Earthwatch Issue 2 – Chandler’s Wobble, and more

Earthwatch Issue 2 – Chandler’s Wobble, and more


Global Rockhound Community Enviromental News

Issue 02: February 2007: Editor Sally Taylor:

Chandler’s Wobble:



July 18, 2000


The century-old mystery of Earth’s “Chandler wobble” has been solved by a scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. The Chandler wobble, named for its 1891 discoverer, Seth Carlo Chandler, Jr., an American businessman turned astronomer, is one of several wobbling motions exhibited by Earth as it rotates on its axis, much as a top wobbles as it spins.

Scientists have been particularly intrigued by the Chandler wobble, since its cause has remained a mystery even though it has been under observation for over a century. Its period is only around 433 days, or just 1.2 years, meaning that it takes that amount of time to complete one wobble. The wobble amounts to about 20 feet at the North Pole. It has been calculated that the Chandler wobble would be damped down, or reduced to zero, in just 68 years, unless some force were constantly acting to reinvigorate it.

But what is that force, or excitation mechanism? Over the years, various hypotheses have been put forward, such as atmospheric phenomena, continental water storage (changes in snow cover, river runoff, lake levels, or reservoir capacities), interaction at the boundary of Earth’s core and its surrounding mantle, and earthquakes.

Writing in the August 1 issue of Geophysical Research Letters, Richard Gross, a JPL geophysicist, reports that the principal cause of the Chandler wobble is fluctuating pressure on the bottom of the ocean, caused by temperature and salinity changes and wind-driven changes in the circulation of the oceans. He determined this by applying numerical models of the oceans, which have only recently become available through the work of other researchers, to data on the Chandler wobble obtained during the years 1985-1995. Gross calculated that two-thirds of the Chandler wobble is caused by ocean-bottom pressure changes and the remaining one-third by fluctuations in atmospheric pressure. He says that the effect of atmospheric winds and ocean currents on the wobble was minor.

Gross credits the wide distribution of the data that underlay his calculations to the creation in 1988 of the International Earth Rotation Service, which is based in Paris, France. Through its various bureaus, he writes, the service enables the kind of interdisciplinary research that led to his solution of the Chandler wobble mystery. Gross’s research was supported by NASA’s Office of Earth Science, Washington, D.C.

JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.



Our Climate; Our Future; Our Options; Synthesis;

Scary Monsters: The eye of Ra…Part 1

Have you noticed how “climate change” has become very fashionable lately? Ever since winds touching 200 Kph ripped across Europe, big lumps of the North pole fell off, and California turned into an igloo, climate change has become very “ala mode”.

Here at RHS1 not wishing to be “unfashionable” -O). We decided to conduct our own inquiry into the truth, the realities, of climate change.

As the actual writer of this article I will make this disclaimer;

I am not a scientist, I am not an expert, I am not an authority, I am not a Journalist, you may think this is a handicap I assure you it is a great advantage…

I can be wrong, I can be alarmist, I do not need to proove anything…I have no grant to protect, no position to defend, no financial considerations or advertisers to appease. So you see I am quite at liberty to say what I please and think; however I will attempt to conduct myself with decorum and play fair.
That should calm a portion of the dawn chorus of “detail dissenters”

“All science is either physics or stamp collecting.”

Ernest Rutherford, in J. B. Birks “Rutherford at Manchester” (1962)
British chemist & physicist (1871 – 1937)

As a criteria for this enquiry…I have chosen the laws of physics which seen to be reasonably stable. Also this enquiry is a synthesis meaning everything is on the table from sub atomic particles to galactic clusters. Mathematics to clairvoyance; as we search for a “Trend”.

We open this enquiry with a simple question…

“Is our climate changing?”

Temp charts: IPCC 4th report global warming. Feb 2nd 07
Yes it is…The whole of the biosphere is on the move, migration and hibernation patterns are changeing on all levels of life; Certain marine crustaceans, birds, insects, trees, have began to march northward.

Observations of the Earth Biosphere return a YES to our question.

