Earthwatch Issue 8 Carbon Tax, and more

Earthwatch Issue 8 Carbon Tax, and more

Issue 08: 2007: Editor Sally Taylor:

In this issue:Carbon Tax:- Al Gore: Profile:-Live aid concerts:-An Inconvenient Truth: Movie:-Letter to the Canadian prime minister:-France Green revolution:-Mud Volcano:-Earthquake Stats:-



The Tax Man Cometh.

America’s Climate Security Act

WASHINGTON, DC, October 18, 2007 (ENS) A bipartisan bill introduced today in the U.S. Senate proposes mandatory, not voluntary, limits on greenhouse gases with the goal of reducing the nation’s emissions more than 60 percent by mid-century. The bill’s authors say the plan is a serious and viable effort to tackle global warming and key Democrats aim to get the legislation out of committee and before the full Senate by early next year.

The proposal, introduced by Connecticut Independent Joe Lieberman and Virginia Republican John Warner, would impose greenhouse gas limits on about 75 percent of the U.S. economy, creating caps on emissions from the electric power, transportation and manufacturing industries. These sectors would be required to cut emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, with the eventual goal of reducing emissions about 62 percent from 2005 levels by 2050.

To learn more click here

What this translates to for the average working American is a rise of their monthly electricity bill from $85 (the average in 2005) to $155 (an estimate of the hike needed to lower American emissions by 5 percent by 2020). And a tax that will raise gasoline prices to $4 a gallon.

Hello there..How are you doing…In 2008 a massed overture of government dictated CO2 tax demands will begin. Following a report by the IPCC in November 2007 which will say according to Australian conservation scientist Tim Flannery “that CO2 and other greenhouse gases are critical and risk running amok ” thus trashing the planet…Fear…Horror…Pay your tax “feel safe”.

It is this writers opinion and of course I am not a lawyer nor do I posses any legal qualifications; however misrepresentation of the facts, such as claiming that human induced CO2 is definitively the cause of global warming/climate change coupled with demands to pay money. Were the evidence is, challenged, disputed, and represents only 7% of the scientific papers published on this subject 2004-2007, is illegal, and is an attempt to obtain money by false pretences as defined under the rule of law.

“Only seven percent of published papers on climate change agree with the “consensus view” that humans were having some effect on global climate change. In an updated study of peer-reviewed works published between 2004 and 2007, 48 percent of the papers were classified as “neutral,” or refusing to agree or disagree with the consensus. This lack of agreement falls in line with previous polls that showed a similar reluctance to point the finger at humans.”

H. Sterling Burnett, senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA).

A study in the journal Science by the social scientist Nancy Oreskes claimed that a search of the ISI Web of Knowledge Database for the years 1993 to 2003 under the key words “global climate change” produced 928 articles, all of whose abstracts supported what she referred to as the consensus view. A British social scientist, Benny Peiser, checked her procedure and found that only 913 of the 928 articles had abstracts at all, and that only 13 of the remaining 913 explicitly endorsed the so-called consensus view. Several actually opposed it.

The Climate Change Science Program, the Bush administration’s coordinating agency for global-warming research, declared it had found “clear evidence of human influences on the climate system.” This, for Mr. Easterbrook, meant: “Case closed.” What exactly was this evidence? The models imply that greenhouse warming should impact atmospheric temperatures more than surface temperatures, and yet satellite data showed no warming in the atmosphere since 1979. The report showed that selective corrections to the atmospheric data could lead to some warming, thus reducing the conflict between observations and models descriptions of what greenhouse warming should look like. That, to me, means the case is still very much open.

Richard S. Lindzen Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT.

Further to the above I also believe it is a colossal, titanic, waste of resources, wealth, and time, that is unprecedented in the history of human folly.

Never in the field of human folly, has so much been payed, by so many, for so little, I predict will be the epitaph of this period in the history of mankind.

As well now that Al Gore and the IPCC have clinched the Nobel peace prize thats certainly took the curse of their version of the cause of Global warming/Climate change.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said the award of the Nobel Peace prize to Al Gore and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change showed that it is “beyond doubt” that climate change is now affecting the world.

“It certainly is Stanley! It certainly is!”…Oliver Hardy
See article below Al Gore “The Profit of doom!” to learn more…

Do these people ever get anything right???

Just a few days ago, scientists in the United States reported that the Arctic ice cap is melting faster than ever thought possible. By their calculations, 40 per cent of the summer ice covering the Arctic sea will be gone by 2050.

Earlier studies had predicted that this wouldn’t happen for another century.

Ban Ki-moon is Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Australian conservation scientist Tim Flannery says the global level of greenhouse gases is now far worse than predicted

“As of mid-2005 there was about 455 parts per million of what’s called carbon dioxide equivalent, and that’s a figure that’s gathered by taking the potential of all 30 greenhouse gases and converting them into carbon dioxide potential,” Prof Flannery said on ABC television.

We thought we would be at that threshold within about a decade,”


Global Warming
is not caused by carbon dioxide

Below is an extract from the web site of Gary Novak an independent scientist.

About the author in his own words.

” I’m an independent scientist, which means I’m free from forces of intimidation acting upon most scientists.

Science is rapidly deteriorating into a tool of propaganda for power brokers, as bureaucrats dry up funding for real science and pay only for outcome-directed research. Heavy handedness is also increasing drastically, as scientists who criticize too much lose their jobs. This situation created a need for me to take up various errors in science and explain misrepresentations.”

The Science of Global Warming
in Perspective

When an ice age begins, global Warming occurs exactly as it is doing now. Heated oceans cause precipitation to increase. Eventually, increased snowfall will reflect away solar energy and trigger a cool-down.

Ocean Temperatures over 800,000 Years.

Each cycle is an ice age.

Now is above the dotted line on the right side. The oceans have been heating continuously since the last ice age. see below

graph source one

graph source two

Study shows oceans are the cause of temperature increase.

Arctic ice is melting faster than expected, because oceans are heating more than the atmosphere.

Alarmists are not promoting science; they are promoting propaganda justified through a black-box analysis which generates contrived numbers. Science requires evidence and logic.

There is no mechanism for carbon dioxide creating global warming

“Greenhouse gases” absorb all radiation available to them in a few meters. More of the gas cannot absorb more radiation. A thick sheet of plastic does nothing more than a thin sheet. Doubling the CO2 would only shorten the distance for absorption of radiation from 10 meters to 5 meters, which is not an increase in temperature.

Here’s a quantitative reason why carbon dioxide does not create global warming:

The sun’s energy goes through the atmosphere and strikes the earth’s surface.

