Mar 1, 2010

Another Massive Earthquake

Todd StrandbergBy Todd Strandberg
Rapture Ready

A huge earthquake with a magnitude of 8.8 has hit the west-central coast of Chile, killing more than 700 people. The quake struck at 1:34 EST about 200 miles southwest of the capital, Santiago.

The epicenter was just 70 miles from Concepcion, Chile 's second-largest city, where more than 200,000 people live, and the coastal city Valdivia, with a population of 140,559, which is was at the greatest risk of the quake's tsunami.

It will take several days to get a full measure of the devastation caused by the quake. Because Chile has much better building codes than Haiti, it’s unlikely that we're going to see a death toll into the tens of thousands.

The Chile earthquake is already one for the record book. It is seventh on the list of greatest earthquakes ever recorded. In the past 250 years, there have only been two other mass casualty quakes with a greater magnitude.

Chile is no stranger to large earthquakes. In 1960, the most powerful earthquake ever recorded struck Valdivia. It had a magnitude of 9.5 and destroyed buildings from the earthquake can still be found today.

The news of the Chile quake is amazing when you realize it came just a month after the devastating 7.0 quake that struck Haiti, killing 230,000. Of course, this tremor is vastly more powerful. One geologist said it released 500 to 700 times more energy. Luckily, it occurred at sea and several miles from a major population center.

In my January 25, 2010, "Nearing Midnight" commentary, I took note of the narrowing time scale for several recent super earthquakes. It seems bizarre to reminisce about something I wrote just four weeks ago, but that is how strange events have become. Here I am saying the historic odds would tell us that another major quake is unlikely, yet I knew another factor was at work:

Normally, we could say by the frequency of earthquakes in the past that it will be many years before we suffer another super quake. There have been times when there weren’t ever major quakes. The Rapture Ready Earthquakes Timeline shows that between 1950 and 1960, there was no major loss of life from seismic activity. There was another gap between 1960 and 1970.

I don’t think we are going to see any let-up in the number of destructive earthquakes. We have reached the point at which every year is visited by some form military conflict, economic unrest, or natural disaster.
The upsurge in earthquakes has geologists and news reporters wondering what is going on. "Relative to the twenty-year period from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, the earth has been more active over the past fifteen or so years," said Stephen Gao, a geophysicist at Missouri University of Science and Technology. "We still do not know the reason for this yet. Could simply be the natural temporal variation of the stress field in the earth's lithosphere." A Fox news reporter asked a seismologist, "What's wrong with Mother Nature?"

I believe the "birth-pang" prophecy is why earthquakes are increasing in number. Jesus said the calling card of His return would be a spike in calamitous events:
"For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places, there will be famines; this is but the beginning of the birth-pangs" (Mark 13:8, RVS).
It certainly seems like the Lord is pressing a series of warning buttons. From 2004 to 2008, we had a historic number of tropical systems in the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic Ocean basins. In 2009, we had the global financial meltdown. Here we are in 2010 with two historic earthquakes.

Any Bible prophecy worth its salt would point to the Haiti earthquake as a warning of our own need to be ready for eternity. Now that it seems we've had a double warning, it is all the more important for Christians to have a sense of priority in their witness to the world. God is very patient, but He is no fool. He is not going to send an endless number of warning signs. This event could very easily be the last one before the Rapture.

Related Links
Aftershocks Jolt Chile as Troops Seek to Keep Order - New York Times
Chile: The Day After - (Michael G. Mickey)
Chilean earthquake hints at dangers of 'Big One' for USA - USA Today
Chile Quake Is One of the Biggest in a Century - Wall Street Journal
Rescuers search for Chile quake survivors; death toll jumps to 708 - Los Angeles Times