Quake Theory


Anthropogenic Earthquake Week at CatMap
We can safely begin with this statement: Humans cause earthquakes. No geologist will quibble with that statement, as we homo sapiens have been triggering ever more powerful and ever more frequent earth tremors and full scale quakes for a least a hundred years. However, the degreeto which we hominids (or “related forces”) can affect the shaking, trembling and sometimes collapsing of the planet is a different and more complex question. There is no debate that man’s ability to screw things up in general has grown exponentially in both scale and range. At the same time, it seems that the incidents of tragic (Haiti 2007), preternaturally destructive (Sendai, Japan 2011) and or downright unlikely (Atlantic Coast USA 2011) major earthquakes have become far more common in the last two decades. Further, there has been an increase in unusual volcanic activity, such as Eyjafjallajokull. This smoking monster virtually shut down European air traffic for weeks in 2011. And let’s not leave out the super volcano beneath Yellowstone, which is either ready to blow any second, or might erupt sometime in the near future, or could blow in the distant future. When did that thing become a problem?Don’t misconstrue our claims in this report. Earthquakes are almost always natural occurrences and have been rocking the planet since the beginning of time. But human activities are now destructive enough to trigger earthquakes before they normally would have happened, and to cause earthquakes in places where they have never occurred before. Our purpose here is first to bring you up to date on the latest scientific findings on this topic, and secondly to pursue more speculative aspects of the topic. The following is a partial list of human activities and other forces that do or may cause earthquakes. They are presented in approximate order of their provability. We consider all of them possible, but some are admittedly more speculative than others; we will begin with incontestable causes and follow a path that moves someone into the abstract in topics #6 and #7. But please don’t rule out any until you have read the entire report. We are professional alarmists. We are not nuts.

Lorca Quake Caused By Deep Water Extraction
A church interior in Lorca, Spain is exposed by the 2011 tremor, which was a moderate 5.1 on the Richter scale, but packed a huge punch because of it’s shallow epicenter.

See yesterday’s coverage of new research that attributes the 2011 Lorca, Spain quake to massive drilling and groundwater removal.

On the smaller end of the seismic spectrum, after years of flying under the radar, earthquake swarms are suddenly capturing the public’s attention, albeit in the same nervous way we note the weather has been a little challenging lately. These events have taken place across the country, from California to Wisconsin to Ohio. In some case, state geology departments have pointed the finger at activities related to hydro-fracking, although the drilling companies whine and squirm when that happens. And then, there have been just a bunch of strange protracted booming incidents in places that normally don’t experience protracted booming noises. Like Wisconsin and New Brunswick.

At the upper end of the Richter scale, some seismologists have indeed noted an increase in higher power events, but the means of measuring such data has improved so much in the past few decades that we are unable to make reasonable comparisons with regard to long term trends. So some say activity is increasing and other say they can’t tell.

On the other hand, the CatastropheMap Editorial Board and other professional alarmists have noticed there are some other big problems around the globe, things like global warming*, death of the oceans, record droughts, record floods, unprecedented species extinction, air and water pollution, invasive species not to mention unrepentant and massive and permanent destruction of any location possessed of hydrocarbons and minerals. Any or all of these could threaten the quality of human life if we aren’t careful. And they really are. We believe all of these factors are operating together to cause what amounts to a planet wide breakdown of all systems.

Bayou Corne sinkhole

The Louisiana DNR believes that the collapse of an underground storage cavern used and abandoned by Texas Brine Corp caused a swarm of tremors in the days prior to the opening of this sinkhole. Hundreds of area residents have been under mandatory evacuation since August 2012.

Follow the story of the Bayou Corne sinkhole.

And now the leap of logic for which you have been waiting. The unfortunate trends are defined by a common pattern: cyclical natural events exacerbated by human intervention. Is it possible then that some or all of these human activities are somehow actually causing a global increase in seismic and volcanic activity? And where will it end?

It seems reasonable to suspect disruptive processes such as oil drilling, mountaintop removal, gas extraction and nuclear testing and mega-dams in China. That is, it seems reasonable in private. If you speculate out loud at the barbeque, your loud neighbor with the NRA T-shirt and Bud Light baseball cap will make fun of you. Because he has been trained to bristle at criticism of any activity that makes money for the boys. The big boys, the ones who don’t pay any taxes at all if they can help it. But that guy’s not here, so let’s continue.

It is established scientific fact but not necessarily well known that at lease half of the activities on that list have previously and are not causing earthquakes. But is something else going on that’s too crazy to even think about? Not for us!

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