Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Scientists Say Massive Chinese Earthquake May Have Been Man-Made

AP Photo/Geo-Sat Image
Zipingpu Dam


I know what you're thinking... "Man-Made Earthquakes"?...

Yeah... Sure...

... Probably man-ufactured by the illuminati... or some other not-so-secret, evildoing darling of conspiracy theorists...


But, wait...

It's True.

The "Man-Made Earthquake"-part... Not the "Illuminati"-part.

Scientists in both China and the U.S. are saying that last May's massive 7.9 Sichuan earthquake - which left 80,000 people dead (and, if you think 80,000 is a tough number to get your head around, try this one:) and five million people homeless (Yes, I checked it. It's really 5 Million.) - was likely caused by the massive Zipingpu dam. The dam - which is 511 ft.high and holds back 315 million tons of water - is 550 yds. from the quake's faultline and 3 mi. from the epicenter.

And... Believe it or not...

There's a documented history linking dam-building and dams with increased seismic activity that even includes the Hoover Dam in Colorado.

Whew! What a relief!

At least it wasn't those Dastardly illuminati!


Oh yeah...
In a related story...
Did You Know... Teacher Liu Shaokun was detained and sentenced to one year in a labor camp for posting photos of collapsed schools in Sichuan online. He's believed to be the third person detained for doing so.

Apparently, at least in the eyes of Chinese authorities, pointing out that the emperor has no clothes is considered a more heinous crime than using crap materials and shoddy workmanship to build hundreds of unsafe and deadly schools.

But, that's another blog...

(From: telegraph.co.uk/.)

Chinese Earthquake May Have Been Man-Made, Say Scientists

By Malcolm Moore in Shanghai
Last Updated: 12:06AM GMT 03 Feb 2009

The 511ft-high Zipingpu dam holds 315 million tonnes of water and lies just 550 yards from the fault line, and three miles from the epicentre, of the Sichuan earthquake.

Now scientists in China and the United States believe the weight of water, and the effect of it penetrating into the rock, could have affected the pressure on the fault line underneath, possibly unleashing a chain of ruptures that led to the quake.

Fan Xiao, the chief engineer of the Sichuan Geology and Mineral Bureau in Chengdu, said it was "very likely" that the construction and filling of the reservoir in 2004 had led to the disaster.

"There have been many cases in which a water reservoir has triggered an earthquake," said Mr Fan. "This earthquake was very unusual for this area.

There have been no seismic activities greater than a magnitude seven quake along this particular seismic belt before."

The 7.9 magnitude quake struck last May and left more than five million people homeless. It remains a raw and emotional topic for most Chinese, and the government has been quick to quash any suggestion that Zipingpu may have been responsible for the catastrophe. Researchers have been denied access to seismological and geological data to examine the earthquake further.

Zipingpu is only one of nearly 400 hydroelectric dams in the earthquake zone. Mr Fan said the government had been warned of the danger of building so many large-scale projects in a seismically active area, but that the warnings had gone unheeded.

"I not only opposed the construction of Zipingpu, but also the overdevelopment of the reservoirs on Minjiang River. There are ten major reservoirs on the main river, 29 on its tributaries and a lot more smaller-scale reservoirs, all of which block the flow of the entire river, and are very hazardous to the local geology," he said.

Although Sichuan is an earthquake-prone region, many scientists were caught by surprise by the magnitude of the quake. Christian Klose, a scientist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, said there had not been any "major seismic activity" on that fault line for millions of years.

He argued that the sudden shift of a huge quantity of water into the region could have simultaneously relaxed the tension between the two sides of the fault, allowing them to move apart, and also increased the direct pressure enough to cause a violent rupture. The effect was "25 times more" than a year's worth of natural stress from tectonic movement, he said.

Although the official government line is that its massive construction projects had nothing to do with the quake, some state researchers in Beijing have called for a full investigation. Lei Xinglin, of the China Earthquake Administration, said that the Zipingpu reservoir "clearly affected the local seismicity and it is worthwhile to study the role it played in triggering the earthquake further". He added that firm conclusions remain "premature" however.

There is a history of earthquakes triggered by dams, including several caused by the construction of the Hoover dam in the US, but none of such a magnitude.

1 comment:

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