  • claimed heat due to atmosphere — 33 degrees C
  • 95-99% due to various things — 31.4 degrees C
  • 1-5% due to infrared radiation from earth’s surface — 1.65 degrees C
  • 8% of infrared bandwidth available to CO2 — 0.13 degrees C
  • 3% of CO2 produced by humans — 0.0039 degrees C
  • 5% of absorption “unsaturated” for global warming — 0.0002 degrees C
  • claimed global warming — 0.6 degrees CExplanations :- Crunching the Numbers
This means carbon dioxide cannot trap radiant energy near the surface of the earth. To get around this, an obfuscated mechanism is contrived for heat leaving the atmosphere. But it is a miniscule effect in the stratosphere, with little influence over the lower atmosphere.


How could all of those scientists be wrong? They get paid to be wrong through billions of dollars from government; and they are not a consensus.

It’s important to realize that radiation from the sun cannot be absorbed by carbon dioxide, because the sun must give off high frequency radiation in the area of visible light, which goes through the atmosphere. Something as hot as the sun cannot give off low frequency radiation, called infrared. This means that the sun’s radiation heats the surface of the earth, and then the heat moves from the earth’s surface into the atmosphere through conduction, convection, evaporation and infrared radiation. The infrared radiation can be absorbed by so-called greenhouse gases.

The real cause of global warming could be an increase in solar energy, as critics generally claim; but there is evidence that it is due to variations in heat from the earth’s core. Ice ages are caused by oceans heating, which appears to result from increased heat from inside the earth. The primary evidence is the exact cycling of ice ages. Environmental factors would not be so precise. Also, the oceans heating more than the atmosphere points to the heat coming from inside the earth.

Atmospheric changes can result from variations in solar activity, but they are superficial compared to heat from the earth’s core which drives ice age cycles.

To learn more click here to visit Gary Novak’s website

Global Warming Not Affected by Man

It is instructive to take a careful look at the main thrust of the global warming campaign that the alleged warming is being caused by solar heat being trapped in the earth’s atmosphere by a build up of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere that is caused largely by human activity.

As a result we are warned that the only way we can stop a disastrous warming of the planet is to put a limit on anthropogenic (man-made) sources of CO2.

Those evil deniers however, have taken the trouble to look at the facts instead of the propaganda from the U.N. and the rest of the global warming fanatics. They point out that the the anthropogenic sources of CO2 account for exactly 0.11 percent of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere. In other words, 99.89 percent of the greenhouse effect has not a damn thing to do SUVs, jet travel, backyard barbecues or any other human activity.

The late New Zealand professor Augie Auer explained that three-quarters of the planet is ocean, and 95 percent of the greenhouse effect is governed by water vapour.

“Of that remaining 5 percent, only about 3.6 percent is governed by CO2 and when you break it down even further, studies have shown that the anthropogenic (man-made) contribution to CO2 versus the natural is about 3.2 percent.

“So if you multiply the total contribution 3.6 by the man-made portion of it, 3.2, you find out that the anthropogenic contribution of CO2 to the the global greenhouse effect is 0.115 percent … that’s like .12 cents in $100. It’s minuscule … it’s nothing.

Phil Brennan

Phil Brennan is a veteran journalist and World War II Marine who writes for He is editor and publisher of Wednesday on the Web ( and was Washington columnist for National Review magazine in the 1960s.

He also served as a staff aide for the House Republican Policy Committee and helped handle the Washington public relations operation for the Alaska Statehood Committee which won statehood for Alaska.

He is also a trustee of the Lincoln Heritage Institute and a member of the Association For Intelligence Officers.


My pal CO2.

AL GORE: A profile.

“The threat of global warming is real, it’s at least partially manmade, and consumers and industry have to stop spewing carbon dioxide into the air or little by little we’re all going to roast.”
LARRY DERFNER : The Jerusalem Post.

Albert Arnold “Al” Gore, Jr. (born March 31, 1948) was the forty-fifth vice president of the United States, serving from 1993 to 2001 under President Bill Clinton. He shares the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Prior to the vice presidency, Gore served in the U. S. House of Representatives (1977-85) and the U. S. Senate (1985-93), representing Tennessee.

Today, Gore is president of the American television channel Current TV (which won the award for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Television at the 2007 Primetime Emmys), chairman of Generation Investment Management, a director on the board of Apple Inc., an unofficial advisor to Google’s senior management, and chairman of the Alliance for Climate Protection.

As an environmental activist, Gore lectures widely on the topic of global warming, which he calls “the climate crisis.” In 2006, he starred in the Academy Award-winning documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth, discussing global warming and the environment. Under his leadership, one of Gore’s organizations, Save Our Selves, organized the July 7, 2007 benefit concert Live Earth in an effort to raise awareness about climate change.

“Only Al Gore, and not a sane person, would say that mankind is ruining the planet.”
Czech president Vaclav Klaus:

The Czech President offered to debate the subject of global warming,
live on television with Mr Gore…Mr Gore declined the offer.

Financial Profile.

Mr Gore is a very wealthy man, if you want Mr Gore to speak about Global warming/Climate change that will be $175,000 SVP. Below are some of Mr Gores business interests…
  • Adviser to Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), he received stock options now reportedly worth more then $30 million.
  • A member of the board Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) since 2003, he received stock options now valued at about $6 million.
  • President of the London based “Generation Investment Management” with one billion dollars of capital.
  • “An Inconvenient Truth” grossed about $50 million at the box office and millions more in DVD and book sales.
  • Available data indicate that Mr Gore has a net worth well in excess of $100 million.

“Live Earth” concerts…and various controversies

The Alliance for Climate Protection is an organization in the United States aiming to ‘persuade people of the importance, urgency and feasibility of adopting and implementing effective and comprehensive solutions for the climate crisis’. The founder and current chairman of the alliance is former US Vice President Al Gore.

The Alliance is a member of Save Our Selves, the organizers of the July 2007 Live Earth concerts. “Save Our Selves” is the name of a group of activists organized to raise awareness of global climate change. They are the organizers of the July 2007 Live Earth concerts.

The group was founded by Kevin Wall, and includes as major partners former US Vice President Al Gore, the Alliance for Climate Protection, MSN and Control Room, a concert production company producing Live Earth.

There is apparently a financial lack of transparency concerning the proceeds of Live Earth.

Intelligent Giving a charities watchdog have attempted to find out what was happening to the proceeds from ticket sales at the concerts. Their conclusions, published in a feature “What on (Live) Earth is going on?” were that no one involved is capable of giving a clear answer.

