Author: wryheat2

The People for the West newsletter for April, 2019

The People for the West newsletter for April, 2019 is now online:

https://wryheat.wordpress.com/people-for-the-west/2019-archive/2019-14-April/

Earth Day is recognized in April each year. In view of recent predictions that the world will end in 12 years unless we get rid of fossil fuels and completely revise our economic system, it is well to review the track record of past predictions.

Other subjects include:

Brainwashing children to shill for bad science

Why Fossil Fuels Are Good for U.S. National Security

Why Renewables Can’t Save the Planet

Green New Deal Would Barely Change Earth’s Temperature. Here Are the Facts.

The unintended consequences of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s global warming crusade are hitting close to home—literally.

 

Enjoy,

Jonathan

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Chuckwallas – another desert lizard

Several species of chuckwallas occur in the Sonoran and Mojave deserts. The most plentiful are the Common chuckwalla (Sauromalus ater) and the Western chuckwalla (Sauromalus ater obesus). Adults males get up to 16 inches long. The Isla San Esteban chuckwalla (Sauromalus varius), also called the piebald chuckwalla, inhabits several islands in the Gulf of California. This species can get up to 24 inches long. A population of Isla San Esteban chuckwallas also occurs at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (ASDM) as part of a research and education project.

All chuckwallas are large, heavy-bodied lizards with folds of skin along the neck, shoulders and sometimes along the sides. The head of males tends to be black with lighter colors along the body. Females are generally lighter-colored shades of gray. Color varies with species, sex, and age.

Chuckwallas are found in rocky areas within desert scrub and woodlands. They use the rocks for basking, shelter, and protection from predators. For protection, a chuckwalla will seek a rock crevasse and wedge itself in by inflating its body with air. The top photo shows this behavior.

Males will fight over territory and females. Dominance for both males and females is often based on size. Males will warn rivals with “push-ups”, bobbing the head, and mouth gaping. These lizards are not harmful to humans. In fact, the Seri Indians and other Native American peoples collected and raised the lizards for food.

Chuckwallas are mainly herbivores that eat a variety of vegetation including fruit, leaves, buds, and flowers of many plants. They also eat insects.

Chuckwallas breed from April through August. Females lay eggs in clutches of five to 16. The eggs are incubated for 33 to 50 days. Juveniles (and females) are usually banded. The lizards reach sexual maturity in two to three years.

Chuckwalla predators include hawks, American kestrels, coyotes, Mohave rattlesnakes, and humans.

 

 

See more photos of three species from the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum digital library here.

More articles on lizards:

Clever Horned Lizard

Metachromatic spiny lizards

Spinytail Iguanas

Venomous Lizards

A Petition From Southern Arizona Ranchers on Border Security

A group of Southern Arizona ranchers are exercising their First Amendment rights in seeking a redress of grievances from their senators and congressman.

The following is a petition to the federal government written by several ranchers on the Arizona-Mexican border. These ranchers have to deal everyday with illegal crossings and lack of proper infrastructure that would make our southern border more secure. Unlike politicians spouting talking points, these ranchers have first hand knowledge of what is really going on along our southern border. The federal government is failing to adequately protect the private property rights of these ranchers.

One of the ranchers, Jim Chilton, is a friend of mine and I have been on his ranch which lies south of Arivaca, AZ, and extends to the Mexican border. On the ranch, the Mexican border is marked by a four-strand barbed wire fence. That’s all. There are many trails from the border through the ranch. Two years ago Jim set up cameras on two of the trails. During that time the cameras captured approximately 500 trespassers going both north and south. Jim suspects he has recorded drug smugglers. The ranch headquarters has been burglarized twice and often water supply pipes to stock tanks have been broken. The smugglers have free run of the ranch because there is no real barrier.

