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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Never, ever think you are in a safe zone!

I read a blog recently that said if you lucky enough to be in a safe zone away from natural disasters and it got me thinking.  What is a safe zone?  I have never seen one.

Now, some people live in the interior (or if you are not in Alaska, lets say fly over country) and it can be just as damaging to live in the "middle" then it can be living on or next to a coastal region.  No matter where you go, you will have fault lines, flood plains and so on.  Someone a few weeks ago said that to have an earthquake in theri region, wouldn't be to bad.  I argued, as I love a good arguement, that the people living in an area that has not recieved an earthquake in over a hundred years are going to be the "Katrina" of the next natural disaster phase. 

Why am I saying this?  Because no matter where you are, there will be a disaster.  It is the law of pyshics and of course Ol'e Murphy.  If you live on a flat plain (such as farmers) there will be a flood eventually.  As well as tornado's.  Even Alaska has had a few tornado's whether anyone wants to admit to it or not. 

But, I digress.  Earthquakes in the fly over of the U.S. happen rarely but there are quite a few faultlines in those areas.  They are more stable due to the limestone and other natural stone that are soft but firm.  But what is the issue is that water (above ground or below which is more deadly) can and has been able to disinegrate the softer stone and can leave huge marks as well as availibilty for some movement from below.

Take under ground coal mining.  Most people do not realize that to get to the coal you HAVE to get through a section of what are called traps.  Traps are what many in the oil and gas industry look for for pockets of oil and gas and in some cases water.  But sometimes there is a fissure or a crack that the oil, gas, and water can escape.. with that the pressure of anything left, usually some type of carbon elements such as an old pond, leaf and plain grass decay etc, can make what ever is left in that area turn into a coal like substance.  Lignite coal is what many do not realize is used to generate electricity around the nation.  It can be either a stick brown coal or a darker sulfer smelling.  Now, you have this coal mine and you are drilling, blowing up and taking our traps.  The traps are part of fissures which are smaller faults... and in some cases are ajoined to large fault lines.  Now what does this have to do with mines and earthquakes.  Well, sometimes the fissures that are still "attached" to larger fault lines set off a wave when disturned causing a small amount of vibration... which can start the rumble of a small magnitude earthquake.  After that happens, it is only a manner of time in which either the fault will "pop" or shift the trillions of tons of gravel and start an earthquake and possibly make these mine shafts collapes.  This also happens when oil companies drill.  It is a fact of life and many hours of research goes into this before drilling the fault and trap to get the oil.

Now, flooding of an area or excessive winds can also make this a nightmare.  Since water and wind are the biggest erronding factors, even under human possibilty, they are the main reason why there are small tremors around the world.  Underground river can errod an area under the crust of someones farm faster then you can say, Jack Rabbit.  Causing either a "sink hole" in most cases but also, if deep enough triggering a small earthquake.  Italy is notorius for this type of activity and their lava tubes around their region.

We also have those fun caldera's or underground volcano's all over the world.  Some are like Yellow Stone, when you have no clue when it is going to blow it's "top".  But there are other types of volcanos no one really knows about that can be just as bad.  Like mud volcanos, which are level or a little sunken with the ground around it and can send either a sulfer like mix mud gyser (think yellow stone but far smellier) and this stuff can give you first degree burns, and in some areas (like south america) has been known to take out whole villages due to a fissure collapsing and making the mud sulfer mix flood an area.  Alaska has a few mud volcanos, if you are curious to look for them.  They are by the Wrangell Mountains, 50 or so miles due east of Tok.

When someone says that you are in a safe zone, just remember... no where is safe when it comes to natural disasters.

3 comments:

Rev. Paul said...

I once looked at an earthquake fault map of the Lower 48, and IIRC, Montana is the only state without an active fault line. But they have horrific winds, blizzards, sub-zero temps in winter, etc.

You're right - there's no such place as a "safe" place. People live in their comfort zones, with blinders on, and need to be reminded. Thanks.

Gen-IL Homesteader said...

Good reminder, Upinka! You know, I personally have never lived through a disaster in my 39 years here. Oh, they've happened around me, but never right where I've lived. It is too easy to forget that anything can happen at any time!

I saw a clip of your running with the reindeer on the tv news this am. Were you there? Maybe I saw ya! hehehe

Are there any specific seeeds that you want me to look for for you? Let me know. I haven't noticed shortages here, so maybe I can find what you need!

Aloha2U said...

Great post! you really hit the nail on the head because there are no safe zones no matter where you live in the world. There are I believe hundreds if I am not mistaken underwater volcanoes all around the hawaiian island chain. And being smack dab in the middle of the ring of fire makes us sitting ducks for tsunami's all the way around and back. We get earthquakes out here as well but a great majority of them are too small to be felt. But you just never know because even we can get a big one here too.

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