Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Lithosphere Atmosphere Ionosphere Coupling

TINA: “Maybe we’re going to have a big earthquake. They say things get really weird just before.”

When writer/director Wes Craven made his remarkable film-and-sequel combination of “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Wes Craven’s New Nightmare” he used earthquakes as a metaphor. He wanted to convey the notion that just as we take the solid ground under our feet for granted and that presumption is stripped away with terrifying results in earthquakes, possibly our understanding of reality itself is a presumption which is sometimes stripped away with equally terrifying results.

I don’t have a lot today, but it’s pretty interesting.

There was a big earthquake on the east coast today. Some reports say people in Chicago could feel the quake, but I felt nothing.

And—these days!—how can you tell if things are weird as a quake precursor, or just normal weird because everything is always crazy now?

That being said, however, thanks to all the climate-monitoring going on over the politically charged global warming issue, scientists have a lot of data readily available to them about atmospheric conditions leading up to earthquake events. Scientists believe they’ve observed strange correlations between unusual atmospheric heating along with odd atmospheric electrical activity and subsequent earthquakes.

There are at least two interesting parts to this. First of all, of course, if this turns out to be true and consistent with other earthquakes then scientists will possibly be able to start making serious earthquake predictions. Secondly, it’s kind of amazing to think that even geophysics is so intertwingled that changes in the rocks—the lithosphere—can cause weird things to happen in the upper atmosphere—the ionosphere.

But, nonetheless, one of the lessons of modern science seems to be that everything is more inter-connected than one would suppose.

I haven’t heard about any precursor data on today’s east coast earthquake, but I bet it will be available soon. This will be interesting to keep track of.

Here is a link to an MIT update on the proposed lithosphere atmosphere ionosphere coupling mechanism. The article is very interesting, and the first couple of comments are interesting. Then the comments turn crazy. But a lot of people are following this topic, and—it almost goes without saying—plasma physics will almost certainly play some part here.

The Physics arXiv Blog: Atmosphere Above Japan Heated Rapidly Before M9 Earthquake

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Tina At The Window

I’m Standing At A Broken Window

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