An acquaintance in Facebook recently posed the question:
Does global warming cause earthquakes?
After the Eastern Seaboard experienced a 5.8 magnitude earthquake, it left many wondering, what the hell was that?
Before the recent disruption the largest earthquake on record in central Virginia was a magnitude 4.8 temblor that occurred in 1875.
Earthquakes are rare in the eastern U.S. because the region is farther from a fault line.
Andrew Hynes, a tectonics expert at McGill University, said the issue is not so much the load shift on the earth’s crust, but rather the increased fluid pressure in the fault that lubricates the rock, allowing the plate to slide.
“All earthquakes except those produced by volcanic activity are essentially the unsticking of faults,” he said. In other words, if you pump fluid into a fault, it will reduce the friction and the rock can slide. (from AccuWeather)
Can the added melt from glaciers create stress on the earth’s upper crust, injecting more fluid into the rocks, thus creating earthquakes? The answer is yes, earthquakes at shalllow depths. Which is exactly what states like VA, MD, NY, and NC experienced.
Metereolists and geologists have long been warning of the consequences of “post glacial rebound” when the melting of glaciers causes an increase in global sea levels.
This increase in sea level means more pressure on the sea floor, which can effect everything from gravity fields to horizontal crustal motion. Of course, the recent earthquake on the East coast brings to mind the threat of shifting tectonic plates.
As the world’s glaciers perform an accelerated disappearing act, earthquakes just may be the first sign of how the warming will change the world.
It was a 5.8 quake, not a 6.8… big difference.
thanks for the catch, thomas. fixed.
it was a 5.8 not a 6.8. it might not sound like it, but the Richter is logarithmic…a 6.8 is 10x stronger than a 5.8.
I had considered myself a global warming skeptic previously, not really believing there was enough solid science to be able to definitively say one way or the other. after reading that, I’m more convinced than ever that global warming “science” is a total crock of shit. lol earthquakes caused by warming? hahaha, right. that is literally the most ridiculous stretch I can imagine making. there’s nowhere left to go if you try to say, “what’s next? _______ is caused by warming too?” whatever you try to fill that blank in with doesn’t sound nearly as ridiculous as “earthquakes”.
the whole Al Gore “global warming skeptics are this generation’s racists” remark makes a whole lot more sense in this light: find a way to tie every phenomenon to [insert leftist cause du juor] when your ideological opponents won’t get onboard.
@Bill – why is it so hard to believe that all of earth is in jeopardy, considering that we can create islands, nuclear bombs, and clone things?
meant to say “it might not sound like it, *but that one point is a big difference.*” not sure how I forgot the second clause of that sentence.
After all or a major part of Greenland or Antarctica’s icecap melts there will be rebound earthquakes, but that will be a thousand years or more in the future. Rather than the first symptom of global warming, they will be among the last, after it’s pretty much all over.
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