To learn more click here

“But why is (Gore) actually organizing them? To make us aware of the greenhouse effect? Everybody’s known about that problem for years. We are all f–king conscious of global warming.”

— Boomtown Rats singer and Live Aid/Live8 founder Bob Geldof

One week after Live Earth, Al Gore’s green credentials slipped while hosting his daughter’s wedding in Beverly Hills. Gore and his guests at the weekend ceremony dined on Chilean sea bass – arguably one of the world’s most threatened fish species. Also known as Patagonian toothfish, the species is under pressure from illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing activities in the Southern Ocean, jeopardising the sustainability of remaining stocks.


It is reported that Mr Gore used $30,000 in electricity & natural gas in 2006 for his multi-million dollar home in Nashville. Having at the same time a family home in Virginia, and a multi-million dollar habitation in Los Angles. A spokesperson for Mr Gore said that “Carbon offsets were purchased from Generation Investment Management in order to cancel Mr Gore’s energy consumption. As Generation Investment Management is as stated an investment company it does not deal in carbon offset credits…

However Generation Investment Management is associated, allied, with a company called “Carbon neutral” Formally called “Future Forests” Therefore, presumably it is from this source that Mr Gore obtained his carbon credits.

In 2005 “Future Forests” were under investigation by trading standards officers in London who investigated a formal complaint which accuses Future Forests of investing too little of the money it raises in planting trees.

The complaint, from the charity Trees for Cities, points out that fans on the Rolling Stones website are encouraged to pay $17 to plant a tree but notes that Future Forests does not itself plant any trees at all. Instead, the charity claims, it relies on landowners who do the planting on the company’s behalf, yet are paid only a fraction of the donated money, 80-90 cents of their $20 or $17 payment was being passed on to the woodland owner by Future Forests, if the fans were aware of this fact then they would feel that this is a very different proposition to paying to plant a tree.

It has been reported; that many of these so-called carbon offset projects would have been done anyway.

Also, carbon offset projects such as planting trees can take decades or even a century to sequester the carbon emitted today. So energy usage today results in greenhouse gases remaining in the atmosphere for decades, even with the purchase of so-called carbon offsets.

During the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on March 21, 2007, Vice President Al Gore’s Perspective on Global Warming, former Vice President Al Gore refused to take a Personal Energy Ethics Pledge to consume no more energy than the average American household.

The pledge was presented to Gore by Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. At the hearing, Senator Inhofe showed Gore a frame from Gore’s movie, “An Inconvenient Truth” where Gore asks viewers:

“Are you ready to change the way you live?”

Senator Inhofe asked Gore, “Are you willing to make a commitment here today by taking this pledge to consume no more energy for use in your residence than the average American household by one year from today?

Senator Inhofe then presented Vice President Gore with the above “Personal Energy Ethics Pledge”:

Mr Gore refused to take the pledge; 218 days later (time of writing this) he has still not taken the pledge.

“Are you ready to change the way you live?”

Quotation…Al Gore in the film An Inconvenient Truth

An Inconvenient Truth: The movie.

The main premise “centre piece” of the film An Inconvenient Truth is human induced “anthropogenic” CO2 is the main cause of global warming/climate change…
An English high court judge Mr Justice Burton ruled that the film “An inconvenient truth” is not factually correct in 9 of Mr Gore’s statements in the film which are claimed as fact in order to reinforce the hypothesis that human induced “anthropogenic” CO2 is the prime cause of global warming/climate change.

Here are a couple of the nine not factually correct claims….


Gore: The disappearance of snow on Mt Kilimanjaro was expressly attributable to global warming.

Judge: “This specifically impressed David Miliband, the UK Environment Secretary, but the scientific consensus was that it cannot be established that the recession of snows on Mt Kilimanjaro is mainly attributable to human-induced climate change.”

A recent article in the well-respected journal American Scientist explained why the glacier on Mt. Kilimanjaro could not be melting from global warming. Simply from an intellectual point of view it was fascinating — especially the author’s Sherlock Holmes approach to figuring out what was causing the glacier to melt.

That it couldn’t be global warming directly (i.e., the result of air around the glacier warming) was made clear by the fact that the air temperature at the altitude of the glacier is below freezing. This means that only direct radiant heat from sunlight could be warming and melting the glacier. The author also studied the shape of the glacier and deduced that its melting pattern was consistent with radiant heat but not air temperature. Although acknowledged by many scientists, the paper is scorned by the true believers in global warming.

Increasing, disappearing, Polar Bears

The judge also said there was no proof to support a claim that polar bears were drowning while searching for icy habitats melted by global warming. The only drowned polar bears the court was aware of were four that died following a storm.

In an issue in April last year, Time magazine published on its cover a photograph of a perplexed-looking polar bear on an ice floe. The polar bear is in danger of extinction, was the message.┬áIn his Academy Award-winning documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” Gore also included a scene of a polar bear drowning as his icy home melted.

Bjorn Lomborg, an associate professor of statistics in the Department of Political Science at the University of Aarhus, Denmark, dug up statistics and found that the polar bear population has actually grown from 5,000 in the 1960s to 25,000 in recent years. Polar bear numbers have fallen in only two out of 20 habitats. What is more, temperatures have fallen instead of risen in those two locations.

Now in respect to “Fair Play” the following explanation by a spokesperson for Mr Gore for the “not factually correct statement about Polar bears” in the film ” An Inconvenient Truth” appeared in the Washington post.

# Impact of sea ice retreat on polar bears. Polar bears only exist in the Arctic and hunt and live on the ice. Where there is not enough ice, they are required to swim. The US Minerals Management Service (part of the US Department of Interior) reported new research in December 2005 about increased polar bear mortality due to reduced sea ice. At the same time, a study by the US Geological Survey and the Canadian Wildlife Service was previewed showing a major polar bear population drop (22 percent) in Hudson Bay in Canada–which was also believed to be linked to sea ice decline.

Since 2005, more research has emerged in this area. In addition, Arctic sea ice decline was the lowest ever measured for minimum extent in 2007. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is now considering an Endangered Species Listing for the polar bear in part because of the impact that human-induced climate change is having on their habitat.

Quote from above:- ” Since 2005, more research has emerged in this area.”
Indeed it has…Last year Mitchell Taylor, of the US National Biological Service, stated that of the 13 populations of polar bears in Canada, 11 are stable or increasing in number. They are not going extinct, or even appear to be affected at present. Strange? Perhaps Mr Taylor made an “error”.

