Seismic Eastward!

August 24, 2011

Turn about is fair play, huh?
Indeed, as the US East Coast experienced a dose of western-style living yesterday with a 5.8-magnitude earthquake, which struck about 40 miles northwest of Richmond, Virginia, and was felt from Georgia to northern New England.
Although no serious injuries or heavy-duty structural damage was reported — the Washington Monument did get cracked and the quake signaled “unusual events” at 13 nuclear facilities — the population got all stressed and got their panties in a bind.
Those big-baby east-coasters now need their collective diapers changed.

(Illustration found here).

Actually, earthquakes were coast-to-coast.
Early Tuesday, there were a near-record batch of quakes in Colorado, one of the seven tipping the scales at a 5.3-magnitude — the biggest in the region since 1967.
There were no reports of injury or major damage.
Meanwhile, just before midnight last night, a 3.6 rattler knocked on San Francisco’s doorways, but there was no damage or injuries there either.
That quake was centered six miles southeast of Oakland, however,  some people in San Francisco didn’t notice it happen.
We be used to it.

Contrast the map above with a similar map here which displays the California-Nevada region — a site I have bookmarked and check on a near-daily basis.
Colorful with all those little yellow boxes, huh?

After we experienced a 6.5 earthquake early in 2010, I’ve become slightly paranoid — I stocked water and even purchased a shortwave radio.
Although I’ve lived in California since the early 1980s, and I went through a bad one (6.5) in San Luis Obispo County in 2003, which killed three people, the one last year up here scared the nasty shit out of me — it seemed to go on and on.
See how one dog handled it here — he was in the newsroom of the local newspaper and apparently felt some sort of cosmic forewarning.
Earthquakes are strange events, and most-likely will become a part of our environment’s ‘new normal.’

The editors’ introduction in a report from the UK’s The Royal Society in April 2010:

Periods of exceptional climate change in Earth history are associated with a dynamic response from the solid Earth, involving enhanced levels of potentially hazardous geological and geomorphological activity. This response is expressed through the adjustment, modulation or triggering of a wide range of surface and crustal phenomena, including volcanic and seismic activity, submarine and sub-aerial landslides, tsunamis and landslide ‘splash’ waves glacial outburst and rock-dam failure floods, debris flows and gas-hydrate destabilisation.
Looking ahead, modelling studies and projection of current trends point towards increased risk in relation to a spectrum of geological and geomorphological hazards in a world warmed by anthropogenic climate change, while observations suggest that the ongoing rise in global average temperatures may already be eliciting a hazardous response from the geosphere.
Papers included in this issue review the potential influences of anthropogenic warming in relation to an array of geological and geomorphological hazards across a range of environmental settings.

Read more related material at Climate Progress.

And even if some assholes deny climate change, these disasters are just part-and-parcel for the planet’s future.
From Grist in July:

Politicians might not believe in climate change, but insurance companies do.
They track disasters, and it turns out that disasters just in the first six months of this year already cost the world more than any other year of disasters on record.
The price tag for 2011 disasters reached $265 billion.
Most of that cost ($210 billion) came from the tsunami in Japan.
But flooding in Australia, tornadoes in the United States, and earthquakes in New Zealand also contributed, and the Munich Re insurance giant draws a connection between some of these disasters and climate change.
Before 2011, the record-holding year for costliest disasters ever was 2005, the year Hurricane Katrina devastated the southeastern U.S. coast.
Even people who don’t believe in climate change should take note of this trend: You can’t choose not to believe in insurance premiums, and they’re going up.


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