The Korean Peninsula was hit by 93 earthquakes with a magnitude of 2.0 or stronger last year, the Korea Meteorological Administration said.
A report by the KMA said the latest figure is the highest since the center began to compile data in 1978, and almost double the average of 44.5 quakes a year monitored between 1999 and 2012.
No deadly quakes were observed, but a string of minor tremors suggest that the country, known as being relatively safe from earthquakes, needs a comprehensive study on the seismic activity, an official from the KMA said.
“Unlike weather forecasts, earthquake prediction is very difficult even with such equipment as supercomputers because it’s happening underground. We need to invest more in geological and seismological studies,” KMA’s earthquake monitoring division director Nam Hyo-won told The Korea Herald.
Quakes with a magnitude of 3.0 or above were recorded 17 times, while 15 palpable earthquakes were logged in the same period.
Major recorded quakes last year include two magnitude-4.9 earthquakes that occurred off the shores of Heuksando Island in April and Baengnyeongdo Island in May. The two were the sixth largest on record in the country.
The strongest quake on land was a magnitude-3.5 quake in February in Geochang, South Gyeongsang Province, about 270 kilometers south of Seoul.
By region, the West Sea had the most quakes with 52 occurrences reported, followed by East Sea at 15 occurrences and North Korea seven occurrences, the data showed.
The world was hit by 1,542 quakes of magnitude 5.0 or higher last year, maintaining a similar figure to its annual record of 1,639 a year between 1978 and 2012, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
By Suk Gee-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)