In Siberia the permafrost is retreating, the North pole is melting, Greenland and Antarctica are thawing out… Glaciers the world over are melting and retreating. On average glaciers have thinned by about 10.5 meters since 1980 and they’ve melted about 1.5 times faster this decade compared with the 1990s, and six times faster than in the 1980s..
Chandler’s wobble has “lost the plot”.
In fact, lakes of water are beginning to form on the Greenland ice …

Geophysical observations return a YES to our question.

Hurricane frequency has doubled from the level of the 1970s, temperatures almost reaching an all time record for a million years,

Meteorological observations return a YES to our question.

Lets ask my pal…NASA…

“Earth is now reaching and passing through the warmest levels in the current interglacial period” and that global temperature may be within one degree Celsius (1.8°F) of the maximum temperature of the past million years.

That means that further global warming of 1 degree Celsius defines a critical level. If warming is kept less than that, effects of global warming may be relatively manageable,” said Hansen. “During the warmest interglacial periods the Earth was reasonably similar to today. But if further global warming reaches 2 or 3 degrees Celsius, we will likely see changes that make Earth a different planet than the one we know. The last time it was that warm was in the middle Pliocene, about three million years ago, when sea level was estimated to have been about 25 meters (80 feet) higher than today.”

James Hansen of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City

Given the avalanche of physical evidence on the subject of climate change, RHS1 can safely state/confirm that global warming, and climate change, are indeed a “fete accompli” a fact, the truth, a reality….Anyone in denial of the evidence for whatever reason; has simply “missed the bus” or is being payed.

Here are a few others who agree with the RHS1 conclusions…

United Nations IPCC, American Meteorological Society, NOAA, U.S. National Academy of Sciences, NASA, EPA, American Geophysical Union, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Royal Society of the United Kingdom, and the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society…etc…etc

Rockhopper penguin

Sir Nicholas Stern.

“The scientific evidence is now overwhelming: Climate change is a serious global threat,
and it demands an urgent global response. “…Sir Nicholas Stern.

Next simple question..
“What will be the effects of the climate changing?”

Permit me to sum this query up in a nutshell before we start…”MEGA BAD NEWS for us all, not just human beings. The whole scale of life in the Earths biosphere will need to adjust” …
Half of all vertebrate species are reckoned to be under threat: The scientific journal Nature reports that a million species could become extinct by 2050.
Lets start with the “biblical Plagues of Egypt”. Alterations in the biosphere will bring ecological imbalance…Plagues of insects, fungi, algae, bacteria…Will increase.

The responce to this situation will probably be chemical warfare waged by Homo Sapia…In an attempt to defend food and life.


Millions of locust can’t be wrong”
To find out whats happening with the locust just click the image above
I am focusing on the Plagues of Egypt as this would appear to be a microcosm a model of climatic/ecologic imbalance sequence effects.. Its serves as an illustration of cause and effect. If anyone is under the impression that I am predicting the return of the plagues of Eygpt…I am not .

10 plagues of Eygpt.

Natural explanations for the 10 plagues of Eygpt

Some science writers and Bible researchers have suggested that the plagues were passed-down accounts of ordinary natural/ecological disasters, and not supernatural miracles. Natural explanations have been suggested for most of the phenomena:

* (plague 1water turned into blood, fish died)
o The redness in the Nile could have actually been pollution caused by volcanic activity, which, due to the color of Nile silt, could make the Nile turn blood red, and would also render it undrinkable. Heavy rains in the red-soiled area of Lake Victoria could have caused reddened water to wash downstream.
o Alternatively, a red toxic algal bloom (red tide) could have produced large quantities of toxins that would kill fish. o Earthquakes could have caused a limnic eruption the same way it happened at Lake Nyos.

* (plague 2 frogs) Any blight on the water that killed fish also would have caused frogs to leave the river and, probably, die.

* (plagues 3 and 4 biting insects and flies) The lack of frogs in the river would have let insect populations, normally kept in check by the frogs, increase massively.

* (plagues 5 and 6 livestock disease and boils) There are biting flies in the region which transmit livestock diseases; a sudden increase in their number could spark epidemics.