However this is a possible answer to this contradictory situation…

From a speech to the Environment and Public Works Committee. by Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.)

“The Fish and Wildlife Service asserts that the reason for the decline in the Western Hudson Bay population is climate-change-induced ice melting.

To make that assertion, they rely on hypothetical climate change computer models showing massive loss of ice that irreparably damages the polar bear’s habitat. The Service then extrapolates that reasoning to the other 18 populations of polar bears, making the assumption that all bears in these populations will eventually decline and go extinct. Again, this conclusion is not based on field data but on hypothetical modeling and that is considered perfectly acceptable as scientific evidence under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

I do not believe our federal conservation policy should be dictated by hypothetical computer projections because the stakes of a listing decision under ESA can be extremely high. The listing of the polar bear is no exception. ”

Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.)

My pal CO2


Carbon madness “a la mode” in La Belle France

Ooh la la! It had to happen; carbon madness has taken Paris by storm and the republic Francias Has turned green due to the impact of this brain numbing malady.

Under the title “le Grenelle de l’Environnement” (Grenelle refers to Rue Grenelle in Paris were in May 1968 the meeting that debated the future of France took place)… A few positives steps emerged, from this 4 month discussion

French President Nicolas Sarkozy in summing up the debate declared;

  • In respect of genetically-modified (GMO) crops, that a temporary freeze on commercial GMO crops — Which as France has just over zero percent of GMO is a totally painless yet positive step. (Note the word temporary)
  • A 50% reduction in pesticide use was promised by no fixed date, when “alternatives” are available.
  • A promise to freeze the building of new autoroutes and airports, and a grand plan to move freight traffic from road to rail,
  • Urban transport and TGV high-speed train networks are to be further developed,
After the four months consultation, over one thousand proposals were draughted in a report entrusted to French officials concerned about the protection of the environment for the success of the ” La revolution verte”.
In all between 15 to 20 proposals were cited…However by far the most unanimous and most probable to be brought into law was the “bonus/malus” which will either demand or donate money depending on the CO2 emissions from your car…A real classic of “carbon madness”. This Tax which will ultimately fall upon the citizen to pay and no one else.

In respect of this tax this writer repeats what has been already stated to the citizens of the USA.

It is this writers opinion and of course I am not a lawyer nor do I posses any legal qualifications; however misrepresentation of the facts, such as claiming that human induced CO2 is definitively the cause of global warming/climate change coupled with demands to pay money. Were the evidence is, challenged, disputed, and represents only 7% of the scientific papers published on this subject 2004-2007, is illegal, and is an attempt to obtain money by false pretences as defined under the rule of law.

Contra the non existent consensus that human induced CO2 is the main cause of climate change/global warming.

In the US, the former President of the National Academy of Sciences, Frederick Seitz, set up a petition signed by more than 17,000 scientists, including 2,660 physicists, geophysicists, meteorologists, and oceanographers..

“We need to profoundly revise all of our taxes… to tax
pollution more, including fossil fuels, and to tax labour less.”

Nicolas Sarkozy

Carbon Dioxide: A Satanic Gas?


“While the United Nations has stated that during the greenhouse enhancement, “the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate,” I cannot view what has happened as a net negative; some might easily argue that it is a net benefit. Under neither interpretation does this qualify carbon dioxide as a climatic “pollutant.”

TESTIMONY: of Patrick J. Michaels Professor of Environmental Sciences University of Virginia, and Senior Fellow in Environmental Studies at Cato Institute: to the Subcommittee on National Economic Growth, Natural Resources and Regulatory Affairs U.S. House of Representatives October 6, 1999

There is no basis for saying, as most do, that the “science is settled.”

Dr. Claude Allegre
Geophysicist Dr. Claude Allegre, a top geophysicist and French Socialist who has authored more than 100 scientific articles and written 11 books and received numerous scientific awards including the Goldschmidt Medal from the Geochemical Society of the United States
Converted from climate alarmist to skeptic in 2006. Allegre, who was one of the first scientists to sound global warming fears 20 years ago, now says the cause of climate change is “unknown” and accused the “prophets of doom of global warming” of being motivated by money, noting that “the ecology of helpless protesting has become a very lucrative business for some people!” “Glaciers chronicles or historical archives point to the fact that climate is a capricious phenomena.

This fact is confirmed by mathematical meteorological theories. So, let us be cautious,” Allegre explained in a September 21, 2006 article in the French newspaper L’EXPRESS. The National Post in Canada also profiled Allegre on March 2, 2007, noting “Allegre has the highest environmental credentials.

The author of early environmental books, he fought successful battles to protect the ozone layer from CFCs and public health from lead pollution.” Allegre now calls fears of a climate disaster “simplistic and obscuring the true dangers” mocks “the greenhouse-gas fanatics whose proclamations consist in denouncing man’s role on the climate without doing anything about it except organizing conferences and preparing protocols that become dead letters.”

Allegre, a member of both the French and U.S. Academy of Sciences, had previously expressed concern about manmade global warming. “By burning fossil fuels, man enhanced the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which has raised the global mean temperature by half a degree in the last century,” Allegre wrote 20 years ago.

In addition, Allegre was one of 1500 scientists who signed a November 18, 1992 letter titled “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity” in which the scientists warned that global warming’s “potential risks are very great.”


An open letter to Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, from 60 Expert Scientists

6 April 2006

Dear Prime Minister:

As accredited experts in climate and related scientific disciplines, we are writing to propose that balanced, comprehensive public-consultation sessions be held so as to examine the scientific foundation of the federal government’s climate-change plans. This would be entirely consistent with your recent commitment to conduct a review of the Kyoto Protocol. Although many of us made the same suggestion to then-prime ministers Martin and Chretien, neither responded, and, to date, no formal, independent climate-science review has been conducted in Canada. Much of the billions of dollars earmarked for implementation of the protocol in Canada will be squandered without a proper assessment of recent developments in climate science.

Observational evidence does not support today’s computer climate models, so there is little reason to trust model predictions of the future. Yet this is precisely what the United Nations did in creating and promoting Kyoto and still does in the alarmist forecasts on which Canada’s climate policies are based. Even if the climate models were realistic, the environmental impact of Canada delaying implementation of Kyoto or other greenhouse-gas reduction schemes, pending completion of consultations, would be insignificant. Directing your government to convene balanced, open hearings as soon as possible would be a most prudent and responsible course of action.

