Bachmann is wrong about earthquakes.

Fact-checking Republican presidential candidates is like shooting fish in a barrel, but quibbling is what the Internet is for. The other day, Rep. Michele Bachmann joked that the recent East Coast earthquake and Hurricane Irene were manifestations of God trying to get some kind of deficit-reducing message across to Washington politicians. Considering that Irene has freshly left 30 people dead and over a million people without power, and caused untold amounts of property damage, this was probably a pretty ill-advised, or at least somewhat insensitive, joke to make. (On the other hand, Bachmann’s constituency is probably firmly in the Midwest, so who gives an eff about the troubles of the East Coast?) Anyways, as The Caucus reports, Bachmann almost immediately went into damage control mode after the words came out of her mouth, saying that her remarks were not meant to be taken seriously.

What I have to quibble with is the following:

What I was saying in a humorous vein is there are things happening that politicians need to pay attention to. It isn’t every day we have an earthquake in the United States.

In fact, it pretty much is every day that we have an earthquake in the United States. According to the USGS, well over 2,000 earthquakes occur in the United States annually. In 2010, the USGS located 8,493 earthquakes – that’s an average of 23 earthquakes per day. At any given time, the real-time map of earthquakes in the United States will show a couple dozen earthquakes that have happened in the past day:

Granted, most of these earthquakes are minor, if not imperceptible. But I think Bachmann’s mistake is still significant in that it demonstrates her careless disregard for the facts/telling the truth. Of course, it’s not really a surprise that Bachmann would have this attitude, considering she’s a champion of the anti-science party.


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