical to
correlate the recent seismic event with the predicted El Nino in the
Indian Ocean, the seismologists and geography experts are to confirm if
they are really related and if the earthquake is an evidential event in
support of development of the predicted extreme weather phenomenon in
the Indian Ocean.