I want to drill this message into the brain-matter of Governor Bobby Jindal who equated the monitoring of volcanoes as pork and wasteful spending. Clearly it is not as one now reads that Italy suffered a devastating earthquake.
Earthquakes are just as deadly as any eruption coming from any volcano as one reads this AP account, “A powerful earthquake in mountainous central Italy knocked down whole blocks of buildings early Monday as residents slept, killing at least 91 people in the country's deadliest quake in nearly three decades. Tens of thousands were homeless and 1,500 were injured.”
Can the governor conceptualize 91 deaths and 1,500 injured due to this natural disaster? Does that even compute? Well it should since his state suffered during Hurricane Katrina. This lone quake which can trigger other quakes along its fault line lasted a mere 30 seconds. In that short amount of time, 91 died.
While I realize this earthquake took place in Italy, let it be known, some experts are still waiting for the ‘Big One’ in states such as California which are highly populated. Even as Alaska’s, Mount Redoubt has sent off many signals lately by erupting, one must take note that this is within the region called, ‘The Ring of Fire’.
According to Wikipedia.org, “90% of the world's earthquakes and 80% of the world's largest earthquakes occur along the Ring of Fire.” With these high percentages, does the governor wish to reevaluate his statement?
Like volcanoes, earthquakes release pressure built up under the Earth’s mantle and can blow at anytime. Those who live in these areas live as if a time-clock is ticking away and never knowing when such devastating forces will erupt or quake.
To monitor the Earth is not wasteful spending when one reads this account, “Some 10,000 to 15,000 buildings were either damaged or destroyed, officials said. L'Aquila Mayor Massimo Cialente said about 100,000 people were homeless.” While most buildings in California are built to code to withstand earthquakes, it does not make them invincible.
We may not know the magnitude of an earthquake that will hit any living within ‘The Ring of Fire’ here in the United States, since the AP reported that this quake, registered a “magnitude 6.3, but Italy's National Institute of Geophysics put it at 5.8 and more than a dozen aftershocks followed.” But one only has to remember the deadly quake that hit California on October 17, 1989. It was named the Loma Prieta earthquake. It was the most powerful earthquake to have hit the bay area since 1906.
According to the U.S.G.S., that quake registered “a magnitude 6.9 (moment magnitude; surface-wave magnitude, 7.1) earthquake severely shook the San Francisco and Monterey Bay regions.”
On their site, one can go from thumb-nail shot to thumb-nail shot in order to remember the destruction this one quake caused.
As one reads this report on how Japan monitor’s both earthquakes and tsunamis, please read this portion, “Earthquakes can occur and cause damages anywhere in Japan. Therefore, we should maintain ourselves to be prepared for earthquakes and take appropriate actions on occurrence of earthquakes....JMA monitors seismic activities in and around Japan around the clock, and issues tsunami warning/information"
Japan does this because, "More than 130,000 earthquakes occurred in 2005 around Japan including small ones which people do not feel." Japan is also placed within ‘the ring of fire’ and as recently as 2005, “Japan suffered from serious damages from major earthquakes, such as "the Mid Niigata Prefecture Earthquake in 2004", which recorded seismic intensity 7”
I do feel that the monitoring of earthquakes as well as volcanoes is meritorious since it has the propensity to save lives. As we throw good money after bad fighting insane wars, propping up financial institutions who we say cannot fail, the earth just waits to erupt under our feet. What will these elected officials say to those harmed by them? They may think in the recesses of their mind, “We thought the monitoring of the earth was pork and the protection of your life was wasteful.” But, will come before any camera available to them stating just how sorry they were. Not good enough!
I just wish that those like Gov. Jindal who think that this is wasteful spending would sit and watch this video feed of the Loma Prieta earthquake and look at the devastation and even the fright of those who reported it. These are all human beings and not simply statistics.
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