Haiti’s Earthquake: Natural or Engineered?

by Stephen Lendman / January 29th, 2010

Human
activity can cause destructive harm. Columbia University geophysical
hazards research scientist, Christian Klose, studies how, including
from mining. In a recent paper, he said:

“mining activities disturb the in-situ stress in the upper
continental crust and can trigger earthquakes (human-triggered
seismicity).”

Past examples are numerous:

  • from potash and other mining in Germany since the 19th century;
  • potash mining in Bulgaria;
  • copper mining in Silesia;
  • ore mining in Russia;
  • coal and other mining in various parts of America, including New York state, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming; and
  • coal and other mining in China and throughout the world.

Klose also says geophysical data suggest that the Zipingpu Dam, a
few kilometers from the epicenter of China’s 7.9 magnitude 2008
earthquake, likely triggered it. In a December 2008 presentation at the
American Geophysical Union, he explained:

“Several geophysical observations suggest this (quake) was triggered
by local and abnormal mass imbalances on the surface of the Earth’s
crust. These observations include (1) elastostatic response of the
crust to the mass changes, (2) slip distribution of the main rupture,
and (3) aftershock distribution.”

A follow-up issue of Science magazine explained further stating:

“the added weight both eased the squeeze on the fault, weakening it,
and increased the stress tending to rupture (it). The effect was 25
times that of a year’s worth of natural stress loading from tectonic
motions. When the fault did finally rupture, it moved just the way the
reservoir loading had encouraged it to….”

Klose also says that two centuries of coal mining triggered the 1989
Newcastle, Australia quake, killing 13 and causing billions of dollars
in damage. Data show that increased post-WW II production
“dramatic(ally increased) the stress change in the crust,” setting it
off and raising questions about how mining operates.

“You have two chances to avoid this, whether you reduce the hazard
or reduce the vulnerability – so whether you mine in a more sustainable
way or have urban planning in other areas away from the mining regions.”

In addition, Klose estimates that human activity caused one-fourth
of Britain’s quakes, not just from mining. An Andrew Alden
geology.about.com article headlined, “Earthquakes in a Nutshell” says:

“Earthquakes are natural ground motions caused as the Earth releases
energy. The science of earthquakes is seismology (the study of
shaking). Earthquake energy comes from the stresses of plate tectonics.
As plates move, the rocks on their edges deform and take up strain
until the weakest point, a fault, ruptures and releases the strain.”

Five major types of human activity cause them:                                                              More…………………..

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