Earthquakes and Volcanoes: Inevitable Threats of Natural Disasters

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Earthquakes and Volcanoes: Inevitable Threats of Natural Disasters
Earthquakes and Volcanoes: Inevitable Threats of Natural Disasters

"The earthquake and the volcano are parts of one of the greatest phenomena that rule the world." Charles Darwin

The US National Intelligence Council's report “Global Trends - 2040: A World of Growing Contradictions,” published earlier this year, reasonably argues that economies, demographics, the environment, and technology will actively shape the strategies and tactics of world powers. However, when considering the factors that determine the decisions of world powers, the diversity of the natural environment around us is reduced in this report, basically, to consideration of the environmental problems of the reduction of cultivated areas due to land degradation and decarbonization of the atmosphere. At the same time, the possibility of a real threat of large-scale natural disasters (earthquakes, volcanism and tsunami) is not even mentioned, the impact of which, judging by the known historical facts, sometimes played not only a significant role in climate change, but also led to the death of individual states.

Meanwhile, about 500 thousand earthquakes occur annually in the world. About a fifth of them are felt by the population, and about a hundred earthquakes cause recorded destruction and loss of life. Earthquakes are genetically associated with tsunamis, landslides, avalanches, floods and mudflows. The zone of the most powerful earthquakes on our planet is the territory of the so-called "Pacific Ring of Fire", which accounts for up to 90 percent of world earthquakes and about 75 percent of active volcanoes. The second largest such zone is the Alpine-Himalayan seismic belt, which accounts for 5 to 6 percent of world earthquakes and 17 percent of the most powerful of them.

Volcanic craters among Iceland's lava fields.

Of the series of giant underground impacts recorded in the past and current centuries, the earthquakes and tsunamis that occurred in Italy (1908), Kamchatka and the Kuril Islands (1952), Alaska (1969), Guatemala (1976), China (1920, 1976, 2008), Sumatra (2010) and Haiti (2010), Chile (1960 and 2010) and Japan (1923, 2011). On the territory of the USSR, in addition to the well-known Ashgabat (1929 and 1948), Tashkent (1966) and Spitak (1988) earthquakes, the Andijan (1902), Kemin (1911), Khaitskoe (1949), Muiskoe (1957), Gazli and Dagestan (1970, 1976, 1984) earthquakes.

Volcanoes are no less dangerous. Some of them in the past were the cause of catastrophic climatic cold snaps, called the "year without summer". It is advisable to briefly mention the Toba volcano (Sumatra island) with a caldera of 1,775 sq. km, the eruption of which 72 thousand years ago brought to the surface 2800 cubic kilometers of molten rocks; the highest volcano in Europe Elbrus, the last eruption of which 1700 years ago was accompanied by avalanches and mudflows, and ash and volcanic bombs scattered within a radius of up to 700 km (almost to Astrakhan); New Zealand supervolcano Taupo, California Long Valley volcano and a number of others. The eruptions of these volcanoes, as well as the largest manifestations of the activity of their other fellows in modern history, have repeatedly been the cause of long-term manifestations of hunger, disease and death of millions of our planet's inhabitants.

There are 233 known active, dormant and extinct volcanoes in Russia. Most of them (including more than 40 volcanoes active in the past and current centuries) are located on the territory of Kamchatka and the Kuril Islands. Extinct and "dormant" volcanoes are known in the Caucasus and Chukotka, in Yakutia, Primorye and the Sea of ​​Japan, in the area of ​​Lake Baikal, in Tyva and Karelia. In general, there are at least four most dangerous "dormant" volcanoes on Earth, which can wake up at any moment and lead to a catastrophe on a global scale.These are Fujiyama, the Yellowstone Caldera, the Phlegrean Fields near Naples, and the Kikai submarine caldera south of Kyushu Island.

Features of the natural mechanism of earthquakes and volcanic activity

In general, earthquakes can be conditionally subdivided into four categories: tectonic, volcanic, landslide and anthropogenic. Landfall earthquakes occur as a result of the fall of significant anthropogenic or cosmogenic objects. Anthropogenic - caused by underground and surface explosions, accompany the extraction of oil, gas, coal and other types of mineral raw materials, stimulated by the growing loads of the construction industry.

The most destructive of all are tremors of tectonic origin.

Most of the conclusions about the causes of earthquakes are based on the theoretical assumptions of the American geophysicist Henry Fielding Read, who believed that the source is formed as a result of ruptured deformation of rocks under the action of elastic energy accumulated in them. At the same time, one should not forget the opinion of one of the founders of geology, Charles Lyell, who believed that "the root cause of volcanoes and earthquakes is the same" and that "it is associated with the release of heat and chemical reactions at different depths of the inner region of the globe."