* (plague 7 hail) Volcanic activity not only brings with it ash, but brimstone, and also alters the weather system, occasionally producing hail. Hail could also have occurred as a completely independent natural weather event.

* (plague 8 locusts) The weight of hail will destroy most crops, leaving several insects and other animals without a normal food source. The remaining crops therefore would become targeted heavily, and thus be destroyed by swarms of locusts which would otherwise be distributed rather thinly. Or the locusts could have increased due to a lack of predators. Even without these explanations, swarms of locusts are not uncommon today.

* (plague 9 darkness) There could be several causes for unusual darkness: a solar eclipse, a sandstorm, volcanic ash, or simply swarms of locusts large enough to block out the sun.

* (plague 10 death of the firstborn) o If the last plague indeed selectively tended to affect the firstborn, it could be due to food polluted during the time of darkness, either by locusts or by the black mold Cladosporium. When people emerged after the darkness, the firstborn would be given priority, as was usual, and would consequently be more likely to be affected by any toxin or disease carried by the food.

o The word we know as “firstborn” may have meant the higher social class rather than literally the eldest sons, but the same argument applies.

o In the 2006 documentary Exodus Decoded, Jewish Canadian filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici hypothesised the selectiveness of the tenth plague was under the circumstances similar to the 1986 disaster of Lake Nyos that is related to geological activities that caused the previous plagues in a related chain of events. The hypothesis was that the plagues took place shortly after the eruption of Thera (now known as Santorini), which is thought to have happened some time between 1450 BCE and 1650 BCE. The eruption sets off a chain of events resulting in the plagues and eventually the killing of the first born. Jacobovici suggests that the first borns in ancient Egypt had the privilege to sleep close to the floor while other children slept on higher ground or even on roofs. Like in Lake Nyos, when carbon dioxide or other toxic gases escape the surface tension of a nearby waterbody either due to geological activity or over satuation, the gas being heavier than air, “flooded” the nearby area displacing oxygen and killing those who were in its path. Jewish households escaped the fate because they were told to observe their first Passover rituals.

A volcanic eruption which happened in antiquity and could have caused some of the plagues if it occurred at the right time is the eruption of the Thera volcano 650 miles to the northwest of Egypt. Controversially dated to about 1628 BC, this eruption is one of the largest on record, rivaling that of Tambora, which resulted in 1816’s Year Without a Summer. The enormous global impact of this eruption has been recorded in an ash layer deposit found in the Nile delta, tree ring frost scars in the bristlecone pines of the western United States, and a coating of ash in the Greenland ice caps, all dated to the same time and with the same chemical fingerprint as the ash from Thera.

The volcanic ash could have polluted the Nile, turning it red, leading to frogs leaving the river. The ash and lack of frogs in the river would have affected the ecology of the Eastern Mediterranean, possibly resulting in the plagues of lice, flies, pestilence, and locusts. Hot ash coming into contact with skin could have caused the plague of boils, if not caused by the lice/flies, and storms caused by the Theran ash cloud could have resulted in the plague of hail, and the ash would have subsequently blotted out the sun (a phenomenon well documented in the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens) to make day into night for the plague of darkness.

Indeed the plagues of Eygpt are an excellent scenario for understanding what happens when the ecological balance of nature is interfered with…Now imagine this happening not in a local eco-system like Eygpt…Imagine this happening to the whole world, our entire planet over….MEGA BAD NEWS.

“Climate change will affect the basic elements of life for people around the world – access to water, food production, health, and the environment. Hundreds of millions of people could suffer hunger, water shortages and coastal flooding as the world warms. Using the results from formal economic models, the Review estimates that if we don’t act, the overall costs and risks of climate change will be equivalent to losing at least 5% of global GDP each year, now and forever. If a wider range of risks and impacts is taken into account, the estimates of damage could rise to 20% of GDP or more.”
STERN REVIEW: The Economics of Climate Change

Well done the BBC.

A computer model of climate run on home PCs in conjunction with the BBC has yielded its first results. About 250,000 people downloaded software from

For 2020, the prediction is that temperatures in Britain will be about 1.2C warmer than in the 1970s, chosen as the baseline for this project.