While the confident pronouncements of scientifically unqualified environmental groups may provide for sensational headlines, they are no basis for mature policy formulation. The study of global climate change is, as you have said, an “emerging science,” one that is perhaps the most complex ever tackled. It may be many years yet before we properly understand the Earth’s climate system. Nevertheless, significant advances have been made since the protocol was created, many of which are taking us away from a concern about increasing greenhouse gases. If, back in the mid-1990s, we knew what we know today about climate, Kyoto would almost certainly not exist, because we would have concluded it was not necessary.

We appreciate the difficulty any government has formulating sensible science-based policy when the loudest voices always seem to be pushing in the opposite direction. However, by convening open, unbiased consultations, Canadians will be permitted to hear from experts on both sides of the debate in the climate-science community. When the public comes to understand that there is no “consensus” among climate scientists about the relative importance of the various causes of global climate change, the government will be in a far better position to develop plans that reflect reality and so benefit both the environment and the economy.

“Climate change is real” is a meaningless phrase used repeatedly by activists to convince the public that a climate catastrophe is looming and humanity is the cause. Neither of these fears is justified. Global climate changes all the time due to natural causes and the human impact still remains impossible to distinguish from this natural “noise”. The new Canadian government’s commitment to reducing air, land and water pollution is commendable, but allocating funds to “stopping climate change” would be irrational. We need to continue intensive research into the real causes of climate change and help our most vulnerable citizens adapt to whatever nature throws at us next.

We believe the Canadian public and government decision-makers need and deserve to hear the whole story concerning this very complex issue. It was only 30 years ago that many of today’s global-warming alarmists were telling us that the world was in the midst of a global-cooling catastrophe. But the science continued to evolve, and still does, even though so many choose to ignore it when it does not fit with predetermined political agendas.

We hope that you will examine our proposal carefully and we stand willing and able to furnish you with more information on this crucially important topic.


  • Dr. Ian D. Clark, professor, isotope hydrogeology and paleoclimatology, Dept. of Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa
  • Dr. Tad Murty, former senior research scientist, Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans, former director of Australia’s National Tidal Facility and professor of earth sciences, Flinders University, Adelaide; currently adjunct professor, Departments of Civil Engineering and Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa
  • Dr. R. Timothy Patterson, professor, Dept. of Earth Sciences (paleoclimatology), Carleton University, Ottawa
  • Dr. Fred Michel, director, Institute of Environmental Science and associate professor, Dept. of Earth Sciences, Carleton University, Ottawa
  • Dr. Madhav Khandekar, former research scientist, Environment Canada. Member of editorial board of Climate Research and Natural Hazards
  • Dr. Paul Copper, FRSC, professor emeritus, Dept. of Earth Sciences, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ont.
  • Dr. Ross McKitrick, associate professor, Dept. of Economics, University of Guelph, Ont.
  • Dr. Tim Ball, former professor of climatology, University of Winnipeg; environmental consultant
  • Dr. Andreas Prokoph, adjunct professor of earth sciences, University of Ottawa; consultant in statistics and geology
  • Mr. David Nowell, M.Sc. (Meteorology), fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society, Canadian member and past chairman of the NATO Meteorological Group, Ottawa
  • Dr. Christopher Essex, professor of applied mathematics and associate director of the Program in Theoretical Physics, University of Western Ontario, London, Ont.
  • Dr. Gordon E. Swaters, professor of applied mathematics, Dept. of Mathematical Sciences, and member, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Research Group, University of Alberta
  • Dr. L. Graham Smith, associate professor, Dept. of Geography, University of Western Ontario, London, Ont.
  • Dr. G. Cornelis van Kooten, professor and Canada Research Chair in environmental studies and climate change, Dept. of Economics, University of Victoria
  • Dr. Petr Chylek, adjunct professor, Dept. of Physics and Atmospheric Science, Dalhousie University, Halifax
  • Dr./Cdr. M. R. Morgan, FRMS, climate consultant, former meteorology advisor to the World Meteorological Organization. Previously research scientist in climatology at University of Exeter, U.K.
  • Dr. Keith D. Hage, climate consultant and professor emeritus of Meteorology, University of Alberta
  • Dr. David E. Wojick, P.Eng., energy consultant, Star Tannery, Va., and Sioux Lookout, Ont.
  • Rob Scagel, M.Sc., forest microclimate specialist, principal consultant, Pacific Phytometric Consultants, Surrey, B.C.
  • Dr. Douglas Leahey, meteorologist and air-quality consultant, Calgary
  • Paavo Siitam, M.Sc., agronomist, chemist, Cobourg, Ont.
  • Dr. Chris de Freitas, climate scientist, associate professor, The University of Auckland, N.Z.
  • Dr. Richard S. Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan professor of meteorology, Dept. of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Dr. Freeman J. Dyson, emeritus professor of physics, Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton, N.J.
  • Mr. George Taylor, Dept. of Meteorology, Oregon State University; Oregon State climatologist; past president, American Association of State Climatologists
  • Dr. Ian Plimer, professor of geology, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide; emeritus professor of earth sciences, University of Melbourne, Australia
  • Dr. R.M. Carter, professor, Marine Geophysical Laboratory, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia
  • Mr. William Kininmonth, Australasian Climate Research, former Head National Climate Centre, Australian Bureau of Meteorology; former Australian delegate to World Meteorological Organization Commission for Climatology, Scientific and Technical Review
  • Dr. Hendrik Tennekes, former director of research, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute
  • Dr. Gerrit J. van der Lingen, geologist/paleoclimatologist, Climate Change Consultant, Geoscience Research and Investigations, New Zealand
  • Dr. Patrick J. Michaels, professor of environmental sciences, University of Virginia
  • Dr. Nils-Axel Morner, emeritus professor of paleogeophysics & geodynamics, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Dr. Gary D. Sharp, Center for Climate/Ocean Resources Study, Salinas, Calif.
  • Dr. Roy W. Spencer, principal research scientist, Earth System Science Center, The University of Alabama, Huntsville
  • Dr. Al Pekarek, associate professor of geology, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Dept., St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minn.
  • Dr. Marcel Leroux, professor emeritus of climatology, University of Lyon, France; former director of Laboratory of Climatology, Risks and Environment, CNRS
  • Dr. Paul Reiter, professor, Institut Pasteur, Unit of Insects and Infectious Diseases, Paris, France. Expert reviewer, IPCC Working group II, chapter 8 (human health)
  • Dr. Zbigniew Jaworowski, physicist and chairman, Scientific Council of Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection, Warsaw, Poland
  • Dr. Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen, reader, Dept. of Geography, University of Hull, U.K.; editor, Energy & Environment
  • Dr. Hans H.J. Labohm, former advisor to the executive board, Clingendael Institute (The Netherlands Institute of International Relations) and an economist who has focused on climate change
  • Dr. Lee C. Gerhard, senior scientist emeritus, University of Kansas, past director and state geologist, Kansas Geological Survey
  • Dr. Asmunn Moene, past head of the Forecasting Centre, Meteorological Institute, Norway
  • Dr. August H. Auer, past professor of atmospheric science, University of Wyoming; previously chief meteorologist, Meteorological Service (MetService) of New Zealand
  • Dr. Vincent Gray, expert reviewer for the IPCC and author of The Greenhouse Delusion: A Critique of ‘Climate Change 2001,’ Wellington, N.Z.
  • Dr. Howard Hayden, emeritus professor of physics, University of Connecticut
  • Dr Benny Peiser, professor of social anthropology, Faculty of Science, Liverpool John Moores University, U.K.
  • Dr. Jack Barrett, chemist and spectroscopist, formerly with Imperial College London, U.K.
  • Dr. William J.R. Alexander, professor emeritus, Dept. of Civil and Biosystems Engineering, University of Pretoria, South Africa. Member, United Nations Scientific and Technical Committee on Natural Disasters, 1994-2000
  • Dr. S. Fred Singer, professor emeritus of environmental sciences, University of Virginia; former director, U.S. Weather Satellite Service
  • Dr. Harry N.A. Priem, emeritus professor of planetary geology and isotope geophysics, Utrecht University; former director of the Netherlands Institute for Isotope Geosciences; past president of the Royal Netherlands Geological & Mining Society
  • Dr. Robert H. Essenhigh, E.G. Bailey professor of energy conversion, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University
  • Dr. Sallie Baliunas, astrophysicist and climate researcher, Boston, Mass.
  • Douglas Hoyt, senior scientist at Raytheon (retired) and co-author of the book The Role of the Sun in Climate Change; previously with NCAR, NOAA, and the World Radiation Center, Davos, Switzerland
  • Dipl.-Ing. Peter Dietze, independent energy advisor and scientific climate and carbon modeller, official IPCC reviewer, Bavaria, Germany
  • Dr. Boris Winterhalter, senior marine researcher (retired), Geological Survey of Finland, former professor in marine geology, University of Helsinki, Finland
  • Dr. Wibjorn Karlen, emeritus professor, Dept. of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, Sweden
  • Dr. Hugh W. Ellsaesser, physicist/meteorologist, previously with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Calif.; atmospheric consultant.
  • Dr. Art Robinson, founder, Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, Cave Junction, Ore.
  • Dr. Arthur Rorsch, emeritus professor of molecular genetics, Leiden University, The Netherlands; past board member, Netherlands organization for applied research (TNO) in environmental, food and public health
  • Dr. Alister McFarquhar, Downing College, Cambridge, U.K.; international economist
  • Dr. Richard S. Courtney, climate and atmospheric science consultant, IPCC expert reviewer, U.K.


