World’s worst quakes ‘caused by humans’

Updated 22 January 2014
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World’s worst quakes ‘caused by humans’

LONDON: Some of the world’s largest and most deadly recent earthquakes were not natural disasters at all but were caused by human activities such as mining, reservoir construction and oil and gas extraction, scientists say.
A global study of hundreds of quakes by Christian Klose, a consultant geophysicist, identified 92 large earthquakes likely to have been caused by humans.
Klose said that the Earth’s crust is littered with geological faults under enormous tensions similar to those in a coiled spring.
When humans pile up vast masses of water or minerals on the surface, or extract them from beneath, the change in the weight of the overlying land can be enough to release that geological tension, causing an earthquake. “The data specifically shows that human-made mass changes can advance the clock of natural seismic cycles and induce or trigger new earthquakes,” said Klose.
According to the research, the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan, China, which had a magnitude of 7.9 and killed 80,000 people, was triggered by the construction of the Zipingu reservoir. In Britain, the 2007 Folkestone earthquake, which rocked southeast England and measured 4.3, was triggered by the millions of tons of shingle piled up to protect Folkestone harbor, ‘The Times’ reported.
The study said the 2011 earthquake in Lorca, southeast Spain was apparently triggered by water being extracted from underground reservoirs.
Another, with a magnitude of 5.6, hit Newcastle, Australia, in 1989; 13 people died and hundreds were injured.
Klose linked this with the amount of coal extracted from nearby mines.
The research is published in the Journal of Seismology.


Eight killed by explosion in Somalia's Mogadishu

Updated 15 June 2019
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Eight killed by explosion in Somalia's Mogadishu

MOGADISHU: A car bomb exploded near the Somali parliament Saturday, killing eight people, emergency workers said, hours after militia executed nine civilians from a clan with suspected links to the extremist Al-Shabaab.
"We have confirmed eight people killed and 16 others wounded in the blast," the private Aamin Ambulance service said.
A second blast on a key road leading to the airport of the Somali capital Mogadishu did not cause any casualties.
The Al-Shabaab group claimed responsibility for the attacks saying "they were targeting two checkpoints, one of them along the airport road and (the other) along the road that leads to house of legislators."
Abdulahi Mire, who witnessed the explosion near the parliament building said; "I saw four dead bodies and four others wounded in the blast."
Police sealed off the road and ambulances rushed to the scene, he added.
Local shopkeeper Naimo Ali said the blast was "huge" and destroyed a part of her shop.
"I saw several people strewn in the road and some of them were motionless," she added.
According to security sources the second explosives-laden car a Toyota Noah, was spotted by security forces at a checkpoint. They opened fire and killed a man in the car, which then exploded.
No one was injured in the blast.