Once again, Dutch earthquake forecaster Frank Hoogerbietz raises controversy. But this time, the man who has filled the world with noise since the earthquake in Turkey and Syria (last February 6) did not specify the date of a new earthquake, as has been the case recently, but he warned in a tweet he wrote on his account on the X website (formerly Twitter) of an earthquake occurring in… The Arab region due to the violent bombing carried out by the Israeli occupation army on the Gaza Strip.
Hogrebetz, who famously linked the alignment of planets in the sky to earthquakes occurring on active faults on Earth, said: “The world must force Israel to stop this madness. Aside from the genocide against the Palestinians, this bombing will ultimately have a major seismic impact on The region will accelerate the occurrence of a major earthquake along the Dead Sea Fault…human stupidity.”
Although Hogrebetz – who has no scientific study bearing his name – always arouses the anger of scientists who see his tweets as far from the scientific method even if they agree with reality, they smelled in his tweet this time the scent of scientific data, not ruling out the effect of bombing on causing something. Known as “induced earthquakes”.
But at the same time, they stressed four reasons for concern about this danger in the Gaza Strip:
The first is that this type of earthquake is not dangerous (meaning that its strength is limited).
Secondly: its occurrence requires the use of certain types of weapons of destruction.
Third: The geological structure of Gaza does not allow this to happen.
Fourth: The Israeli occupation distributes the destruction throughout Gaza, and does not concentrate it in a specific location.
Between natural and induced earthquakes
Induced earthquakes, as defined by Jane Kunin, a researcher in earth sciences at Curtin University in Australia article Published by “The Conversation” website, it is the term used to describe earthquakes caused by human activities.
These earthquakes can occur due to anything that changes the pressures on the rocks below the surface, and include operations that add or remove large loads from the surface, such as mining, building dams or high-rise buildings, or extracting water from aquifers. They also include some military operations. .
“Induced earthquakes follow the same rules as aftershocks that occur after a large earthquake, in that they are small,” Judith Hubbard, a seismologist at Cornell University, said in an email response.
She adds: “Even if the bombs are destructive, the energy they release is not huge, compared to that which causes pressures on tectonic plates in areas of active faults, causing earthquakes to occur naturally.”
Tectonic plates are plates of the Earth’s crust that move very slowly over the Earth’s surface. Earthquakes occur as a result of the sudden sliding of tectonic plates in the fault zone. These plates move slowly, but they get stuck at their edges due to friction. When pressure overcomes the edge due to friction, an earthquake occurs that releases enormous energy in the form of waves that travel through the Earth’s crust and cause the vibration that we feel.
Hubbard says: “In general, if the bombs were used in any surface war, they would be very ineffective in changing the pressures in the depths of the fault zone, where earthquakes usually begin at a depth of between 5 and 25 km. In addition, explosions, even if they are in the depths, “The change in pressure it causes is temporary, so it is not necessary to reach the tipping point that causes the earthquake.”
Seismic bombs and nuclear tests
Unlike a surface bomb, which usually explodes at or near the surface and destroys its target directly with the force of the explosion, a seismic bomb is dropped from a high altitude, reaching a very high speed when it falls and collides. It penetrates and explodes deep in the ground, causing caves or huge holes, in addition to intense waves. of energy. They are usually used to damage or destroy difficult targets such as bridges.
The same previous effect also occurs when conducting “nuclear tests” that they conduct deep in the ground, according to a report To the US Geological Survey.
The report explains that underground nuclear explosions usually release energy ranging from 2 to 50 kilotons (one kiloton is equivalent to a thousand tons), compared – for example – to the Afghanistan earthquake that occurred in May 1998 and had a magnitude of 6.5 (magnitude is a measure of earthquakes that expresses their actual strength Its size is measured from the place of its occurrence), which had an output equivalent to 2000 kilotons.