The Petition:

Whereas, one of the most active drug smuggling and human trafficking corridors in the Nation is the international boundary between Nogales and Sasabe, Arizona;

Whereas, 25 miles along the border area south of Arivaca is marked by only an old four-strand barbed wire cattle fence;

Whereas, the Sinaloa Cartel has control of this 25-mile international boundary and of the thousands of square miles of minimally patrolled ranchland adjacent to it inside the United States, due to lack of adequate border infrastructure, the Border Patrol has been largely restricted to a “Defense in Depth” strategy which is inefficient due to rough terrain and inadequate access and allows the presence of well- equipped cartel scouts on top of our mountains to successfully direct drug and human trafficking;

Whereas, although the Tucson Station Patrol Agent-in-Charge and Border Patrol agents try their best to do their job, the lack of access and infrastructure, cartel scout presence, and rough terrain and inefficient “Defense in Depth” strategy creates a de facto “no man’s land” in which border ranchers live and work;

Whereas, the national Border Patrol Council Vice President, Art del Cueto, has asserted on national television that under the present situation, no more than 50% of illegal crossers are apprehended;

Whereas, Border Patrol agents are headquartered in Tucson, eighty miles and three hours from the border on our ranches and there are no roads paralleling the border and no efficient north-south access for the Border Patrol to respond to incursions; and

Whereas, current “defense in depth” strategy means the Tucson Station Border Patrol agents are dispersed across the 4,000 square miles of area of responsibility and are operating in the “backfield” instead of operating on the 25 linear miles of the actual border;

Therefore be it resolved, Border ranchers petition our government to construct an adequate security barrier such as a Bollard-style fence at the border, good all-weather, well-maintained roads leading to the border and along it, adequate, modern flood gates at water crossings, appropriate surveillance technology to monitor Border Patrol personnel and border status, air mobile support, and reliable communications for Border Patrol agents to call for back-up, and forward operations bases near the border barrier to effectively secure the international boundary between Nogales and Sasabe, Arizona.

The petition is signed by these ranchers: Jim Chilton, Chilton Ranch; Tom Kay, Jarillas Ranch; John R. Smith, Arivaca Ranch; Ted Noon, Oro Blanco Ranch; and Lowell Robinson, Tres Bellotas Ranch.

 

This post was first published in the Arizona Daily Independent where it received more than 100 comments.

Volcanic Threat Assessment in the U.S.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) has updated its assessment of volcanic hazard threats in the United States. Most volcanoes occur along the Pacific coast of the U.S., within the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, and on certain other Pacific islands such as Hawaii. The USGS lists 161 volcanos as dangerous, of which, 18 are considered to have a “very high” threat for damage.

Kilauea volcano in Hawaii, which erupted last year, ranks number 1 as the most hazardous volcano. Mount St. Helens in Washington comes in at number 2. It last erupted in 1980.

Yellowstone caldera in Wyoming comes in at 21, a “high” threat. The San Francisco Volcanic Field near Flagstaff, AZ comes in at 80, a “moderate” threat.

According to the USGS:

The United States is one of Earth’s most volcanically active countries, having within its territory more than 10 percent of the known active and potentially active volcanoes. The geographic footprint of U.S. volcanoes is large, extending from arctic Alaska in the north to tropical American Samoa south of the Equator, and from Colorado in the east to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in the western Pacific. Since 1980, there have been 120 eruptions and 52 episodes of notable volcanic unrest (increased seismicity, observed ground deformation, and (or) gas emission) at 44 U.S. volcanoes.

Volcanoes produce many kinds of destructive phenomena. In the United States over the past 38 years, communities have been overrun by lava flows in Hawaii and in Washington State, a powerful explosion has devastated huge tracts of forest and killed people tens of miles from the volcanic source, and debris avalanches and mudflows have choked major river ways, destroyed bridges, and swept people to their deaths. In California, noxious gas emissions have resulted in fatalities, and in Hawaii, given rise to widespread respiratory ailments. Airborne ash clouds have caused hundreds of millions of dollars of damage to aircraft and nearly brought down passenger jets in flight in U.S. and international airspace, and ash falls have caused agricultural losses and disrupted the lives and businesses of hundreds of thousands of people in Washington State and Alaska. The growing risk of such severe threats to communities, property, and infrastructure downstream and downwind of volcanoes drives the need to decipher past eruptive behavior, monitor the current activity, and mitigate damaging effects of these forces of nature.

