Tuesday, 3 January 2012

2012 and all that ...

The Postulant recently sent me a link to a science blog which discusses, from a geologists perspective, all the hype about the date 21-12-2012, the supposed "end of the world" date as calculated - in some interpretations - in the Mayan Calendar. In the blog Highly Allochthonous (Yeah, I know, I had to look that one up! To save others the trouble - it means a geological deposit that originated somewhere else.) the author describes the geologists responses to some of the more "way out" theories about the "end of the world." Their predictions make music to my ears, the only one I don't agree with is the comment about "carbon balances" - and that only because I do believe humanity is changing aspects of our climate, but not the way Greenstrife and other eco-terrorists claim. Put simply, if you increase the human population beyond what the land and its resources can support you get increased run-off when it rains, you get crop failures, you get droughts and you get floods somewhere else. Focussing on CO2 is misleading and time (and money) wasting!

Highly Allochthonous predicts -

In 2012:
  • The Earth’s tectonic plates will continue to move across the mantle at a few centimetres a year. Earthquakes and volcanoes will result in the usual fashion.
  • Based on the last century of seismic activity
  • , there will be 10-20 earthquakes with a moment magnitude greater than 7.0, with a good chance that at least one will exceed magnitude 8. Most of the largest are likely to be associated with subduction zones, with the consequent risk of a tsunami if they rupture at shallow depths.
  • There will be more than a hundred earthquakes between magnitude 6 and 7, which have the potential to cause considerable damage if the rupture occurs close to a major city.
  • As Erik Klemetti will tell you, volcanic eruptions happen all the time, and in 2012 they will continue to do so. Some will fairly harmlessly ooze lava; others will behave more explosively, mimicing this year’s Pliny-winning Puyehue-Cordón Caulle in Chile. But unless something really spectacular happens, akin to Mount Pinatubo’s eruption in 1991, all of these eruptions will be eclipsed by breathless speculation about any slight seismic activity that occurs beneath Katla, the Yellowstone caldera, or any volcano in the Pacific Northwest.
  • In a number of places, too much rain will fall in too short a time, and flooding will result. When this occurs in a rich western country, there will be relatively low casualties, a large bill for damages, and lots of media coverage; when it happens in a poorer country, casualties will be higher and many more people will be displaced, but the media will pay far less attention.
  • Scientists will continue point to the serious consequences of climate change as a result of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions (which will continue to inexorably rise). The climate itself will continue to push up past the ‘normal’ range in which our civilisation developed and is tuned to flourish in. The resulting extreme weather events – be they heatwaves, floods, or unusually powerful storms – are far more likely to be attributed to mystical cosmic cycles than our disruption of the carbon cycle.

Read the whole of their enlightening post here. I've deliberately left the links in, even though some of what is said about the climate has now been amended and is being challenged - particularly the infamous and patently falsified "hockey stick" graph.

As I remarked in my previous post on all the Doomsday scenarios some folk just feel so utterly drawn to, there does seem to be something about our current society that simply thrives on dreaming up these dire events and outcomes! At least these geologists point up the realities behind some of the more exciting ones. Personally I can't wait to see the excuses that will have to be dreamed up when 21 December rolls past just as it always has.

Postscript: This is why the Hockey Stick is, in my opinion, fraudulent.

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