Homes buried by the Sidoarjo mud flow
The Sidoarjo mud flow or Lapindo mud, also informally abbreviated as Lusi from Lumpur Sidoarjo (lumpur is Indonesian term of mud), is an ongoing eruption of gas and mud from the earth in the subdistrict of Porong, Sidoarjo in East Java, Indonesia (20 kilometers south of Surabaya). It is considered to be a mud volcano. It appears that the flow will continue for an undetermined amount of time. So far, all efforts to stop the flow have failed.

Geological setting

Mud volcano systems are common on Earth, including on Java island and particularly in East Java province. Beneath the island of Java is a half-graben lying in the east-west direction, filled with overpressured marine carbonates and marine muds. It forms an inverted extensional basin which has been geologically active since the Paleogene epoch. The basin started to become overpressured during the Oligo-Miocene period. Some of the overpressured mud escapes to the surface forming mud volcanoes, which have been observed at Sangiran Dome and near Purwodadi city (200 km or 124 miles west of Lusi).

The East Java Basin contains a significant amount of oil and gas reserves and therefore the region is known as a major concession area for mineral exploration. The Porong subdistrict, 14 km south of Sidoarjo city, is known in the mineral industry as the Brantas Production Sharing Contract (PSC), an area of approximately 7,250 km square which consists of three oil and gas fields: Wunut, Carat and Tanggulangin. As of 2006, three companies Santos (18%), MedcoEnergi (32%) and PT Lapindo Brantas (50%) had concession rights for this area; PT Lapindo Brantas acted as an operator.

Mud eruption chronology

On 28 May 2006, PT Lapindo Brantas targeted gas in the Kujung Formation carbonates in the Brantas PSC area by drilling a borehole named the Banjar-Panji 1 exploration well. The drill string went into a thick clay seam (500 to1,300 m deep), and then sands, shells, volcanic debris and into permeable carbonate rocks. At 5:00 a.m. local time (UTC+8), the drill string went deeper to about 2,834 m (9,298 feet), after which water, steam and a small amount of gas erupted at a location about 200 m southwest of the well. Two further eruptions occurred on the second and the third of June about 800-1000 m northwest of the well, but these stopped on 5 June 2006. During these eruptions, hydrogen sulphide gas was released and local villages observed mud at hot temperature, around 60 degrees C or 140 degrees F.

From a model developed by a geologist, the drilling pipe penetrated the overpressured limestone, causing entrainment of mud by water. The influx of water to the well bore caused a hydrofracture, but the steam and water did not go through the borehole; they penetrated the surrounding overburden pressured strata. The pressure formed some fractures around the borehole to propagate to the surface 200 m away from the well. The most likely cause of these hydraulic fractures in the shallowest strata is by the unprotected drill string with a steel casing. Borehole protection by steel casing has been a common procedure in oil or gas exploration.


NASA Satellite maps of the area before (lower picture) and after (upper picture) the mud flow
After three months, the unprecedented event had made a river of mud on the surface with a total volume of at least 50,000 m3 with an estimated 7,000 to150,000 m3 mudflow erupting every day. By early September 2006, a hot torrential mudflow inundated rice paddies and villages, covering an area of approximately 240 ha and resulting in the displacement of more than 11,000 people from eight villages in the Porong subdistrict. Twenty-five factories had to be abandoned. Rice fields and fish and shrimp ponds have been destroyed, which further threatened Sidoarjo’s status as the biggest shrimp producer in Indonesia after Lampung. The Marine Resources and Fisheries Ministry has estimated a financial loss of 10.9 billion rupiahs (US$ 1.2 million) to the fisheries business in Tanggulangin and Porong subdistricts. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono declared the 400 ha area inundated by the mud flow as a disaster-prone area unfit for human habitation. As a consequence, 2,983 families had to be relocated to safer places.

