Sunday, August 28, 2011

I Love the Whole World...

... and all it’s craziness
Boom-de-ah-da, boom-de-ah-da
Boom-de-ah-da, boom-de-ah-da

Remember that Discovery Channel commercial? Well, if you want to love all the craziness, now is the time, especially if you live in the Eastern U.S. Not only did they get a fairly strong earthquake last week, they are also dealing with Hurricane Irene clawing its way up the Eastern seaboard. Both the earthquake and the hurricane are not as bad as they potentially could have been, but bad enough.

The earthquake was interesting, not so much for it’s occurrence (in fact, earthquakes happen in the eastern part of the continent with fair regularity) but for what it says about the geography of eastern North America. The earthquake, while reasonably mild in terms of intensity, propagated over a wide area due to the rocky nature of the terrain. Now imagine that same earthquake but stronger. The magnitude was 5.8, but imagine it ten (6.8), a hundred (7.8) or a thousand (8.8) times stronger. It’s rare, but it could happen.

Less unusual, but still rare is Hurricane Irene. This is the first hurricane to make landfall in three years, and the first in decades to claw its way up the eastern seaboard. It has killed at least eight people and left two million people without power. The category of this storm? A One, and a weak Category One at that, although it is a very large storm in area. But now consider what would happen if Irene had held up as a Category Three as it was previously, or even gained intensity as it ran northward?

Luckily, both earthquake and hurricane have been mild, and are atypical events. At least that’s what we like to think. In reality, over the span of geological time, they are regular, not at all unusual events. It is merely our personal, short time line that makes them seem so, but bigger and badder things are in fact inevitable across the planet.

As the commercial said: “ The World is just…awesome.”

It is indeed. Make sure you’re prepared just in case some of that awesome happens where you live.


1 comment:

  1. Didn't Earl make landfall last year? Or was that tropical storm by the time it hit?

    Generally hurricanes won't gain strength as they go North since they feed off warm water and the water gets colder as you go more Northward.

    With the crazy weather these days it's better to be prepared for sure. Never know when that next freak event will happen.