Something to Worry About

One of the things that has bothered me through all the MSM’s coverage of the tsunami tragedy, and this includes CNN, MSNBC, FoxNews, and the local New York affiliates (I am at the parents house at the Joisey Shore), is their attempts to try and draw inflammatory pictures of what could happen to the United States in the event of a tsunami producing event, be it earthquake, meteor/comet, or even an upwelling of sea gasses.

The subduction zone in the Oregon area has show little history of producing tidal waves. Neither have the faults from California to Canada, though the fault zones in Alaska have provided tsunami’s.

Now, I am not, by any means, attempting to make light of the tragedy in the Indian Ocean, but the MSM’s need to do their homework. 2 of the greatest natural threats to the United States are Yellowstone Park and the New Madrid Seismic Zone.

Yellowstone? Yup. Most of Yellowstone National Park is in fact a "Super-volcano." It explodes every 600,000 years or so. The last big one was around 640,000 years ago. So, we are overdue. This link is very slightly hysteric, but the science is dead on, and incorporates much of what is know about Yellowstone. And, just for reference, I have seen this same type of information on the National Geographic Channel and the Discovery Channel.

Second on the list of dangers is the New Madrid Seismic Zone. Essentially, this is an area encompassing where Missouri, Arkansas, and Tennessee meet. This is an area know for producing magnitude 8 and higher earthquakes, as it did in 1811-1812. There were 3 magnitude 8+ earthquakes during that time. Scientists estimate a 90% chance of a magnitude 6-7 in the next 50 years. The issue is that the sediment in the central US to the east coast is hard rock, and, unlike in California, will transmit the waves much farther. Essentially, a 6-7 could be felt in Chicago (briefly), and could seriously damage St. Louis.

Something to think about.

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15 Responses to “Something to Worry About”

  1. the Pirate says:

    Our brains must be on a similar wave-length. I know exactly what you are talking about, I brieflt touched the New Madrid Seismic zone and have seen the Discovery Channel thing on Yellowstone bulging and mass human extinction a few dozen times. Good background.
    What is most worry-some is that while not probably, it is possible for most parts of the country to have a earthquake and the cuilding codes are not up to sniff to handle the forces. I’d ahte to see Boston after a good shake, there won’t be much left.

    In a engineerign sense the unfrotunate thing is our abilty to learn from this will be severly limited byt a lack of local monitoring devices and interms of siesmic activity they do not have the latest structures we have so we loose the valueble real-world experince of them facing a large quake. Which allows for greater improvements to the building code.

  2. Yo. Talking about “the MSM’s” is kind of silly, doncha think? It isn’t a monolith or a cabal, you know. It is like you talking about “the peoples”. Maybe “the governments”. It means squat.

    Quit posting drunk, BTW. So many [sic]’s in this one I don’t know where to start.

    Love ‘ya man. Seriously.

  3. Damn, Pirate. You too?

  4. As to substance, something can be done about tsunamis . . . warnings. It was known for 2.5 hours that one would hit (in certain areas) and it was not possible to propogate the warning to enough people. This was a known risk . . . it should have been considered. This applies elsewhere. Half an hour to move three hundred feet from the beach would have saved thousands.

    Yellowstone is hopeless. If it happens, there is not a damned thing that can be done by anyone. It will be global. Period.

    New Madrid . . . well, what can I say. You can’t predict an earthquake. The biggest risk is Memphis with its old brick construction. What to do except mandate better building codes and retrofitting? Think that would fly?

  5. Ogre says:

    Pusillanimous is on the same wavelength as the MSM — spend more money (that, obviously, has to be taken by force from the people), and everything will be OK. Would you nevous nellies start trusting the government? Just do you work and give them your money and you will be fine.

  6. A series of horns, like the tornado warning sirens (that I am so accustomed to living in AR and OK for my whole life), set up along beaches in earthquake-prone areas could have made the difference between life and death for tens of thousands of people, Ogre. It could have given many, many, many people an hour or two to seek higher ground or move further inland.

    Considering the cost in lives lost, and the medical care needed for survivors (and those that will develop disease later), such a relatively cheap system in active coastal areas would actually save money.

    But I see your point. I suppose my silly tax-and-spend big-government liberal ideals are just biased toward throwing your hard earned money at the problem of saving my ass from 300 mph winds, huh?

    Tell you what . . . let’s try it your oh-so-wise conservative way. Of course, we’d then have to give back the military, the interstate highway system, firefighters and their equipment, police forces, etc.

