Earthquake Prediction by David Nabhan

Earthquake Prediction by David Nabhan

Author:David Nabhan
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
Published: 2017-03-14T16:00:00+00:00

Saturnian moon, Prometheus, discovered in 1980 (NASA).

Chapter Eleven

4.5 Quintillion Joules

Joseph Stalin can be faulted for any number of terrible shortcomings. That’s probably the kindest way to describe someone who sent some thirty million people to their graves. No one, however, has ever accused him of one of the worst deficiencies: stupidity. Stalin was taken aback that tens of thousands of his countrymen should have perished in earthquakes in the late 1940s and didn’t waste too much time giving his ear to the excuses offered him by Soviet scientists as to why his government was blindsided by the events. Speaking as a simple son of a cobbler from Georgia, Stalin simply couldn’t believe that monumental seismic eruptions could build up and explode without giving the slightest indication prior to the fact. It defied common sense.

Comrade Stalin may have had a point.

To pick up an apple resting on a table and raise it up to one’s mouth so as to take a bite requires energy—not that much, about one joule roughly. Now, let’s put Prometheus on that table. Prometheus is one of the moons of Saturn, named for the titan who turned his back on the gods in order to befriend mankind, stealing fire from the immortals to bestow on humanity. Zeus decreed he should suffer eternal castigation for the crime and chained him to a mountain in the Caucasus—according to the folklore of Stalin’s homeland it was specifically the dormant volcano Mt. Kazbec, the third highest peak in Georgia. Every day an eagle arrived to feast upon his liver, and every night the organ grew back again so that the punishment should continue unending. Prometheus isn’t a titan of a moon, but it’s no chopped liver either—a heavenly body of more than a third of a million cubic kilometers. Imagine the muscle required to pick up a moon and yank it a full meter from the table to one’s mouth in order to take a bite out of it. Nothing like that could happen on this planet? Well, it can and it has. Manhandling Prometheus like that would require either the strength of Zeus or 1.6 quintillion joules of energy—exactly the same calculus of energy expended in 1964 when the Great Alaska Earthquake set the record for the biggest recorded seismic event in the history of North America.

Such is the energy expended when Earth quakes. One must enter the realm of mythology and numbers with interminable strings of zeros attached and beyond to begin to comprehend the landscape. It is not a friendly place for the human mind. There are quite a few sharp scientific minds, however, that do in fact agree with Joseph Stalin that earthquakes must give warning signs. It does seem very much out of step with common sense that astounding telluric movements such as the Great Alaska Earthquake should transpire right out of the blue, with not a whisper in advance of their impending wrath, with no growl or grumble prior. It has been seen in prior chapters that there may in fact be precursors announcing the next seismic catastrophe.


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