Saturday, March 06, 2010

Are The Recent Earthquakes Caused By Human Activity?

Is it possible that human activity could effect geologic activity? Yes. Definitely.

The pumping of ground water has had an enormous effect on ground subsidence in some areas. Las Vegas is a good example. The elevation of some parts of the Las Vegas Valley has dropped almost 30 feet due to groundwater pumping. To see some of that, drive West on Charleston Blvd. near Valley View. The hill you drive up wasn't there before groundwater pumping. As a child in Las Vegas, I remember subsidences seemingly appearing from out of nowhere. But we had caused them, by pumping out groundwater. The very active geology (caused by humans) in Las Vegas damaged many a house foundation, including that of my parent's home.

The effect of groundwater pumping in Florida, however, may end up far worse. The groundwater in some places in Florida has been so heavily pumped out that sea water could flow in. And the elevation drop due to subsidence could be so bad in some places that the land could drop below sea level. In other words; there are some places in Florida that are pumping themselves under the sea. When one combines this phenomenon with sea level rise, parts of Florida are very likely in danger of becoming another Atlantis within decades. (For more information see the movie Blue Gold).

When one combines the effect of cumulative world wide groundwater pumping and climate change, we see that an enormous amount of water has already made its way from land into the sea. Could this shift in water weight have an effect on the Earth's most sensitive faults? Quite possibly. We all know that there are always a number of faults right on the verge of shifting. Stresses have been building up, and it wouldn't take much more to set off an earthquake. That's just the nature of earthquakes. There will be more.

  • Scientists have noticed that “there are around 20% more eruptions worldwide during the northern hemisphere's winter than the summer. The reason may be that global sea level drops slightly during the northern hemisphere's winter.”

  • Scientists also point out that “the majority of the world's most active volcanoes are within a few tens of kilometers of the coast.”

  • In 2004, Scientists from NASA and the USGS published a report that found “as glaciers melt they lighten the load on the Earth's crust. Tectonic plates, that are mobile pieces of the Earth's crust, can then move more freely.”

  • A recent scientific conference on Climate Forcing of Geological and Geomophological Hazards concluded that “even slight changes in weather and climate can rip the planet's crust apart, unleashing the furious might of volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and landslides.”

  • Scientists have witnessed that the relief of stress from one earthquake can lead to the build up of stress in other areas – and more earthquakes.

So, it makes sense that our cumulative worldwide extraction of groundwater and the subsequent flushing of it to the sea, combined with the vast melting of glaciers on land has had a significant effect on plate tectonics. (Yes, vast. I have seen it myself. To see my own video record click here.)

Average sea levels worldwide have raised by more than an inch in the last 15 years. This is not speculation, it has already happened... Of course, that may not seem like much. One inch of sea level rise doesn't have us running for high ground. But maybe it should. The tsunami that destroyed so much of the South Pacific a few of years ago might, might have been caused by this seemingly innocuous sea level rise.

Maybe we're looking at this from the wrong perspective. Maybe instead of looking at this as one inch of sea level rise, we should look at this as 20 trillion tons of weight shift?

When you think about it that way; 20 trillion tons of weight shift from the continents to the oceans – makes the possibility of increased earthquake activity seem almost inevitable.

And, of course; this weight shift has already happened – and is now happening at an accelerating rate.

Whether the mass media has intended to play sea level rise down or not, they effectively have. The consequences of sea level rise are likely to be far greater than flooding of the Everglades and New York City sometime later in the century. However, without mass media news coverage here, don't expect Americans to get too worried about it until something catastrophic happens here in the U.S.

But, of course, something big is already happening. Have you checked the weather lately? Don't you remember the climate scientists predicting extreme weather.

(for information on the slowing of the Gulf Stream from melting glaciers – click here.)


For those of you willing to check my land/sea weight shift calculations; here they are:

From Wikipedia:

Current sea level rise has occurred at a mean rate of 1.8 mm per year for the past century, and more recently at rates estimated near 2.8 ± 0.4 to 3.1 ± 0.7 mm per year (1993-2003). Current sea level rise is due significantly to global warming.

From RedOrbit:

Melting ice and warming waters have raised average sea levels worldwide by more than an inch since 1995, new data from space satellites and robotic submarines have revealed. That's twice as fast as the rate the oceans rose during the previous 50 years

From WolframAlpha:

the surface area of the oceans is a 131.6 million mi2

the weight of a gallon of water is 8.35 pounds

1 mile = 63,360 inches

1.101 1012 gallons/cubic mile

1 inch / 63,360 inches/mile X 131.6 million mi2 X 1.101x1012 gal/mi3 X 8.35 lbs/gal

2000 lbs/ton

= 9.5 trillion tons of water in one inch of sea level rise

...and since that water had to come from somewhere...

that amounts to about 20 trillion tons of weight shift from land to sea in just the last 15 years!


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