 

The full report may be downloaded here: https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/sir20185140

(50 pages, 24Mb). It contains photographs of volcanic damage and many regional maps and descriptions of the local volcanoes.

Here is a list of the 18 most dangerous volcanoes according to the USGS (go to the full report to see the rest):

Winter Weather Predictions from NOAA and Farmers Almanac 2018-2019

“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” -attributed to Yogi Berra.

A tale of two predictions: Last fall NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and the Farmers’ Almanac issued weather predictions for the winter of 2018-2019. Let’s see how they did.

NOAA, using state of the art computer models, predicted that the U.S. would have “another mild winter.” Here is NOAA’s map of their prediction for the winter of 2018-2019. It shows warmer than normal temperatures for most of the country.

NOAA did somewhat hedge their bet: “Both the temperature and precipitation outlooks depend to a certain extent on typical El Niño impacts, but forecasters think a weak El Niño event is most likely. This means that despite the potential for El Niño, confidence in this outlook is less than we had during recent strong events like in the winter of 2015/16.” In fact, El Niño fizzled this year. NOAA got the precipitation forecast wrong also. (Read the NOAA report)

The Farmers’ Almanac won’t say exactly how they make their predictions and issue only this statement:

The editors of the Farmers’ Almanac firmly deny using any type of computer satellite tracking equipment, weather lore or groundhogs. What they will admit to is using a specific and reliable set of rules that were developed back in 1818 by David Young, the Almanac’s first editor. These rules have been altered slightly and turned into a formula that is both mathematical and astronomical. The formula takes things like sunspot activity, tidal action of the Moon, the position of the planets, and a variety of other factors into consideration.

Farmers’ Almanac predicted “teeth-chattering cold ahead” for the winter of 2018-2019.

So, whose modeling is better, NOAA or Farmers’ Almanac?

Remember, NOAA is the agency that issues the Climate Assessment reports upon which our climate policy decisions are supposed to be made. Recent NOAA reports rely more and more upon the output of the most extreme climate models, the results of which diverge widely from actual measurements.

Here are my comments on their recent reports:

National Climate Assessment = science fiction and politics

Fourth National Climate Assessment is junk science

Fourth National Climate Assessment, Part 2 – no science, just scaremongering

 

It looks like Yogi Berra was right.

The Dangerous Ignorance of the Green New Deal

The energy portion of the utopian “Green New Deal” would require the U.S. to shift to 100% renewable energy by 2035. Such a proposal shows a profound and dangerous ignorance of how things work. Let’s examine just one aspect of this. Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts is quoted as saying: “Our energy future will not be found in the dark of a mine but in the light of the sun.”

Some simple questions for you Ed: Where will we get all the materials needed to construct the solar panels and wind turbines? Might they have to be mined? Might the metals and other materials used to build the equipment to manufacture the solar panels and wind turbines have to be mined? Might the copper for distribution lines have to be mined? By the way, electric cars use five times more copper than traditional fossil-fuel powered cars.

Manufacture of solar panels and wind turbines require mining minerals that currently are unavailable in the quantities required for this transition to 100% renewable energy. The U.S. is 100% dependent on imports from China, Russia and other countries of rare-earth elements used in the manufacture of solar panels and wind turbines. (Note: many of these elements do occur in the western states of the U.S. on federal land, but environmentalists and federal regulations prevent mining.)

