Posts Tagged ‘earthquakes’

Could solar flare last week be linked to two major earthquakes yesterday?

April 17, 2013

Like primitive man I am overwhelmed by the power of the Sun and a firm believer that even minute solar effects can have a major effect on the Earth and its systems. (I also note that my deification of the Sun must be similar to that by our ancient ancestors and is probably not unconnected to my moving to Scandinavia). In any case I am convinced that for climate

“Solar effects are much more profound than many so-called climate scientists like to admit”,

but I am not sure how strong the link to earthquakes is.

The link between solar effects (radio flux, sunspots, magnetic reversals, proton events….) and volcano activity and earthquakes has been postulated and studied many times but if any such link does exist it is not something obvious and it is by unknown mechanisms. For some this search for such a link is not “science” and there is no link. For others it can be a lifetime’s quest. But “intuition” and “gut-feeling” keeps me believing that there must be a connection. It could well be that the build-up of stresses upto some “breaking point” within the earths crust are a result of ongoing geologic processes and do not need any external trigger like solar activity or the position of the planets to be unleashed. But even continental drift and the build-up of seismic or volcanic stresses are all – ultimately – driven by energy fluxes. And all energy fluxes on Earth can eventually be traced to the Sun (except perhaps if the energy is from any ongoing nuclear reactions in the Earth’s core).

There were two major earthquakes yesterday – USGS

  1. 6.6, 23km ESE of Aitape, Papua New Guinea, 2013-04-16 22:55:27 UTC, 13.0 km deep
  2. 7.8, 83km E of Khash, Iran, 2013-04-16 10:44:20 UTC, 82.0 km deep

And – I note in passing – on April 11th – 5 days ago there was a solar flare and a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) event. Could be just a coincidence of course – but perhaps not …

Discovery News: APR 11, 2013 03:00 PM ET

The sun has unleashed the biggest solar flare of the year, quickly followed by an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection (CME). Both phenomena have the potential to impact communications and electronics on Earth and in orbit.

Although the sun is currently experiencing “solar maximum” — the culmination of its approximate 11-year cycle — scientists have noted that this particular maximum is a lot quieter than predicted. At this time, the sun should be bubbling with violent active regions, exhibiting sunspots, popping off flares and ejecting CMEs. But so far, the sun seems to be taking it relatively easy.

This morning (at 0716 UT), active region (AR) 1719 erupted with an M-class flare. With a rating of M6.5, this event is the most energetic flare of 2013 (although it’s a lot less impressive than 2012′s X-class fireworks). What’s more, the site of the explosion unleashed a CME in our direction.

A CME is a magnetic ‘bubble’ containing high-energy solar particles. When the CME hits Earth’s global magnetic field, it may align just right to generate a geomagnetic storm. Should this happen, we’ll be able to measure the extreme magnetic distortion of the magnetosphere and bright aurorae at high latitudes may result. Aurorae are caused when solar particles are injected into the polar regions via the Earth’s magnetic field — the particles then collide with atmospheric gases, generating a beautiful light display.

This morning’s CME was clocked traveling at a breakneck speed of 600 miles per second — at that rate it should hit Earth in the early hours of Saturday morning (April 13).

Shortly after the M-class flare erupted, a weak solar energetic particle (SEP) event was detected. This “radiation storm” was the result of relativistic particles slamming into the Earth’s upper atmosphere originating from the flare site.

Image: NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of an M6.5 class flare at 3:16 EDT on April 11, 2013. This image shows a combination of light in wavelengths of 131 and 171 Angstroms. Credit: NASA/SDO

Himalayan earthquakes did break the surface in 1255 and 1934

December 30, 2012

The Indian Tectonic Plate split from Godwana some 140 million years ago and started colliding into the Eurasian Plate some 40 – 50 million years ago. The Indian Plate is being subducted under the Eurasian Plate. The collision is still going on with the Indian Plate moving North East at about 6 -7 cm per year while the Eurasian Plate is moving Northwards at about 2 cm per year. The region is geologically active and earthquakes are not uncommon as the Himalayas continue to grow. It was thought that Himalayan earthquakes rarely, if ever, broke the surface and were “blind quakes”. But a new paper describes field work with novel imaging and dating techniques which show that at least the earthquakes of 1255 and 1934 have left discernible ruptures.

