Thursday, January 12, 2012

Other Disasters - Earthquakes Bigger And More Of Them

If you thought bigger, faster hurricanes were bad, you are not going to like what will happen with earthquakes at all. I don't like it at all myself.

I discovered the problem with earthquakes because of the New Madrid fault. That is an earthquake fault that is located in the East Coast area of the United States of America. It was unknown to exist until it rudely awakened people to its presence.

My relatives in the East Coast area used to tease my relatives on the West Coast area about having earthquakes to deal with. We used to tease them about tornadoes and hurricanes. Then all of us got both types of disasters to deal with.

I wondered why these earthquakes were making themselves felt in areas that were previously considered safe. 

I was very interested when I read a little factoid in the newspaper that mentioned that the rotation of the earth had speeded up measurably due to the presence of enormous amounts of water stored by dams and reservoir systems. These dams and reservoirs were located mostly in temperate areas of the planet. One of these areas is the USA. 

I thought there might be a connection between the New Madrid earthquake and the weight of the water on the temperate zones of the earth. Tectonic plate theory says we live on comparatively thin  tectonic plates floating on a molten core of the earth. 

Water that is heavy enough to speed up the rotation of the earth seems heavy enough to disturb the balance of those tectonic plates. If a little movement of our tectonic plates is enough to cause a big earthquake, then might it be enough to cause a bigger one by loading down one area with a heavy weight distribution change?

I did something I used to do when I was washing dishes without any supervision. I took a pie plate and floated it in a sink full of water. I poured water into the pie plate and watched it rock back and forth and sink. That was not reassuring.

I was thinking of the pie plate as representing a tectonic plate and the water under it as magma. I thought of the water I poured into the pie plate as representing water in dams and reservoir systems. 

Enormous cities full of people, skyscrapers and other heavy stuff are probably not helping maintain the equilibrium of our tectonic plates either. 

As if that was not bad enough, now we are further assaulting the earth by fracking it. That is the injection of steam under pressure into the earth to force out more gas and oil from oil wells. 

Proponents of fracking insist that it is perfectly safe and we have nothing to worry about. Critics of fracking say it is already causing earthquakes.

I wonder what the Japanese think? I am not fond of the use of fracking since the first radioactive debris arrived on the shores of my state, Alaska. The radioactive debris got here from the earthquake in Japan. "No man is an island entire of itself", has a whole new meaning lately.

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