On 23 November 2006, eleven fatalities were reported from the explosion of a gas pipe, possibly caused by the mud flow. The accident occurred because the ground subsided 2 m (6.5 feet) due to the significant outflow of mud and water, and a dike collapsed causing the state-owned Pertamina gas pipeline to rupture. The gas sent flames into the sky and according to the local people, they could feel the heat from one kilometer (0.6 miles) away.

As of February 2007, the erupted mud pool had an estimated total volume of 0.012 km cubed (12 million m cubed), covered an area of 360 ha (1.4 miles square), was up to 10 m (32.8 feet) thick, buried four villages and 25 factories, displaced at least 11,000 people and the eruption was still ongoing. It was expected that the mud eruption will last for years to come and the area will experience a significant depression to form a caldera.

Infrastructure has been damaged extensively, including toll roads, railway tracks, power transmission systems, gas pipelines and national artery roads. Speaking in front of the People’s Representative Council, the house speaker Agung Laksono declared that the state budget is needed to finance the infrastructure repairs, while PT Lapindo Brantas will be responsible for financing the repairs and also to pay 2.5 trillion rupiah for compensation to the victims. The Porong-Gempol toll road in East Java province has been significantly damaged by the mud flow and was practically inoperable.

The chairman of the national team to handle the disaster, Basuki Hadimuljono, indicated that a 12 km long 120 m wide corridor will be acquired west of the afflicted area to rebuilt the turnpike, and construct a rail line and gas pipe line to restore the disrupted links in the infrastructure. The costs will be carried by the public sector.



Photo released by Greenpeace. Tuesday, 19 September 2006, shows an aerial view of the mud gushing out of a Lapindo Brantas Inc. gas exploration well in Sidoarjo, East Java. According to Greenpeace, the situation is slipping beyond control and called on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to hold Lapindo and its shareholders, Bakrie Group, Santos of Australia and Medco Group, fully accountable for one of Indonesia’s worst industrial disaster. Greenpeace/Vinai Dithajohn


Aerial view of the mud gushing: Image credit. Greenpeace.
A network of dams and barriers has been erected to contain the mud. On September 26, 2006 barriers failed, resulting in the flooding of more villages. Further strengthening of the dam system appears to contain the sludge and since the end of September no further reports of breaches have been released.

The displaced population has been given temporary shelter. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has authorized further flow of mud to be pumped into the Porong River that will take it to the local sea. Pumping of sludge into the sea started on October 16. Ideas have been submitted for the use of the mud, as it could be used for bricks and other building material. The heat of the process may be usable for thermal energy. There has also been an effort to stop and/or lessen the effects of the mud flow through the dropping of chains of concrete balls into the crater. The hope is to shrink the size of the evacuation tube and thus slow the rate of flow.

Drilling operations have been seriously hampered, with continual delays forced upon the relief well drilling team, due to lack of funding. Drilling operations have been suspended until the implementation of the National Government Team’s plan to plug the flow with concrete “balls”, a plan widely accepted to offer more inherent dangers than chances of success (and potentially induce further flows to the surface in an area already severely weakened). The first series of concrete balls was lowered into the mud volcano on February 24, 2007. It is planned that up to 1500 such balls will be deployed. On March 19, after hundreds of balls had been dropped into the mouth of the hole, the flow of mud stopped for a period of 30 minutes.



Mudflow, photo taken on July 21 2006
There is controversy as to what triggered the eruption and whether the event was a natural disaster or not. According to one side, mainly PT Lapindo Brantas, it was the May 2006 earthquake that triggered the mud flow eruption, and not their drilling activities. Two days before the mud eruption, an earthquake of moment magnitude 6.3 hit the south coast of Central Java and Yogyakarta provinces killing 6,234 people and leaving 1.5 million homeless.

At a hearing before the parliamentary members, senior executives of PT Lapindo Brantas argued that the earthquake was so powerful that it had created deep underground faults, allowing the mud to flow thousands of meters away, and that their company presence was coincidental, which should exempt them from paying compensation damage to the victims. If the cause of the incident is natural, then the government of Indonesia has the responsibility to cover the damage instead. This argument was also recurrently echoed by Aburizal Bakrie, the Indonesian Minister of Welfare at that time, whose family firm controls the operator company PT Lapindo Brantas.

Geologists disregarded the natural cause and mentioned that the earthquake is merely coincidental. The earthquake could have generated a new fracture system and weakened strata surrounding the Banjar-Panji 1 well, but it does not support the formation of a hydraulic fracture to create the main eruption vent 200 m away from the borehole. Apart from that, there was no other mud volcano reported on Java after the earthquake and the main drilling site is 300 km (186.5 miles) away from the earthquake’s epicenter. The intensity of the earthquake at the drilling site was estimated to have been only magnitude 2 on Richter scale, the same effect as of a heavy truck passing over the area.

Legal case

On 5 June 2006, MedcoEnergi (one partner company in the Brantas PSC area) sent a letter to PT Lapindo Brantas which accused them of breaching safety procedures during the drilling process. The letter further attributes “gross negligence” to the operator company for not equipping the well bore with safety steel casing. Soon afterwards vice president Jusuf Kalla announced that PT Lapindo Brantas and the owner, the Bakrie Group, must compensate thousands of victims affected by the mud flows. A criminal investigation was then started against several senior executives of the company because the drilling operation has put the lives of local people at risk.

Aburizal Bakrie frequently said that he is not involved in the company’s operation and further detached himself from the incident. Even in his capacity as Minister of Welfare, Aburizal Bakrie was reluctant to visit the disaster site. Aburizal Bakrie’s family business group, Bakrie Group, one of the owners of PT Lapindo Brantas, had been trying to distance themselves from the Lusi incident. Afraid of being liable for the disaster, Bakrie Group announced that they would sell PT Lapindo Brantas to an offshore company for only $2, but Indonesia’s Capital Markets Supervisory Agency blocked the sale.

A further attempt was made to try to sell to a company registered in the Virgin Islands, the Freehold Group, for US$1 million, which was also halted by the government supervisory agency for being an invalid sale. Lapindo Brantas was asked to pay about 2.5 trillion rupiah (about US$ 276.8 million) to the victims and about 1.3 trillion rupiah as additional costs to stop the flow. Some analysts predict that the Bakrie Group will try any attempts, including the announcement of bankruptcy, to avoid the cost of clean up which could amount to US$ 1 billion.