Solar and wind are not as “green” as advertized. For instance:

Solar panels create 300 times more toxic waste per unit of energy than do nuclear power plants. (Source) PV solar panels rely on polysilicon being manufactured in large quantities and at high quality. A byproduct of polysilicon production is silicon tetrachloride, a highly toxic substance that poses a major environmental hazard. Wherever silicon tetrachloride is dumped, the land becomes totally infertile. A major environmental cost of photovoltaic solar energy is toxic chemical pollution (arsenic, gallium, and cadmium) and energy consumption associated with the large-scale manufacture of photovoltaic panels. Nitrogen trifluoride, used in the manufacturing of solar panels, is a powerful greenhouse gas with a “global warming potential” of 17,200 times that of carbon dioxide. (Source)

Wind turbines chop up birds and bats and also affect human health due to the low frequency vibration.

Both utility-scale solar and wind installations use much more land than do similar capacity fossil-fuel generation stations, and thereby degrade the local environment.

The utopian “Green New Deal” if implemented, may become the dystopian green deal.

 

Related articles:

The “Green New Deal” Will Send US Back to the Dark Ages

Health Hazards of Wind Turbines

Why Replacing Fossil-fuel Generation of Electricity with Solar or Wind Is Dangerous

Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

 

Note to readers:

The Tale of a Texas Town on 100% Renewable Energy

Seven years ago, the city fathers of Georgetown, Texas, decided that the town should rely on 100% renewable energy for its electricity needs. Georgetown is a small college town (pop. 71,000) about 25 miles north of Austin, Texas.

The town obtained long-term (20 years), fixed-cost contracts with a solar company and a wind company to provide electricity. The contracts were to buy nearly 900,000 Mwh per year. Georgetown’s average annual consumption is about 575,000 MWh with a peak of 145 MW, but they were thinking of future expansion. They could always sell the excess on the Texas energy market. Georgetown did remain connected to the Texas energy grid so they could buy electricity generated by fossil fuels and nuclear in case the unreliable solar and wind generation failed.

But the shale revolution hit. Natural gas prices decreased and made electricity cheaper, but Georgetown was locked into higher contracted prices. They also had to sell the excess contracted electricity on the open market at a loss. This caused the city budget to run multimillion dollar deficits. Guess who paid? Georgetown residents are now paying electric bills of more than $1,000 extra per year. Had the city remained on the state grid, the residents would be paying electric rates lower than they originally paid before the city got “100% renewable” energy.

Read more from Forbes.

See also:

The high cost of electricity from wind and solar generation

The “Green New Deal” Will Send US Back to the Dark Ages

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.” -Bertrand Russell

The “Green New Deal” promotes an energy policy and tried-and-failed social programs that will, by some estimates, cost $49 trillion during the first 10 years. (Cost estimate source) The National Review estimates that 5.8 million jobs would be eliminated under the Green New Deal. (Source)

The energy portion of the deal is based upon a profound ignorance and misunderstanding of how the climate system works. For example, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez claims: “The world is gonna end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change…” Promoters of utility-scale renewable energy, which probably would not exist without government mandates and subsidies, take advantage of that ignorance. (See Renewable Energy Subsidies Costly to Taxpayers, Benefit Big Companies)

Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute gives us the “highlights” of energy policy under the Green New Deal:

First, keep it in the ground by halting all fossil fuel leasing on federal lands and offshore areas; halting all permitting of fossil-fuel power plants, pipelines, and other infrastructure projects; banning fossil-fuel exports; and ending “massive, irrational subsidies” for fossil fuels and nuclear energy, waste incineration, and biomass energy.

Second, “the United States must shift to 100% renewable power by 2035 or earlier.” Large-scale hydro-electric power, biomass, and waste-to-energy do not qualify.

Third, public transport using renewable power only must be vastly expanded; sales of vehicles powered by gas and diesel engines must be banned as quickly as possible; and all such vehicles must be off the roads by 2040 at the latest. Of course, “federal credits for electric vehicles must be expanded.”

Fourth, Congress should “harness the full power of the Clean Air Act.” I’m not sure what more can be done to turn the economy upside down, but I may be missing something.

 Fifth, this must be a “just transition.” This will require “support for communities who (sic) have historically been harmed first and most by the dirty energy economy,” as well as “retrofitting millions of buildings to conserve energy” and “actively restoring natural ecosystems.”

