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Friday, December 9, 2011

Global Warming and Earthquakes

Some time this year someone made a fevered comment about global warmingclimate change causing earthquakes.  I remember I thought it was a silly comment, reflecting a lack of scientific understanding.  Now comes two researchers down in Florida, Professor Shimon Wdowinski and Professor Igor Tsukanov, saying that tropical storms impact the timing of earthquakes, and their theory makes some sense.

I found the report at MSNBC on-line, after prompting from Drudge.  From the report we have this:
Focusing only on very wet typhoons with the capacity to cause of a lot of erosion, and removing aftershocks that would bias the analysis, the researchers found that 85 percent of magnitude-6-and-above quakes occurred within the first four years after a very wet storm.  That was five times what would have been expected from background quake rates…
Pretty interesting.

Regards  —  Cliff


Anonymous said...

Wow....and all this time we were blaming the gravitational pull of the moon and shifting tectonic plates. Who knew???

NASA needs to get busy on a massive Federal project to prevent big storms, well, right after they come up with a preventive system for errant asteroids.

Surely we can harness nature and save all of mankind at the same time. Well...we must....the end is near.

Apologies in advance......given all the doom and gloom and predictions of apocalypse now emanating from the American political scene....not sure we can stand one more "sky is falling" prediction and explanation. Seems every day now we are faced with some hyperventilating talking head on the tellie warning us that some virus just jumped from a pig to a human and the end is near, or because the Mexicans set up a market for recycling automotive batteries, we are responsible for the release of lead into the environment (not to mention our guilt for poisoning Mexicans), the ice caps are shrinking (except where they aren't), China has "many more" nuclear weapons just waiting in hundreds of miles of tunnels for the "launch" order..all of them of course pointed at us....and Iran...well....who knows what Iran will do..but it's gonna be bad....and now...Myanmar....what to do about them.

I wonder...will we die of some mega disaster or will we die of fright over one that may be coming?

the other cliff said...

I can posit two theories that might support this finding. Each backed up by anicdotal evidence:

First, large dams placed on insufficiently stable ground, can cause sismic problems due to the very large weight of the backed up water. Perhaps one or more very wet storms might affect the weight of the ground in a local region, causing additional stress on that region of the tectonic plate. Of course, it could just as easily be that the water runs off into the ocean much to quick to have any such effect. I'd like to see a comparison of the effect when you account for ground porosity.

Second, perhaps in very porous regions around fault lines, the water can act like a lubricant. I seem to recall some sismic problems occuring around some geothermal energy experiments about a year ago. In Iceland, I think.

I'm not saying I buy it, but I am unwilling to dismiss the hypothesis out of hand either.