Thursday, March 17, 2011

Earthquakes and global warming

It is important to keep speculation about global warming and the effects of human technology within the bounds of science. It does no good for the cause of ecology and responsible "earth stewardship" to try to blame every natural disaster on the use of fossil fuels.

Thus, the recent conjecture that the massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan are due to the release of pressure from melting glaciers and icecaps must be assessed calmly and scientifically. As far as I have read, the judgment is that this melting can have little effect on the massive, continent-sized tectonic plates whose shifting causes these seismic events. In short, the masses of water/ice involved is several orders of magnitude smaller than the plates themselves.

This may not be the absolute, final word on the issue, since few questions in science are resolved absolutely, but for the moment that's the way it stands. To read more, follow this link to ABC Science (Australian Broadcasting Co. Science online, a free science web service).

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