S. N. Sapkota, L. Bollinger, Y. Klinger, P. Tapponnier, Y. Gaudemer, D. Tiwari. Primary surface ruptures of the great Himalayan earthquakes in 1934 and 1255Nature Geoscience, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1669

Wikipedia: The Indo-Australian plate is still moving at 67 mm per year, and over the next 10 million years it will travel about 1,500 km into Asia. About 20 mm per year of the India-Asia convergence is absorbed by thrusting along the Himalaya southern front. This leads to the Himalayas rising by about 5 mm per year, making them geologically active. The movement of the Indian plate into the Asian plate also makes this region seismically active, leading to earthquakes from time to time.

Even blind quakes can be devastating as with the Kashmir quake of 2005:

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Two 7.0 quakes hit Burma — as predicted?

March 24, 2011

Update 25th March! Reports are now beginning to come in of over 50 70 killed.

In the light of  the recent predictions of increased earthquake activity especially in the period 22nd – 27th March, two large 7.0 quakes – as if on cue – have rocked north east Burma (Myanmar) close to the borders with Laos and Thailand.

The prediction was made by Jim Berkland and Piers Corbyn and points to solar effects as the trigger.

The are hit by the two quakes are remote  and even if large numbers of people and heavy infrastructure are not involved,  at magnitude 7.0 they are very powerful quakes and they may have been devastating for the people in this very poor region. One of the quakes was very shallow and may have caused much destruction.

One more major quake in the Pacific Rim region in the next 3 to 4 days will, I think, be a very strong indicator that we should be looking mainly at the sun in efforts to anticipate what triggers earthquakes. Tectonic plate movement clearly describes the build up of forces in the earth’s crust but what triggers particular quakes at particular times is largely unknown.

BBC reports:

map

Burma earthquake 24th March 2011

North-east Burma has been rocked by two 7.0 magnitude earthquakes, close to the borders with Laos and Thailand, the US Geological Survey has reported.

They struck seconds apart at 1355 GMT and were centred about 70 miles (110 km) from the northern Thai city of Chiang Rai, the agency said.

The first quake was shallow, at a depth of 6.2 miles (10km), while the second was much deeper at 142.5 miles (230km).

Tremors could be felt as far away as Bangkok and Hanoi. The area where the quakes struck is sparsely populated and remote. The BBC’s Rachel Harvey in Bangkok said it could be a while before the extent of the damage is known.

Seismic monitor

article image

chart from iris.edu

ABOVE chart from iris.edu

Why Munich Re’s report on natural catastrophes in 2010 is alarmist and self-serving

January 4, 2011

Munich Re – like all insurance companies – is in the business of alarmism. The insurance business relies on the total risk perceived by all the buyers of insurance products being significantly higher than the actual risk that materialises. The bigger this difference the greater the insurance company’s profits.

In a new press release Munich Re presents its overall picture of natural catastrophes in 2010.

Several major catastrophes in 2010 resulted in substantial losses and an exceptionally high number of fatalities. The overall picture last year was dominated by an accumulation of severe earthquakes to an extent seldom experienced in recent decades.

The facts are not in doubt but Munich Re’s opinionated conclusion and the introduction of global warming into the same breath as earthquakes and extreme weather is intellectually bankrupt and blatantly self-serving:

The high number of weather-related natural catastrophes and record temperatures both globally and in different regions of the world provide further indications of advancing climate change.

Munich Re’s business is best served if the perception of risk is very high, the actual risk is much lower than than that perceived and more and more people take to insuring these exaggerated risks. Munich Re – as other insurance companies – have become expert at taking real data, blending it with unjustified opinions and then applying a totally bogus “pondus” to exaggerating the perceived risk.

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