    Oooo, wait, I know! Pay-as-you-go! Like if your house is on fire, you’ll just call a private company and they’ll send you a bill after! Or, how ’bout this one . . . if someone attacks the United States, our lean new small government will do a telethon to raise the money needed to defend us.

    Yeah. I like that last one especially, because on the flipside . . . I won’t have to pay for US STARTING wars I don’t like anymore!!

  7. I see you fixed the spelling, Teach. hehehehe

  8. JulieB says:

    We have all kinds of radio warnings for tsunamis along the coast. The emergency broadcast system works just fine – they used it on Monday for flood warnings. While the USGS knew there was a huge earthquake in the Indian Ocean there was no “Emergency Warning” system in the countries to call.
    The earthquake thing – just watch St.Helens. It was looking iffy back there in October I think, and there were all kinds of warnings going out in the So. Washington area. Problem is, it’s Ranier that could cause some real problems and there is no way to evacuate the Seattle area. They’ll be toasted in their cars. All of the northwest is volcanic. We pump waste water up to the local geysers for additional steam to generate electricity, for pete sake. Could it all blow? Yes, and it probably will. But when?

  9. Ogre says:

    Sounds good to me, Pusillanimous. In fact, there are some areas of this country that do just that — the Fire Department is supported by the locals, if you want to pay for it. If you don’t, that’s fine, too.

    See, the problem here is that I’m willing to give some money to help the people over there — but my $100, $500, or even $1000 is meaningless, knowing that the govt is giving $15 billion. Why bother giving when they’re freely taking it from me?

  10. The problem, PW, is that the Indian Ocean has not been known as a tsunami area. They have never asked for any type of system, and we can only be the daddies for so much of the world. Also, if you look at Hawaii, many of their warnings are ignored or treated as curiosities. Much like with Hurricane warnings, many do not take them seriously.

    I am surprised that there aren’t any systems in the Indian at all, considering the military bases in Diego Garcia.

    Also, what spelling? Me kown fex ani spilling after postng thise the firts timy

  11. Whether the Indian Ocean has been known as a tsunami area is irrelevant. They SHOULD have known. The Indo-Austrailian plate is currently barreling into the Eurasian plate, notably at Java trench, and the and the fabled “Ring of Fire” lies right off of Indonesia. This was inevitable.

    And I didn’t mean US setting up the warning system. I meant THEY should have done it. They still should. As far as “why bother? they won’t take them seriously anyway” . . . I have a feeling that one of the biggest natural disasters in recorded history might have just changed a few attitudes.

    And Ogre, it is $15 million. With an “M”. The president’s inaguration will cost $40 million. To be fair, however, Powell said today that that was only an “initial” amount, and that the overall aid will be far higher. You’ve got a problem with U.S. foreign aid there, Ogre? Yeah. I kinda knew you would. You seem to have a problem with “your” money being spent anywhere you don’t have direct say. It might benefit somebody you don’t like. Me? Well, I know our GDP is $11 trillion (with a “T”) so it doesn’t really get my panties in a bunch. Besides . . . like investing in early warning systems . . . the money spent will probably come back to you. Global economy and all that.

  12. Yes, we lost a lot of innocent people (I’m guessing 150,000+ when the tsunami and its after affects are alll factored in), but keep in mind, some really bad people died too.

    That should at least count as a silver lining. FWIW, the East Coast is subject to a very real tsunami threat that makes the Sumatra tsunami look like a ripple in the bathtub.

    BTW, this is my first visit to the site. Got to see other bloggers that can spell “E-C-U”. Can someone call Boli’s for and ask if they’ll deliver to New York?

  13. Hopefully, PW, they would take it seriously. But, after awhile, folks tend to diminish the danger. Think about the tsunami in Kilo, Hawaii back in the 60’s. Certainly, they didn’t have the loss of life, but it really affected the Hawaiian Islands. Now, warnings are often treated as curiosities. You are right that there should at least be a system. If people choose to listen or not, that is there problem.

    Confederate Yankee, I can probably stop by B’s Barbecue during my next foray to Greenville for ya.

  14. the Pirate says:

    Also as a side effect the City of Hilo just happened to not rebuild the areas that got destroyed, turned it into parkland instead. Not a bad idea.

  15. B’s is still open? Someone told me that they were ready to close up shop and retire.

    Now THAT would be a tragedy.

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