Temperatures are already almost 1C warmer than in the 1970s, so the rise over the next decade or so will be small if the model is right.

“In 2050, they will be about 2.5C higher than the 1970s; while by 2080, the figure could be 4C.

The predictions are not exact; and the further from the present day you look, the greater variability there is, so that by 2080 the rise could be as low as 2C or as high as 6C.”

Golden Toad

Millions of frogs can’t be wrong”
To find out whats happening with the frogs just click the image above

“What is responsible for the Global Warming?”

Alexander cuts the Gordian Knot.

Alexander cuts the Gordian Knot.
Answering this question is akin to unraveling the Gordian knot, down a coal mine, in the middle of the night, wearing a blindfold and boxing gloves…

In January/February 07, 6OO scientists, experts, and specialists, from 150 countries assembled in Paris under the banner of the United Nations to addressed this question …They had a their disposal the work of 2,500 scientists from around the globe gathered over the past five years.The conclusions of the 600 were then examined and scrutinised by a further 600 scientists, experts, and specialists, you can download and read their 12 page summary (format PDF) by clicking the image below

IPCC 4th Report

The fourth assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC) confirming catastrophic predictions on
global warming and its effect on nature and weather cycles over coming decades.

Let’s take example from Alexander the Great and see if we can cleave right through the global gordian knot of climatic complexity with the sword of the intellect.

There are only 4 possible ways to warm up the planet Earth according to the laws of physics, particularly thermo-dynamics.

  • (1) The background radiation of the universe(Comic rays) becomes hotter.
  • (2) The Sun becomes hotter.
  • (2) The internal core of planet Earth becomes hotter,
  • (3) Earth’s atmosphere is producing a “greenhouse effect” reflecting heat back to the planets surface…

I have excluded “being microwaved by extraterrestrials and setting the planet on fire as “off the wall”.

So take your pick

If you picked No 4 you selected the most popular choice. However keep an eye on number 2.

Lets start with no 4…

Earth’s atmosphere is producing a “greenhouse effect” reflecting heat back to the planets surface…

Interlude before we address this question

So far this article is pretty much the same as all the others on this subject…Yet whats the point of having total liberty of expression if its not employed? So this is were, like “Chandler’s Wobble”, we do a 90° phase shift turn….As we cannot arrive at a “dead reckoning” of this matter if we simply regurgitate facts, figures, and opinions…

Dead reckoning is well known to rockhounds and sailors, it means after observing things in your immediate environment, like,which way the river flows, the position of the sun in the sky, if the land slopes upward or downward..You pick a direction thats “Near enough” the direction in which you wish to go. Its certainly not scientific however it’s “near enough”.

Incidentally…Dead reckoning is used by Nature, Life, which apprantly has not the slightest interest in the infuriating concrete precision of exactitude that science holds up as a virtue. Your ears, your eyes, your hands are not exactly the same…They are “near enough”.

As stated in the beginning of the investigation ” this enquiry is a synthesis meaning everything is on the table from sub atomic particles to galactic clusters. Mathematics to clairvoyance; as we search for a “Trend”.”

“Quantify not; That thou shalt be quantified.”

The first task in this investigation is to “clear the field” in order that we may quantify our quest for a trend; Thats what scientists do, they start by quantifying things, which seems a sound logical method for sorting things out.

So the first thing to quantify is “scientists” who are one of the prime movers in this matter. Why? Let a scientist answer this question….
“One could not be a successful scientist without realizing that, in contrast to the popular conception
supported by newspapers and mothers of scientists, a goodly number of scientists are not only
narrow-minded and dull, but also just stupid.”
J. D. Watson, “The Double Helix”
O Dear! Now perhaps you understand our first move in this swamp….Here we have a scientist (one of the guys who discovered the the architecture of the DNA) saying scientists are stupid, not all of them, but a “goodly number”???