On 15 August 2006, the East Java police seized the Banjar-Panji 1 well to secure it for the court case. The Indonesian environmental watchdog, WALHI, have meanwhile filed suit against PT Lapindo Brantas, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the Indonesian Minister of Energy, the Indonesian Minister of Environmental Affairs and local officials.

After investigations by independent experts, police have concluded the mud flow as an “underground blow out”, triggered by the drilling activity. It is further noted that the steel casing lining had not been used which could prevent the disaster. Thirteen Lapindo Brantas’ executives and engineers face twelve charges of violating Indonesian laws.



Sidoarjo, Indonesia Nur Hidayati, Energy Campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia said: A Greenpeace team went to Sidoarjo to independently verify the extent of damage caused by the mud flow that is coming out of Lapindo’s well. They witnessed that the dikes created to contain the mud flow are being quickly filled with mud and that the threat to communities and to the environment around the disaster area is growing by the day. Greenpeace believes that this disaster is already slipping beyond control as temporary dikes constructed to contain the mud flow are likely to succumb to pressure from the boiling mud continuously coming out of the crater source.

Greenpeace is concerned that attempts to mitigate the flow of the mud will inevitably lead to long-term and irreversible impacts on the environment in the area, specifically on the nearby river and marine ecosystems. The dumping of untreated mud and water into the aquatic environment is truly a regrettable outcome arising from a very desperate situation. We also fear that given the nature and extent of this disaster, the underground water tables in and around the area of the mudflow , face the risk of toxic contamination.

Greenpeace is calling on Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to hold Lapindo accountable for one of the worst industrial disasters in Indonesia. Specifically President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono must impose the following terms on Lapindo, its affiliates and owners:

Melbourne Herald Sun, Australia – Oct 5, 2007


EARTHWATCH UPDATE: Statistics for the 2nd quarter of Earthquake Watch Year 2.

Statistics for the 2nd quarter of Earthquake Watch Year 2 are now posted in the Gazette. Because we started our watch in March of 2005, our Watch Year runs from March 1st to the last day of February. Not only have we some dire figures posted for the second quarter – so far the third quarter has been daunting. With 5 months to go in a watch year we are already up to 78% for the average annual number of magnitude 6 earthquakes, with 104 of these events on record. Magnitude 7’s which had all but disappeared over the last year are making up for lost time – and with 5 magnitude 8 quakes over a 10 month period we are treading completely uncharted waters.

Studies done by Valentin Ulomov, specialist of the Schmidt Institute of Physics of the Earth, Russian Academy of Sciences, shows that from 1982 to 1993 the earth went through a calm period. His study of 600 large-scale earthquakes between 1965 and 2005 revealed that not only the frequency, but depth of earthquakes during the 11 year calm stretch were shallower, generally less than 70 km. Between the years 1993 and 2005, however, deep quakes of magnitude 7 started happening with a frequency of 5 per year.

It has been explained that the calm may signify that lithospheric plates are submerging slowly and smoothly thus causing fewer quakes or possibly that the plate settling is causing an accumulation of geodynamic tension which later is relieved in the form of deep quakes. Of course, now we are experiencing rapid movements of the poles, so plate movement may be expected to not act according to “Hoyle” – there are many areas of science that things are not acting according to “Hoyle” in these times. Up to this date pole shifts have been merely studies into possible earlier earth events. As Earthquake watch progresses, we will note the depth of magnitude 7 or greater quakes and see if we can find any relevant co-occurrences to these deep quakes show up in collected data.


If you have been following our Earthquake watch in the forums, you have probably wondered, much as I have, how any piece of land can take as much shaking as Indonesia has and not just completely disintegrate. What the heck is going on over there?

That is a question that scientists are looking for the answers to as well. The National Science Foundation has funded a 43 day research project which will send a team of scientists to the Sundra subduction zone (Western portion of Sumatra and Java). This is the area of the devastating quakes and tsunami of 2004 and 2005, and much strong present activity which, if continuing at its present rate, could duplicate those disasters in the near future. The aim of the project is to find the earthquake history of the area. While it is a major source of earthquake events in present years, little is known about the area. The researches will be using the same methods as used in the Cascadia subduction zone studies to find the history of the Sundra zone. By studying the history of the area scientists will also learn answers to questions such as if the devastating 8.7 quake of 2005 was an aftershock of the magnitude 9 quake that hit there in 2004 or if it occurred because of weakening of the entire fault line. One thing that can’t be denied. The area is the most active on the globe.

The south equatorial segment of the Sumatra Subduction zone known as the Mentawai segment has produced giant earthquakes in 1797, 1833, 1861, 2005. These were quakes of greater than magnitude 8.5. The 2004 magnitude 9 earthquake occurred as a result of the India Plate (oceanic) subducting under the Burma Plate. Other strong quakes, between magnitude 5.0 and 8.4 occurred with frequency. As we found earlier in our exploration of subduction zones, earthquakes are not all that is going on in the Indonesia area.

The Sundra Arc region is a 3,000 km long arc of volcanoes running from North Sumatra to the Banda Sea, which formed from the subduction of the Australian plate beneath the Eurasia Plate. Volcanoes in the Banda Sea area, however, are formed from the subduction of the Pacific plate under the Eurasia Plate. The Molucca Sea Plate is being subducted by both the Sangihe plate and the Halmahera Plate which are pushing toward each other and pushing the Molucca Sea plate underneath them. It is thought that within a million years that the Molucca Sea PLate will be pushed completely under as the other two close together. This event would most likely close up volcanic activity in that area.

For now, though, volcanoes are a very real danger. Indonesia has 76 volcanoes which have erupted 1,171 times (at least) within historic time. Merapi has alone erupted 68 times since the mid 1500’s. Surprisingly, about 70,000 people live in the Merapi volcano area. Indonesian volcanoes have produced more fatalities in recorded history than any other volcanic region.

Information gained by science in recent years has allowed monitoring of these volcanoes and has been instrumental in evacuations which have almost eliminated fatalities from eruptions.

Advanced warnings of possible tsunamis are also coming into play after major earthquakes. As scientists learn more about giant quakes by studying the major subduction zones, early warning systems may become a possibility for earthquakes as well. While we may not be able to slow the acceleration of the frequency of major quakes, we may through research learn enough to develop earthquake warning systems, too.

Sally Taylor RHS1 Earthwatch.