LONDON - Experts say there is nothing unusual about the latest spate of earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and now Turkey, but their devastation illustrates how growing construction along the world's fault lines can lead to massive casualties.
Seismologists say although one powerful quake can conceivably raise the risk for others elsewhere, the recent string of quakes is probably just coincidence.
Bob Holdsworth, an expert in tectonics at Durham University, said yesterday that "I can definitely tell you that the world is not coming to an end."
Bernard Doft, the seismologist for the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, says there is no direct connection between the lethal quakes that have struck Haiti, Chile and Turkey.
"These events are too far apart to be of direct influence to each other," he said.
Although the Haitian quake occurred along a fault that had seen no major event for 250 years, both Chile and Turkey are prone to devastating quakes.
"It was by accident that it happened at approximately the same time," he said.
More than half the cities with at least 1 million people are on active plate boundaries, which are where quakes tend to happen, said University of Colorado geologist Roger Bilham.
Unfortunately, despite past quakes, people continue to put up poorly constructed new buildings, said Bilham.