A “goodly number”! Now this is a bit of “fancy footwork”, and not at all scientific, how many is a “goodly number”? As we have insufficient data to discover this elusive “goodly number”….We must neccesarily chose a default number which should not be bias, therefore 50% of scientists are stupid…

We to would be stupid not to consider this as a serious handicap…Because how can we differentiate the stupid ones from the not stupid ones? I don’t know.
This is important because they are responsible for telling us whats real and whats not real, true or not true in respect of global warming and climate change..

As well they are continually contradicting each other insisting they are each correct, this is part of the rigour, the continual debate, a disipline of the “scientific method”…This state of affairs makes if incredibly difficult to spot the stupid ones.

In fact even before the the UN ICPP scientific 4th report global warming was published…A bunch of scientists published on the Web site of the journal “Science”challenging the accuracy of certain figures as quoted in the report…Groan!

“The data available for the period since 1990 raise concerns that the climate system, in particular sea level, may be responding more quickly to climate change than our current generation of models indicates.”

Click here for more information…

“when the search for truth is confused with political advocacy, the pursuit of knowledge is reduced to the quest for power.”…Alston Chase.

Now to add a bit more fog to this situation it is reported that politician’s ( the next bunch to be quantified ) have been “interfering censoring, changeing, controlling, misrepresenting..The results and works of some scientists viz a viz global warming and climate change.
“More than 120 scientists across seven federal agencies say they have been pressured to remove references to “climate change” and “global warming” from a range of documents, including press releases and communications with Congress. Roughly the same number say appointees altered the meaning of scientific findings on climate contained in communications related to their research.                                                                     Peter N. Spotts…Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

More interference…This time from “Multinational corporation interests…Who also will not escape the quantifying of their “pedigree” in this enquiry …

“Scientists and economists have been offered $10,000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world’s largest oil companies to undermine a major climate change report due to be published today. Letters sent by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an ExxonMobil-funded thinktank with close links to the Bush administration, offered the payments for articles that emphasise the shortcomings of a report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).”

Click here to discover more

As you are no doubt becoming aware…This is not a short article, given the state of things. Indeed It is the intention of RHS1 continue with this quest until we have a direction.
So far by dead reckoning we “Know for fact/truth” thats near enough;
  • 1…On a global scale…The temperature has risen/ is rising…
  • 2…On a global scale…Climate patterns are changing…
  • 3…We cannot be 100% certain of the validity of information, received, regarding 1&2 in this list…

The grasslands of Kenya and Tanzania are turning into deserts…The annual wildebeest migration across the Serengeti is fast becoming history.. The wildebeest are dying en masse.

End of the Wildebeest?

Millions of Wildebeest can’t be wrong”
To find out whats happening with the Wildebeest just click the image above

“Science is leading the way, problem is, it doesn’t know were its going -O)”

Part 2 of this article: See next months…RHS1 Earthwatch Page

Now this is a very ongoing topical subject concerning us all…Due to this fact..RHS1 has opened a new forum “The Earthwatch forum” were you can comment..Contribute, to this topic…As it has unfolded so far..


Earthwatch forum

Click here or the image above to visit the Earthwatch forum.

The Kuril Islands

The Kuril Island Chain
On November 15th, 2006 the earth convulsed with a magnitude 8.3 earthquake in the Kuril Island region. Since that date, as of the last day of January 2007, there have been 89 other earthquakes of magnitude 5 or greater in the Kuril Island region – including yet another slamming shake of magnitude 8.1, and numerous smaller quakes adding to the mix. Add three active volcanoes, Chikurachki, Ebeko, and Alaid which have been erupting periodically since the 1800’s and numerous other now dormant volcanic cones that have the potential of re-awakening at any time and what you come up with is a violently turbulent area of the Earth worth some investigation.

The Kuril Island Region statistics:

One of the most active volcanic areas in the world.
56 Islands, including 20 major Islands, forming a 700 mile (1,300km) string from the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia to the Island of Hokkaido, Japan. All Islands are volcanic summits.
2 Ridges:
The Greater Kuril Ridge – Shiretoko Peninsula (Hokkaido) and all of Islands from Kunashir on north to the Kamchatkan Peninsula
The Lesser Kuril Ridge – Nemuro Peninsula , Habomai Islands, Shikotan and the Vityaz Ridge which runs NE.
Over thirty active volcanos and hundreds of dormant ones.
Contains world’s second largest concentration of geysers and hot springs. Yellowstone is the first.

