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Can Climate Change Shake the Earth? by City Tech Blogger Saira Abbasi

“Climate change can lead to flooding, hurricanes, droughts, wildfires and habitat loss, but could it also be shaking the ground beneath our feet? The debate around the connection between climate change and earthquakes has been almost as intense as the earthquakes themselves.” Imagine it’s your family time and you are enjoying lunch with your family or it’s  nighttime and you are in a deep sleep. Suddenly, you are awakened because things around you start shaking: a jug filled with water falls onto the floor from the table,  glasses in your kitchen fall, and then   other things in your home begin to fall.. Distressed voices from the neighborhood are heard, and in a flash, your rooftop collapses on you. These were the circumstances faced by people during a recent earthquake in Mirpur, Pakistan, on Sep 24, 2019, at 16:01:53 PST. The powerful earthquake hit different places of Pakistan with a magnitude of 5.8, damaging dozens of properties. At least 19 people lost their lives; four children were among dead, and over 300 were injured.

https://www.rferl.org/a/pakistani-earthquake-victims-still-waiting-for-relief/30183130.html

“The atmosphere, the ocean, and the ground beneath our feet are all part of the earth’s system. They interact with each other, and an alteration in one can lead to a change in another. The layer of gases in the geosphere that produces the weather that triggers climate change  affects our land.  In the article, “Nature,” produced in 2009,  Chi-Ching Liu and his colleagues partially explain the relationship between climate change and earthquakes. Liu and his team provide reliable evidence for a pattern between typhoons and small earthquakes on the island. They argue that the low-pressure centers of the typhoons allow earthquake faults within the crust to move and release accumulated strain.” Earthquakes damage infrastructure, destroy homes and businesses,  result in the loss of lives leaving families grief stricken,   and cause financial strains.. Basically, climate change increases the occurrences and intensity of earthquakes Not all geologists agree on how often human action affects the activity of tectonic plates for  many other factors appear to intensify the occurrences of earthquake activity.  In spite of this,  evidence suggests that humans are creating situations that can shake, lubricate, and put pressure on tectonic plates. In  the book  Waking the Giant, by Bill McGuire, the author documents the science behind the ideal conditions created for earthquakes by climate change.

Another reason for the increased frequency of earthquakes is the melting of glaciers. When ice melts the earth around the freezing region is essentially reconstructed. As the ice melts, the surrounding zones move from their place and allow seismic waves to move tectonic plates. Many geologists disagree that climate change causes seismic waves and it is difficult to prove that melting glaciers cause earthquakes. To add, while areas with reservoirs tend to have a lot of seismic activity, one could argue that those areas would have had earthquakes anyway. For these reasons, it is very important to set up equipment to measure seismic waves and discover the main causes that produce them. Scientist Emeritus of the US Geological Survey, Temblor Ross Stein, says, “That way we can compare the before and after. What’s important is knowing, what the earth is telling us before we build the reservoir?” One question raised is: why doesn’t the government spend more money on research to gather pertinent information about the impacts of climate change rather than focus on compensating families for the death of their loved ones during disasters?

 

Resources

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/earthquake-in-pakistan-today-leaves-at-least-19-dead-2019-09-24/

https://www.rferl.org/a/pakistani-earthquake-victims-still-waiting-for-relief/30183130.html

https://nuscimag.com/does-climate-change-really-trigger-earthquakes-41a91477e7fc

https://www.newsweek.com/weird-way-climate-change-could-make-earthquakes-worse-669922

 

 

 

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