 Sixth, the rights of indigenous peoples must be fully protected, although it’s not clear whether Native Americans will be allowed to develop coal, oil, and natural gas resources on their lands. My guess is they’ll be able to apply for compensation.

 Finally, the Green New Deal must not protect fossil fuel producers from legal liability and cannot include “market-based mechanisms and technology options such as carbon and emissions trading and offsets, [or] carbon capture and storage.”

 It should be called the Back to the Dark Ages Manifesto. (link to original article)

All aspects of living require energy, and hydrocarbons provide 80% of America’s energy, more for the rest of the world. A government-mandated transition to 100% renewable energy would completely destroy the U.S. industrial base and cause lights to go out in millions of households across the country. This energy transition alone could cost $5.2 trillion, while greatly increasing your energy costs.(Source)

Read these articles to see why the energy portion of the Green New Deal is so stupid:

The Broken Greenhouse – Why CO2 is a minor player in global climate

Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

An examination of the relationship between temperature and carbon dioxide

Why Replacing Fossil-fuel Generation of Electricity with Solar or Wind Is Dangerous

The high cost of electricity from wind and solar generation

 

The Green New Deal is not just about energy, it contains most of the old (and failed) socialist utopian policies such as free education through college, guaranteed jobs, free medical care. Read the list as complied by the Green Party.

All this free stuff will put the government in full control of your life, and cost only $49 trillion for the first 10 years. (Source)

According to Justin Haskins, Fox News:

The Green New Deal would dramatically reshape the U.S. economy and add tens of trillions of dollars to the national debt.

The radical plan would force families to pay more to heat, cool and provide electricity to their homes. It would raise the same costs for businesses, farmers, government and organizations, driving up their operating costs – and raising the prices for just about all the good and services Americans buy.

Under the Green New Deal, Americans would have to power their homes with renewable energy, such as wind and solar power. Every home and business in the United States would have to be “upgraded” for “state-of-the-art energy efficiency, comfort and safety.” And a slew of massive government social programs and mandates would be created.

In addition to the energy provisions of the Green New Deal that have received the most attention from left-wing pundits and radical environmentalists, there is a lot of important information related to this proposal that proponents have deliberately kept out of the spotlight.

Here are five of the most important things you need to know about the Green New Deal.

1. It includes many radical programs that have nothing to do with so-called “green” energy.

2. It would do nothing to curb global warming.

3. Renewable energy costs significantly more than fossil fuels.

4. The Green New Deal would empower and give handouts to left-wing special interest groups and industries.

5. It would run up the national debt by tens of trillions of dollars. Read more

 

“The same prudence which in private life would forbid our paying our own money for unexplained projects, forbids it in the dispensation of the public moneys.” —Thomas Jefferson (1808)

“If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretense of taking care of them, they must become happy.” —Thomas Jefferson (1802)

A Cautionary Tale from Great Britain

Green Deal fiasco:

By Tom Kelly, Investigations Editor for the Daily Mail

Thousands of homeowners face rip-off energy bills for decades after being ‘scammed’ into joining a state-backed £400million eco-energy scheme that ‘utterly failed’.

The Green Deal – which ministers trumpeted as the ‘biggest home improvement programme since the Second World War’ – was abandoned after two years as MPs admitted it had been a ‘complete fiasco’ that brought almost no environmental benefits.

But more than three years after its collapse, families remain trapped repaying loans of up to £21,000 which they unwittingly took out for solar panels, replacement boilers and insulation. The repayments are added to monthly utility bills which in some cases have quadrupled once the loans were added to the cost of their usual fuel and will take more than 20 years to pay back.

In some of the worst cases, the scheme was allowed to be ruthlessly exploited by Government-approved ‘gangster companies’ who conned the elderly and vulnerable, including those with dementia, MPs told the Commons. Read more

‘Green New Deal’ Relies on Minerals Environmentalists Won’t Allow Us to Mine
By Ann Bridges, The Heartland Institute
The Green New Deal proposes a massive expansion in the use of renewable energy technologies that rely on critical minerals we are not allowed to mine in the United States.