Hubbard refers to a recent nuclear test conducted by North Korea in 2017, and says: “Pyongyang tested an underground bomb with a power of 250 kilotons, which is equivalent to an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.1 to 6.3. This led to smaller earthquakes, but nothing similar to the size of natural earthquakes.” “.
And it was study Published on September 26, 2018 and led by Lianfeng Zhao of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and his colleagues. The study relied on regional seismic data collected from a number of sources, and succeeded in detecting three induced earthquakes that occurred after the nuclear test conducted by Pyongyong in September 2017: The first occurred about 8 minutes after the nuclear test, less than 200 meters from the test site, and then the second and third occurred, one on September 23 and the other on October 12, both of which occurred about 8 kilometers northeast of the test site.
Hubbard does not agree with the trend said by some that these induced earthquakes may be a harbinger of a larger earthquake, and says that “the occurrence of a large earthquake after a small earthquake is very rare, and scientists do not consider it a useful way to predict the occurrence of a seismic hazard.”
Accordingly, the seismologist at Cornell University concludes in her comment that the induced earthquakes provoked by the most powerful weapons, such as nuclear explosions and seismic bombs, are neither large nor dangerous, without mentioning the type of weapons used by Israel.
Ken Yip Chun, a professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Toronto, Canada, confirms what Hubbard said. He said in a comment he wrote on: Blog In response to a researcher’s question about the effect of heavy bombing resulting from an air strike on an earthquake, the research website “ResearchGate” said: “Violent bombing (using conventional weapons) cannot in any way lead to local seismic activities that can be even remotely compared.” Those carried out in large underground nuclear weapons tests (tens of kilometers away).”
He continued, “The earthquakes that North Korea witnessed, for example, after the nuclear test, are due to the fact that the northern part of the Korean Peninsula is a largely seismic area, and the area surrounding the Cheektong nuclear test site is a particularly seismic area.”
Gaza.. Is it a seismically active area?
Sigurjon Johnson – a professor in the Earth Science and Engineering Program at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia (KAUST) – agrees with the two previous opinions in reducing the risk of induced earthquakes even in the case of the use of destructive weapons, but he disagrees with them in that “even violent bombardment using conventional weapons “It can cause seismic waves that are measured by seismographs, even in neighboring countries.”
In private statements via email, he points out: study A factual report by Ukrainian researchers published last August 30 in the journal Nature, in which it identified the locations of attacks in Ukraine using seismic devices.
He explains, “But there are no scientific studies that say that these waves can cause tectonic earthquakes (natural earthquakes), but since the waves resulting from large earthquakes can lead to earthquakes in other locations (usually just small aftershocks), it is possible.” “One begins to speculate that seismic waves from explosions might cause small earthquakes, but this has not been scientifically proven yet.”
He added: “Even if it happened to you, the seismic waves resulting from the explosions are small, so their impact on distant faults is minimal. Therefore, there is no need to worry that the explosions in Gaza will lead to large earthquakes in the Dead Sea region.”
Sherif Al-Hadi, head of the Seismology Department at the National Institute for Astronomical and Geophysical Research in Egypt, points out another reassuring message, which is that the Gaza Strip area is not a seismic zone, and there are no active faults in it, and it is far from the Dead Sea fault that Dutch earthquake forecaster Frank Hoogrebets referred to.
Al-Hadi said in an interview with Al-Jazeera Net over the phone, “In order for induced earthquakes to occur, the bombing must be focused on the Al-Falq area, which is far from Gaza, and the amount of explosives resulting from the throwing of bombs and missiles is not in one place, and therefore, the resulting energy is distributed over areas.” “There is a lot of energy in northern, central and southern Gaza, and it is not accumulated energy that leads to reaching the turning point that causes earthquakes.”
Although he smelled for the first time even a slight scent of science in the comment of the Dutch earthquake forecaster, Al-Hadi confirms that his comment is consistent with what he has been doing recently, which is to keep up with the prevailing “trend.” He concluded by saying: May God protect the people of Gaza, as the tragic situation there cannot bear an earthquake that exceeds their suffering.