Sabot L'ours (sabotlours) wrote,
Sabot L'ours
sabotlours

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Disasters

I have been fascinated by disasters for the past 30 years. I grew up in the era of Irwin Allen movies like "Earthquake," "The Poseidon Adventure," and "Towering Inferno" as well as others like "Airport." I suppose it was this "love" of disasters that pushed me toward geology. The power of Mother Nature was simply incredible to me. Seeing the energy involved in some of the most basic earth processes probably pushed me toward Paganism as well.

Yesterday I spent much of the night watching CNN (after "Father of the Pride", of course). My jaw hit the floor when I heard that there were now hundreds killed by the tsunami in Somalia and Kenya 6,000 km from the earthquake's epicenter. That's just freaking incredible! The story is now coming out about the passenger train traveling up the coast of Sri Lanka that had 1,000 people on board. So far they have found no one alive. That's just unbelievable.

I'm not a geophysicist so I don't understand the principles behind it, but I am fascinated that the earthquake was so large it effected the earth's rotation. That's a lot of energy.

I guess why I'm so enthralled by disasters is because it proves how stupid we humans are. It is not a matter of if a 7.0+ quake will hit California, it's a matter of when. The plates that cause the San Andreas Fault are not going to go away. They will be with us for the next 10 million years or so. Mt Rainier will erupt again and send mudslides into Tacoma. And Tyger will have to move MFM when the New Madrid Fault ruptures again and devistates Memphis and St Louis. Of course it might be MFM 176 by that time (or next year. Who knows?) We continue to build in earthquake prone areas just like we continue to build on the coasts prone to hurricanes. At least we're becoming more aware of flood prone areas and limiting growth in the floodplains of rivers. Town fathers, however, will continue to approve building permits for those areas as long as dollar signs are in their eyes.

The one good thing to come out of disasters is the 20/20 hindsight. California has stricter building codes that should prevent the catastrophic loss of life that might occur in a third-world country. But then again, one could look at the Kobe quake that happened one year after Northridge. Japan is an advanced nation and yet 20,000 died from a quake of equal magnitude to Northridge. After the 1964 Alaska Quake money was spent to develop a tsunami warning system. The stories are now popping back up on the news how people in California were killed by the wave generated in Alaska. And think how we now take things like satellite photos and radar for granted when it comes to weather. Those have only been around for 50 years. Imagine the poor bastards in Galveston back in 1900 when 10,000 people were killed in a hurricane. They had no idea about the magnitude of the storm that was approaching. Now we have days worth of warning time.

No place on Earth is completely safe. Things are pretty calm here in New Mexico although as tenax found out earlier in the year, the weather can surprise us with things like baseball-sized hail. And there is the Valles Caldera just 60 miles to the north of here which was one of the largest volcanic eruptions in the history of the world. There is also a line of volcanoes about 2 miles from my house that spouted off a few hundred thousand years ago. So who knows what might happen. And there's always that chance that a meteor will come crashing down on us and take us all out.

and with that....Have a nice day!
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