FACTS: Green renewable energy requires literally tons of minerals that currently are unavailable in the quantities required for this transition. Of course, the GND includes no plan for additional mining to supply this broad initiative.

FACTS: The Green New Deal’s website also says one of its goals is ending wars, which will supposedly “become obsolete” when fossil fuels are no longer used. If the advocates of the GND wish to limit the threat of war, then the United States needs to become mineral-independent in the same fashion it is now energy-independent.

FACTS: Another goal of the Green New Deal is to electrify U.S. transportation. Electric vehicles (EVs) use up to five times more copper than traditional, fossil-fuel-powered vehicles. California’s new edict to have five million EVs on the road by 2030 will require 750 million pounds of copper. Read more

Another Thing: 

Green New Deal Strengthens Russia and China

By hitting the U.S. military with deep cuts, “saving the planet” could have a dangerous result. Read article

The Supreme Court can fix a major mistake and deal a blow to federal corruption

The following is an opinion piece from the Falen Law Offices in Cheyenne, Wyoming. (Read the original here.)

For any American who is tired of a faceless bureaucrat controlling your life, the United States Supreme Court gave you an early Christmas present when they announced that they will hear a case that could drastically scale back the power of federal agencies.

The case deals with Mr. Kisor, a Marine veteran, who sought disability benefits for his service-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Although this case is a compelling story of a Marine veteran trying to receive benefits he was entitled to, this case has far reaching implications that affect every American, especially businesses and property owners. The reason this case is so important is that it is an opportunity for the Supreme Court to eliminate Auer Deference. Auer Deference is a rule the Supreme Court made in the 90s that federal agencies use to create a cocoon of unlimited and unsupervised power for themselves. These agencies can then use that power to control the lives of every American without any real oversight from the court systems or elected officials.

Auer Deference essentially requires a court to enforce an agency’s interpretation of its own rules, unless that interpretation is “plainly erroneous.” To understand how Auer Deference works it is important to understand how regulations are made.

Essentially regulations are made when Congress decides in a law that they want an agency to be in charge of a certain issue. For example, Congress in the 70s knew that it wanted to take steps to protect the environment, but it did not want the political ramifications of sometimes choosing to protect the environment by harming landowners and businesses. So instead of passing laws that clearly laid out how it wanted to protect the environment, Congress passed laws like the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Clean Water Act, that were intentionally vague, and gave agencies like the EPA, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the US Forest Service the power to interpret and create regulations to protect the environment.

When Congress gives an agency the power to regulate something, they then have the authority to draft regulations laying out the rules and standards for the particular issue. Auer Deference incentivizes those agencies to draft obscure regulations which they will then be able to interpret. Then, if someone challenges the agency’s interpretation of a regulation, the court will automatically rule in the agency’s favor, unless the person can prove that the rule is “plainly erroneous.” Having to prove that a rule is “plainly erroneous” is nearly impossible. So an agency could create an absurd interpretation of a regulation it intentionally left vague, and there would be no recourse or protection against the agency enforcing that interpretation. Essentially, Auer Deference allows the people writing the rules to also interpret the rule (or in other words, the patients are running the rulemaking asylum).

Although there are numerous examples of how Auer Deference harms the rights of Americans daily, a practical example of an agency using Auer Deference can be found in the Endangered Species Act. When deciding what areas should be designated as critical habitat, the US Fish and Wildlife Service created a regulation stating, “the Secretary shall focus on the principal biological or physical constituent elements within the defined area that are essential to the conservation of the species.” The regulations however do not define “essential to the conservation of the species.” Due to the ambiguity as to what is actually “essential to the conservation of the species,” the Fish and Wildlife Service has used the ambiguity to unilaterally designate critical habitat wherever they want, even stating that critical habitat did not have to actually be habitable by the endangered species.

