Thoughts and Visions of Hell: Our Nightmare Planet

A compilation of photo galleries, facts, and ruminations documenting the most extreme weather events of the past several years. Assembling this information in one place where connections can easily be made offers a powerful statement about the world in which we live. It also raises a number of serious questions. Res ipsa loquitur, as the old judges used to say.

Even though we haven’t had a sensational weather event in a while to make the climate question a topic of chatter, I thought it would be important to survey recent disasters using photographs from around the web. I think assembling this information in one place where connections can easily be made offers a powerful statement about the world in which we live. It also raises a number of serious questions. Res ipsa loquitur, as the old judges used to say.

Anyone who’s over 40 can tell you that something feels different about the equilibrium of the climate today compared to when they were much younger. Something doesn’t feel right. Too many super storms; too many records broken in too short a time period. Rain, when it comes, is often erratic.

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Revisiting the Fracking–Earthquake Connection

Here’s the situation in Texas and other parts of the country where fracking for natural gas has come on the scene: it’s producing a hell of a lot of gas, excitement, and money.

Earthquake epicenters examined in the study (red circles), injection wells (squares and + symbols) in use since October 2006, seismic monitoring stations (white triangles), and mapped faults (green lines). Credit: Cliff Frohlich/U. of Texas at Austin.

All of this gas is also producing a hell of a lot of wastewater, which, according to experts is producing a hell of a lot of earthquakes. Earthquakes? Yes, that’s right, earthquakes, as in the kind that shake the ground. According to some geophysicists, it isn’t fracking itself that’s causing earthquakes, it’s all the wastewater being pumped back into the ground for storage.

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Freak Tornado Smashes New Zealand Town

“I saw it coming across the river, the air went very electric and the sky went black. And then the wind started to whistle. This was like a juggernaut roaring through here,” witness Suzanne McFadden told New Zealand’s Newstalk ZB radio. 1)http://news.yahoo.com/rare-tornado-kills-three-zealands-biggest-city-024431885.html

Reuters/Reuters – A woman returns a lost dog to its ruined home amid the devastation in the suburb of Hobsonville after a tornado went through the western suburb in Auckland December 6, 2012. REUTERS/Nigel Marple

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References   [ + ]

1. http://news.yahoo.com/rare-tornado-kills-three-zealands-biggest-city-024431885.html

Earthquake Warning Signs

Mongolia, China, 2003, Strange Pre-Earthquake Occurrences

A 2003 story in the China Daily relates some strange occurrences just prior to a large earthquake that hit Chifeng, a city in Mongolia. Villagers reported that they saw water spurt more than six feet into the air from a river bed that had been dry for many years.

Cellphone signals were reportedly knocked out for up till 10 hours prior to the quake in an area about 90 miles from the epicenter. Experts speculated the cause may have been interference from “abnormal terrestrial magnetic waves.”

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The Great Earthquake Debate

Summary

A Google search using the words “earthquake trends” 1)without using quotes in the actual search reveals that earthquakes have been on a lot of peoples’ minds. But it’s not just since Haiti. As one high profile earthquake gives way to another, the Internet clearly indicates that many people are starting to ask questions. It’s interesting to note the different interpretations of what is perceived by many to be an increase in either the frequency or strength of earthquakes in recent years. This post takes a look at some of the popular stories currently circulating about earthquakes. They constitute the common beliefs that many people  share about earthquakes and how they relate to contemporary societies. As such, it is felt that these stories represent modern folktales about earthquakes.

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References   [ + ]

1. without using quotes in the actual search

Kenyans Desperate to Survive Resort to Poaching

This is an ongoing post chronicling some of the stories that have been summoned into existence by the droughts now ravaging Africa.

Wild Animals in Kenya Threatened by Extinction as Severe Drought Causes Food Shortages

In an article titled, “Kenyans eating wild animals as drought worsens,” The Nairobi Chronicle reported on its blog last September that the drought in Kenya was so bad that people were resorting to hunting bush meat in the national parks. This includes monkeys and baboons, which, until a short time ago, were considered taboo. The situation has gotten so bad that in some parts of the country, frightened monkeys that used to roam freely have taken refuge in the bush, far away from humans. In other parts of the country, gangs of half-crazed baboons have banded together thrashing everything in sight, pounding dogs into “mince meat”. Continue reading “Kenyans Desperate to Survive Resort to Poaching”

Global Earthquake Trends 1900 – 2010

Killer Earthquakes and Other Problems Beneath the Surface

Silent and unexpected, without warning, they smite with irresistible force. All that dwells upon the surface is subject to the invisible fury of the earthquake. Shacks and mansions, buildings, bridges, and roadways; their permanence rendered illusory. Yet for all its titanic power, the earthquake, unlike other natural forces, does not kill man directly. It exerts itself on the very things that sustain our civilization, causing what normally provides shelter to cave in and crush us.

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Africa: Droughts

Over the course of the last one hundred years the frequency and geographic dispersion of droughts has increased significantly on the African continent.

The Droughts in Africa from 1900 to 2009

Africa has been struggling with droughts for many years. Some countries there are facing enormous challenges. In a piece entitled, Kenyans eating wild animals as drought worsens, The Nairobi Chronicle, for example, reports that wild animals “face extinction by ending up on dinner tables as the worst drought in a generation takes its toll on a people impoverished by years of poor governance, corruption and political sterility.” Since 1950, Ethiopia, another drought-plagued country, has suffered more years with drought than without. How bad is the drought situation in Africa and will it get worse? This post will take a look at the drought-stricken African countries and regions  going back to 1900 and attempt to determine whether this data suggests any trends.

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Natural Disasters of the World

The frequency and intensity of natural disasters have been increasing. This poses both humanitarian and financial challenges; not to mention the question why?

Natural Disasters. Are They Increasing?

You don’t have to be a meteorologist, seismologist, or any other ologist to see that the frequency and intensity of natural disasters and extreme weather events seems to have significantly increased over the last few decades. Massive flooding from extreme precipitation; raging wildfires from prolonged droughts; monster hurricanes or super tsunamis or giant earthquakes all seem to have become much more common headlines over this time period. Continue reading “Natural Disasters of the World”