Sunday, February 28, 2010

Earthquakes, Nuclear Winter, the End of the World, and All That

"Big quake question: Are they getting worse?"
LiveScience, via MSNBC (February 27, 2010)

"Seismic shockers are to be expected, but planet seems to be more active"

"Chile is on a hotspot of sorts for earthquake activity. And so the 8.8-magnitude temblor that shook the region overnight was not a surprise, historically speaking. Nor was it outside the realm of normal, scientists say, even though it comes on the heels of other major earthquakes.

"One scientist, however, says that relative to the time period from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, Earth has been more active over the past 15 years or so...."

'And we're all gonna die?'

I don't doubt that there's more tectonic activity each year now, than in the mid-70s. That was then, this is now: and natural events do seem to go in cycles. We call the weather cycle that's associated with Earth's orbit "seasons." There may be patterns of earthquakes and volcanism that we don't know about yet.

But in answer to the 'screamer' headline on this topic in another source, "Is nature out of control?" - I rather doubt it.

On the other hand, if I had the ethical deficit it would take to do so: I could probably make quite a lot of money by writing a book about how the world was coming to an end. In about four or five years, to give people plenty of time to buy copies.

Maybe I'd take pronouncements of doom more seriously, if I hadn't seen so many come and go as the decades rolled by: and hadn't taken the trouble to sort out facts and assertions - and research the facts.

More about change and getting a grip, at:


Kim said...

You asked "are we all gonna die?" Yes, of course we are.

I've noticed a pattern of earthquakes and living in So. CA, I've had plenty of time to observe. Earthquakes seem to happen most when it's hot during the day and very cold at night. Like, because of the earth contracting and expanding at a quicker than normal rate.

What does the term "Nuclear Winter" mean anyway?

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Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...


A few decades back, we were all gonna die because imperialistic warmonger world leaders were going to start a nuclear war. That would raise so much dust, literally, that the amount of sunlight reaching the surface would go down, cooling Earth and dooming all survivors.

Interestingly, the entertainment industry 'post apocalyptic' films didn't play with that scenario. Their post-nuclear-war Earths looked a lot like the Mohave Desert and parts of the American southwest. Easier to film there, I suppose, than in central North Dakota during winter.

That civilization-ending nuclear war didn't happen, and 'nuclear winter' dropped out of the scare articles.

Neither did the food riots of the seventies, when just about everybody was going to die because there were too many people; and the coming ice age has been replaced by global cooling.

As for 'earthquake season?' There may be a statistical correlation.

Do I take these predictions of doom - the secular ones and the 'end-times' variety - seriously?

Not very. I've seen too many contradictory ones come and go. And, I've followed what paleontologists, geologists, and cosmologists have been learning about the way Earth and the universe have been developing and changing.

The 'coming ice age' scenario was - and is - serious possibility. Earth is either in, or just coming out of, one of the major periods of glaciation. If we're not warming up, on average, on a century-to-century scale, there's another epoch of continental glaciers coming.

The last I checked, we still don't have enough data to accurately predict what's coming. Maybe after we've collected another millennium's-worth it'll be possible.

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