Scientists have warned dozens of earthquakes could devastate the world next year.
Roger Bilham, from the University of Colorado in Boulder, claims a slight slowdown in the earth's rotation could trigger increased seismic activity.
He has written a paper with Rebecca Bendick of the University of Montana, and the pair discovered five periods when the world experienced "25 to 30 earthquakes a year", compared to the average of 15.
Periods of increased earthquake activity took place five years after the earth's rotation has changed, their research found.
The slowdown in earth's rotation is small, measuring in milliseconds, but enough to release vast amounts of underground energy.
"It is straightforward. The Earth is offering us a five-year heads-up on future earthquakes," he told The Observer.
"Next year, we should see a significant increase in the numbers of severe earthquakes. We have had it easy this year. So far, we have only had about six severe earthquakes.
"We could easily have 20 a year starting in 2018."