The Pillars of the Earth: Gaia is Restless

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Gaia is Restless
by Rodney Chilton
Who can forget the massive earthquake of 2004? It was Boxing Day, and a magnitude 9.0 to 9.3 quake (the second or third largest since 1900) struck the West Coast of Sumatra.
 
The loss of life from the catastrophic event was monumental. At least 230,000 people perished in the earthquake and ensuing tsunamis. This was only one of a large number of tectonic events that our planet has been experiencing.
 
The graph shows a very interesting picture in that the number of large earthquakes (7.4 and over) has risen significantly, beginning about twenty years ago.
 
Early on in the twentieth century, not long after instrumentation (seismograph and the scale used today (the Richter Scale) was developed, the number of quakes in this size range was in the order of one to two per year. This level of activity was maintained right up until the late 1980*
 
So it is then, that the Earth is now averaging four to six earthquakes per year, and this number has shown no signs of going down. This point can be emphasised still further, when the number of events of 7.0 and over are considered.
 
Keep in mind that the Haitian earthquake earlier this year was just such a quake, so these are not insignificant events. The number this year so far has reached an incredible seventeen; only surpassed four times in the past thirty years, and this for the complete year in each case.
 
Here we are on August 13th, and are just three short of the highest total of twenty, which occurred in 1995.
 
Many places on the planet are prone to very large earthquakes; one of them took place a number of years ago right here on the West Coast of North America. History tells us that not that long ago in a geological sense, a truly horrific earthquake struck, likely rupturing the entire Cascadia subduction zone which stretches from northern California to the north end of Vancouver Island in British Columbia.
 
The size and date of the earth-shaking event has been estimated at 8.7 to 9.2, and the date was January 26th, 1700. This has been determined by Japanese scientists based upon tsunami heights that registered anywhere from two to five metres (depending upon geography), along the east coast of Japan. This is consistent with Native American legends that tell of a huge earthquake occurring on a winter's night before Europeans arrived on the central West Coast of North America.
 
There are a great many disturbing signs that the Earth is restless. This continues into 2010, as already four large earthquakes over 7.4 have occurred to date. Alarming as this is, very few have yet to take notice!  
 
 
 
 
* (What appears to be a sudden change took place then, as activity rose substantially.)
 
 
 
Rodney Chilton graduated from the University of Victoria with BSc in Physical Geography ( Climatology) (major), Biology (minor). Employed by the B.C. Provincial Government for ten years as a climatologist, then worked for the British Columbia Grape Growers Association developing a climate and soils suitability Atlas for Vinifera Grapes in the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys. As a consulting climatologist also helped develop a Tree Fruit Atlas; this for the Okanagan Valley Tree Fruit Authority. Other than that I have alos done a number of other smaller climate projects in areas of Agriculture, Wildlife and Recreation. During the last ten years have concentrated more upon writing of two books thus far: 1) "Victoria's Varied Weather," 2001 and 2) "Sudden Cold an Examination of the Younger Dryas Cold Reversal." I also, maintain a website; www.bcclimate.com where I track climate and other natural events. 
 

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