26 January 2010

Danny Glover vindicated (well sort of)

Like many others I had a good laugh when actor Danny Glover suggested the earthquake in Haiti was caused by climate change.
So, I was astonished to read the following article suggesting that it may be true - climate change did contribute to the Haiti earthquake.  Of course, it was natural climate change that occurred 10,000 years ago when the ice sheets melted.

Here's how it works: when huge ice sheets build up on land the weight of the ice compresses the land which in turn slows the drift of tectonic plates - the latter being responsible for earthquakes.  When the ice sheets of the last ice age melted it freed the plates to move around a bit more.  So, Danny Glover's half right; it was contributed to by climate change - just not human-made climate change.

If you take a look at the following GPS chart of continental drift you'll see that the Antarctic plate is going nowhere and appears anchored to the spot by the world's biggest ice sheets. (1, 2)

Greenland and Antarctica are pushed down by the weight of the huge ice sheets so much that much of the land is actually below sea level.

Another thing I've heard suggested about that earthquake is that US nukes did it as a test run for using bunker busting nukes on Iran.  To be honest that wouldn't surprise me, however Haiti is on three fault lines and so is prone to natural earthquakes without any assistance.  You can check out the fault lines with a Google Earth plugin or use this viewer:

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