A new theory has been put forward by a scientist working in New Zealand to explain the recently published increase in earthquake and volcanic activity these past few decades. Seismologists have noted the recent global trend towards increasing earthquake and volcanic activity but speculations on a potential cause of increased activity still don’t tell us much. No theory has yet been put forward as a credible explanation that laymen and scientist alike can debate and verify by testing the evidence. The new theory ties together a number of intriguing observations that have baffled even leading scientists.
The theory starts by examining the hypothesis of climate change. Many scientists question the validity of climate change and rightly so – much of the information and climate-modelling is complex and recent global climate trends and sea levels have not followed predictions of the greenhouse gas model. Although mean global temperatures may be starting to creep upwards again after a decade of relative stability that trend does NOT correlate with a century of constantly rising CO2 and greenhouse gas levels. Furthermore sea levels were rising a century ago before greenhouse gasses increased. But well documented research shows that many glaciers have melted so fast over the past few decades that they have vanished from the face of the earth forever. Many glaciers that remain are today facing the same fate. Similarly, summer fragmentation of Arctic and Antarctic ice shelves is accelerating and seasonal snow cover on many snow-capped mountains is decreasing. If the amount of sediment filling the ocean floor from erosion of continents is taken into account then the average rise in sea levels as a result of the melting ice is also lower than predicted by climate scientists. So these observations demand closer inquiry.
On the basis of geophysical research it has been established that the tectonic plates forming the earth’s crust are gigantic islands of solidified magma that literally float on hotter, molten magma. The hypothesized circulating convection currents flowing in the molten magma drive the tectonic plates along at very slow but steady rates. Many plates separate and grow from the rift valleys at the bottom of the oceans and the opposite edges of the plates crash together at the steep mountains on the continents or land formations where they pile up and where volcanoes are typically found.
These are the questions addressed by the new theory:-
 If the mean global temperature is not rising as predicted and expected from greenhouse gas increases, where is the heat trapped in the atmosphere going? To melt the ice rather than heat the atmosphere?
 If the sea level is not rising as much as expected, where is the water from the melting ice going? To the bottom of the ocean rather than to the top?
 What’s happening at the bottom of the ocean to contain the extra water? The extra mass of water causes the floating floor of the ocean to sink deeper into the magma?
 If the floating floor of the ocean is sinking deeper where does the displaced magma go? To other parts of the earth where the crust is lifting?
 Where is the earth’s crust lifting? In those mountainous regions where the mass of ice is now missing?
 Isn’t this specific movement of the earth’s crust more exaggerated than what’s been happening in past centuries?
The order of magnitude of tectonic plate strain that will be caused by the gradual reduction of land ice mass and the gradual addition of water to the bottom of the oceans can be calculated. Based on the geometry of the earth and the estimated mass of ice and water involved in the observed recent changes, static equations produce estimates of stain in the order of several centimetres per year. These figures appear to be infinitesimal; however these are the same order of magnitude as typical rates of continental drift due to magma flows. Dynamic calculations of delayed strain movement after ice and water mass movements are more complex and difficult but even if the dynamic figures are a whole order of magnitude lower, then this additional tectonic strain must accumulate and affect earthquake and volcanic activity sooner or later.
One of the few simple and meaningful correlations among the numerous global statistics available is the increasing trend in global greenhouse gas levels and the increasing trend in global energy production and industrialization. This correlation over a long period of a century or more is so close that a cause-effect relationship is extremely difficult to refute. If global energy production and industrialization [certainly man-made variable in this global laboratory] is causing the increasing trend in global greenhouse gas levels, then the increase in earthquake and volcanic activity is very likely to be man-made.
by M. J. Molyneaux (MIPENZ), B.Sc. [Eng Mat]; B. Soc. Sc. Hons., M.A.
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