Formation of the Islands

The islands are relatively new in terms of land masses – about 90 million years. They consist of a string of volcanic summit islands running from the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia and Hokkaido, Japan and separating the Sea of Okhotsk from the Pacific Ocean. The Kuril Island area, also known as the Kuril Archipelago was created when the Kula Plate collided with Siberia during the late Creataceous period. This created a subduction zone, which is an area where one of the tectonic plates is sliding underneath another, creating a trench. As the edges of the plates grind together, some of the material is pushed downward to return to the earth’s mantel and some will be pushed upward causing the formation volcanoes, as well as creating seismetic activity, that is, earthquakes.

The Kuril-Kamchatka Trench
The Kuril-Kamchatka Trench was formed as a result of the collision of these plates and the volcanism created in the trench area resulted in the creation of the Academy of Sciences Rise and the Lesser Kuril Ridge. As the subduction continued into the Paleocene and Eocene eras, the Lesser Kuril Ridge began to surface. There is evidence that this ridge was submerged during a portion of the Eocene and Oligocene periods (30MYA) Late in the Oligocene era the arc began to rotate clockwise the basin the Sea of Okhotsh began to take formation.

Volcanic activity resumed in the area of the Kuril-Kamchatka Ridge during this time frame as well. Volcanic activity on the lesser Kuril Ridge ceased during the end of this time period.The Hidaka Mountains of Hokkaido are thought to have been formed when the Greater Kuril Ridge and the Kuril-Kamchatka Trench decoupled and the Kuril Plate began to migrate southwest, eventually colliding the Lesser Kuril Ridge with the Eurasian plate in the Miocene era. This collision also accounts for the placement of the arc of Islands in the present day.

By the Miocene era the Kuril Islands area had mostly reached their present formation; however, there is evidence that the Southern islands did not emerge until the Pliocene era. It is speculated that the Islands have remained above water since this time period. A few of the smaller Islands have emerged more recently due to extreme volcanic activity in the area of the Kuril-Kamchatka Trench.

It is further speculated that glacial activity lowered water levels a few times between 10,000 and 30,000 years ago so that the Southern most and Northern most Islands which have only shallow trenches between them were probably connected to each other and the mainland at periods of time in the recent past.

Now in our present era, the Greater Kuril Ridge is still a source of major earthquakes and volcanic activity area as the plates continue to shift. While the Volcanic cones may not look impressive from the surface they are actually quite large and hold capacity for major activity. It must be remembered that a vast majority of these volcanic mountains are submerged up to 34,000 feet from our view, which is the depth of the some portions of the Kuril Trench


Archaeology and Paleontology

Archaeological and Paleontological studies conducted on the Islands revealed many interesting artifacts. Interest in the islands began with the spotting of raised circular formations which have since been identified as military installation remains, but artifacts are turning up some interesting findings about island habitation. Stone artifacts and pottery artifacts are revealing that not only have humans inhabited some of the Kuril Islands longer than had been suspected (up to 3,000 BP) but also that inhabitants lived further toward the central Islands than previously had been believed. Two pieces of ceramic pottery show possibilities of even earlier inhabitation. Volcanic turbulence of the Islands has possibly buried earlier archaeological sites, however such disturbances can be helpful in giving scientists time markers to go by in their studies.

The acidic nature of the area is not good for fossilization, however, it has been found that some forms of animals did inhabit the Islands. Most of these were marine mammals, rodents, bats, deer, and birds.

The Future of the Islands

Despite the hostile terrain, skiers, hikers, and explorers are making their way to explore the islands. Whether the subduction zones will finally settle or whether the plates will continue to shift cannot be foretold. It is unlikely, though, that we will see the cease of volcano eruptions and earthquakes from this region in our lifetime. In light of the scale of the voracity of current earthquakes shaking those areas we might yet see more major destruction in nearby coastal areas if the high intensity quakes continue.

Atlasov island in the kuril chain: Seen from Space.

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