by Jefferson Williams
Navigating Why Long
Navigating the catalog
At the top of each page you will see links to various parts of the web page. Click on them to quickly go there.
Click your browser Back button or the up arrow to the right to return to the top of the page.
Why do the earthquakes have the names they do ?
Earthquakes are supposed to be named according to the date and approximate epicenter - for example, the
1927 Jericho Quake.
This is great for instrumented earthquakes of the modern era
where the date and epicentral region are known but it presents a problem for historical earthquakes where both the date and epicentral area may be in question.
Dates for historical earthquakes can change as we gain more knowledge. For example, older papers frequently label the
Cyril Quakes as the 362 AD earthquake and
we now know that these earthquakes struck on May 18 and May 19 of 363 CE. Reading about the
Cyril Quake(s) in older literature may lead the reader to think that there were earthquakes in 362 and 363 CE when, in fact, there were
two earthquakes on May 18 and May 19 of
363 CE. Estimates for the location of the epicenter can also change. For a long time, it was thought that the epicenter for the
Monaxius and Plinta Quake of 419 CE was
close to Safed. Currently, what little evidence we have suggests that it struck somewhere in the southern half of the Arava fault.
Perhaps in the future, we will find out with certainty where this mysterious earthquake struck. Thus, historical earthquakes
in this catalog are frequently given a name when the date and/or epicenter is in question.
This produces a lasting label that does not present incorrect information as our knowledge increases.
The name produced usually refers to something in one of the textual accounts - perhaps something colorful and easy to remember.
- The Cyril Quakes are named so because the best textual account we have for these earthquakes is an apparently
account attributed to Cyril of Jerusalem
- The Sword in the Sky Quake of 634 CE
is so named because the textual accounts report what appears to be a comet showing up in the sky for ~1 month after the quake struck.
The sources described the comet as "a Sword in the Sky".
Why are quotes from the sources so long ?
To give you an idea of who the author is and to include possibly dateable events before and/or after the earthquake description. I try to bold
a few lines that describe the earthquake so you can quickly see where the earthquake report is in the text.
The Julian Calendar is the standard for reporting dates before the adoption of the
Gregorian Calendar on 15 October 1582 CE. All dates before are reported in the Julian Calendar. All
dates after are in the Gregorian Calendar.
BC/AD vs. BCE/CE
Sometime in the 20th century, the traditional abbreviation BC and AD changed to BCE and CE.
Scientific and Historical literature contains a mix of both. So does this catalog. BCE = BC and CE = AD. Also, there is no year 0 (zero).
1 BCE (aka 1 BC) was immediately followed by 1 CE (aka 1 AD).
There are many links in this catalog. In creating links, I tried to optimize two criteria:
There are a lot of links to Wikipedia for historical figures, places, wars, ancient empires, etc.
These links were chosen because
Wikipedia is likely to last, has a well organized and consistent format, and tends to give fairly simple time saving explanations in
the top few lines. However, if you have ever read Wikipedia links on
something you are a subject matter expert on, you realize that
Caveat emptor applies to Wikipedia.
So Caveat emptor with Wikipedia. Also, I welcome feedback of
better links or broken links.
Please email me if you have a helpful link to share.
- Free non-subscription links preferred over subscription links.
- Links that are more likely to last are preferred over those which may expire. This reduces maintenance in repairing broken links.
Historical Earthquake research is a messy business. Archeological and Geological Data are often ambiguous and sometimes wrong.
The ancient texts can sometimes be semi-reliable and/or downright deceptive. Scholars transpose numbers, misspell words, get citations wrong,
confuse their dates, etc. etc. If you are a cited author in this catalog and I pointed out an apparent mistake of yours I apologize but I had to do it.
We have to collectively do quality control on each other's work in order to move science forward and that involves pointing out each others mistakes.
Even if a mistake has been corrected in the literature, I may point it out here not due to anti-social malice on my part but to alert anyone new to a
subject why something they read may be wrong. On that note, I would be very grateful if you would alert me to my mistakes.
Please email me at Jeff dot Williams at acousticpulse.com if you find a mistake(s).