We have an overabundance of natural disasters happening here in North America at this time. These events are inevitable in the long run but random in the short one. Major hurricanes, extensive forest fires, and now major earthquakes don’t usually overlap but now they just happen to be doing just that. As PT would say, Sad.
Today, here in Bend, Oregon, we are having some rain and the first smoke-free day in months. The smoke was bad enough that I was wearing a 3M 8511 – N95 face mask a few times, although most people weren’t. The folks at the University of Puerto Rico are expecting a direct hit by an (M) major hurricane tomorrow afternoon.
Seventy miles south-east of Mexico City experienced a 7.1 earthquake today. I track these events because I wonder how people react to threats to their existential existence. — National Hurricane Center — EARTHQUAKES — FOREST FIRES — Perhaps my interest in these natural things was piqued by living on the Hayward Fault for fifty years. It is a major earthquake fault and it is past due for a major event. It was a small part of my motivation for moving to Bend six years ago, but nature caught up with me and felled a large Ponderosa tree on my house this April. Tata … so much for foresight.
One of my friends, visiting Bend last week, moved to a place within the shake zone of the quake below last year but went back in time to experience today’s quake. (Click the pictures for bigger views.)
I went to the site of the quake on Google Earth and noticed the smooth round hill to the left, in this view the yellow push-pin at lat/lon 18.548, 98.399. It struck me as strange because all of the nearby hills were very irregularly shaped.
The bottom picture shows the area around the quake site as being covered with an eroded landscape. The hill to the left of the yellow pushpin is smooth with little weathering as is the one directly above the pushpin. Everything else is either flat as formed by ancient lakes or eroded hills from a distant past. What do we make of the origins of that smooth hill anomaly? My first guess is that those two hills are the beginnings of a future mountain. They are being pushed up by the forces that created the earthquake, and as they are aligned with Popocatepetl and the more distant volcanos these little hills might become volcanoes themselves.
Check back in a couple million years to see if I’m right.