The Fish and Wildlife Service’s liberal use of “critical habitat” was the primary issue in the Dusky Gopher Frog case. In that case the agency interpreted its own rules as to what can be designated as critical habitat and determined that certain land in Louisiana, that the dusky gopher frog could not viably live on, was listed as critical habitat for the species. Since the Fish and Wildlife Service were the “experts” the district court and the Fifth Circuit both used Auer Deference to rule in favor of the Fish and Wildlife Service that critical habitat did not have to be habitable. Although the Supreme Court luckily reversed the Fifth Circuit and ruled that critical habitat had to actually be habitable, the decision was sent back to the Fifth Circuit. Due to Auer Deference, the Fifth Circuit could conceivably rule in favor the Fish and Wildlife Service and designate uninhabitable land as critical habitat.

In the end, Justice Scalia best described the problem with Auer Deference when he wrote, “Auer deference… contravenes one of the great rules of separation of powers: He who writes a law must not adjudge its violation.” Or in other words, the greatest harm that Auer Deference creates is that it gives the power of interpreting the law to the very same people who write the law. Such power naturally can create corruption. This corruption manifests in federal agencies creating intentionally vague regulations that nobody can follow in order to allow government bureaucrats to write the laws themselves on a case-by-case basis. Thankfully, it appears that the US Supreme Court recognizes the dangers of Auer Deference and will hopefully eliminate it.

The New Madrid, Missouri Earthquakes, 1811-1812

 

When one thinks of earthquakes in the U.S., we often think of the west coast. But, on a U.S. earthquake hazards map, there is a big bull’s eye in the Midwest along the Mississippi River, centered on the town of New Madrid, Missouri. According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) this area, the New Madrid seismic zone has “ repeatedly produced sequences of major earthquakes, including several of magnitude 7 to 8, over the past 4,500 years.”

The most famous New Madrid earthquakes occurred from December 16, 1811, through February 7, 1812. The three main earthquakes measured 7.3-7.5 on the Richter scale. Aftershocks persisted through 1813.

 

According to the USGS:

1811, December 16, 08:15 UTC Northeast Arkansas – the first main shock

2:15 am local time

Magnitude ~7.5

This powerful earthquake was felt widely over the entire eastern United States. People were awakened by the shaking in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Charleston, South Carolina. Perceptible ground shaking was in the range of one to three minutes depending upon the observers location. The ground motions were described as most alarming and frightening in places like Nashville, Tennessee, and Louisville, Kentucky. Reports also describe houses and other structures being severely shaken with many chimneys knocked down. In the epicentral area the ground surface was described as in great convulsion with sand and water ejected tens of feet into the air liquefaction).

 

During the February 7 earthquake, “Large waves (seiches) were generated on the Mississippi River by seismically-induced ground motions deforming the riverbed. Local uplifts of the ground and water waves moving upstream gave the illusion that the river was flowing upstream. Ponds of water also were agitated noticeably.”

The New Madrid seismic zone is underlain by the Reelfoot Rift, a large fault zone with mainly horizontal movement. It is speculated that this rift was formed about 750 million years ago during the breakup of the supercontinent Rodinia. The Reelfoot Rift failed to split the continent, but remains a weak area in Earth’s crust. From time to time, pressure from the movement of tectonic plates causes movement on this weak area resulting in earthquakes.

The USGS “concludes that the New Madrid Seismic zone is at significant risk for damaging earthquakes that must be accounted for in urban planning and development. A fundamental problem is the lack of knowledge concerning the physical processes that govern earthquake recurrence in the Central US, and whether large earthquakes will continue to occur at the same intervals as the previous three clusters of events. ”

To read more, including eyewitness accounts, and a summary of 1811-1812 New Madrid earthquakes sequence, go to:

https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/events/1811-1812newmadrid/

 

Related stories:

Where the Next Big American Earthquake and Tsunami Might Occur

The Great Arizona-Sonora Earthquake of 1887