Fracking Earthquakes

Reuters via Irons in the FireThe magnitude 5.5 April 9, 1952, earthquake centered near El Reno affected most of Oklahoma and parts of Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Texas. Damage from the 10:30 a.m. CST earthquake was not extensive, but many people in the epicentral area were alarmed, some to near panic. Portions of chimneys fell in El Reno and Ponca City (intensity VII). Bricks loosened from a building wall and tile facing of commercial buildings bulged at Oklahoma City. Also, plate glass windows were shattered in the business district of El Reno. The total damage amounted to several thousand dollars. Aftershocks were felt on April 11, 15, and 16, July 16, and August 14; an earthquake that was felt (IV) at Holdenville and Wewoka on October 7 apparently was unrelated to the April 9th event. Homes and buildings shook and some persons were awakened (V) at El Reno from the April 16th shock, which occurred 5 minutes after midnight. Felt reports were also received from Kingfisher, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Union City.

In the old days, people blamed such things on the anger of the gods, and I can see why. The earth shakes for hundreds of miles around with no visible cause. You can't deny that it happened, everyone felt it. Everyone was doing something, even if just sleeping, when it hit; each one of them has a possible explanation for why their behavior angered the gods. How could they possibly figure out what was really going on? And why would they do that, when the effort spent on such explanations would inevitably prove useless?

It's much easier to blame the earthquake on the local earth god. Or thunder god. Or just God, a remarkable improvement in efficiency that eliminated the cognitive effort of trying to appease a different god with different rites for every possible phenomenon and replaced it with a single god to appease for everything by being nice rather than mean. In terms of freeing up cognitive resources for useful tasks, monotheism was brilliant.

Of course, that God eventually fell out of fashion because he demanded people behave in useful, productive, and unnatural ways that took effort and discouraged hedonism. Some people decided to replace God with the State, and others decided to replace God with Gaia. The latter are now busy blaming the earthquakes on fracking and devising rituals and taboos to appease their new earth god.

History may not be repeating itself exactly, but it's certainly rapping.

This entry was published Fri Mar 27 09:19:08 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2015-03-27 09:19:08.0. [Tweet]

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