As you know, the heat balance of the Earth is mainly composed of the energy of solar radiation, the radiogenic heat of decay of radioactive chemical elements, the energy of gravitational differentiation of the core, mantle and lithosphere matter, the energy of tidal friction and deceleration of the rotation of our planet. Judging by the results of a two-hundred-year study of earthquakes and volcanic processes, the most characteristic feature of the above-mentioned energy sources is their distribution throughout the entire mass of the earth's interior nature of the effect on the general temperature regime of the planet's interior and the absence of a mechanism or method for their concentration for a sharp shock (explosive) manifestation of this energy in specific points of the earth's interior. At the same time, the energy suitable for these purposes must be practically inexhaustible, highly concentrated and released at the speed of an explosion. It must have the ability to quickly accumulate and be fed by additional portions of energy in the intervals between seismic shocks and volcanic manifestations.

According to Arie Gilat and Alexander Vol, which the author shares, the energy of exothermic (explosive) transformation of chemicals and their constituent chemical elements, mobilized in the process of hydrogen-helium "breathing" of the Earth's interior, is most likely suitable for this role. Centers of seismic and volcanic activity are formed above local zones and channels of seepage and accumulation of deep-seated primary hydrogen and helium, “stored” in the hydride core of the Earth. Injections of exothermal "gas breathing" of the bowels selectively overcome the mantle and asthenosphere, by explosions, tectonic disturbances and melting form passages in the upper mantle, asthenosphere and lithosphere for gases, fluids and magma to the foci of volcanoes and earthquakes.

It should be noted that in the list of chemical elements of the lithosphere and hydrosphere, hydrogen ranks second (after oxygen). Its high content is found in the thermal gases of volcanoes, seeps (gas jets) of the rift zones of the oceans, in the gases of coal basins and kimberlite pipes. Hydrogen and helium - the main primary “bricks” of our Universe, “stored” in the core of our planet, serve as suppliers of energy for mantle plumes, earthquakes and volcanoes.

Mantle plumes, which in a figurative comparison are represented as “lit cigarettes” burning the “paper” (lithosphere) moving above them, are formed in the zones of active hydrogen-helium drainage of the bowels.Magma chambers of mantle plumes, which form as a result of the exothermic "throttle effect" inherent in hydrogen and helium, provide magma and energy for volcanoes. I believe that the causes of earthquakes and their energy balance are of a more complex and complex nature. In this case, the explosive nature of juvenile hydrogen and helium is supplemented by the constantly generated thermal energy of the "throttling effect" of these gases and the energy of gravitational restructuring of the Earth's interior.

There are several models of the source of earthquakes. The conditionally "hard" geoid Earth has a complex hierarchical structure, in which the presence of numerous layers and blocks provides a certain rotational instability of the earth's surface, individual tectonic plates and subsoil areas. Vortex flows existing in the depths, for which mass movements and rotations of individual blocks are typical, increase the total energy saturation of the subsoil. Such concepts form the basis of the rotational wave model of the earthquake source.

NV Shebalin proposed a source model based on the concept of “structural hooks” formed in the depths, which prevent rocks from displacing along tectonic faults. It is assumed that it is the breakdown - the destruction of the "hook" that is an instantaneous and irreversible process that leads to the formation of an earthquake. V.I.Myachkin and other seismologists developed a model of avalanche-unstable fracturing, according to which it is assumed that under conditions of energy heterogeneity in the rocks of the earthquake source, a large number of cracks growing like an avalanche are formed, which ultimately combine into one main rupture, along which occurs discharge of accumulated voltages.

Until recently, it was considered an indisputable truth that earthquakes with a magnitude of nine (M = 9) are unlikely, since rocks cannot accumulate (without destruction) the energy required for this. Nevertheless, our Earth repeatedly shook from such "unlikely shocks": in 1952 in Kamchatka (M = 9, 0), in 1957 and 1964 in Alaska (M = 9, 1), in 1960 and 2010 in Chile (M = 9, 5), in 2004 in Indonesia (M = 9, 2) and in 2011 in Japan (M = 9, 0). In Chile, for example, in 1960, an earthquake of magnitude 9.5 with a focus located at a depth of 59.4 kilometers splashed out energy equivalent to an explosion of 2670 megatons of trinitrotoluene (TNT), which is thousands of times higher than the energy of the largest hydrogen bomb tested on Novaya Zemlya. ("Tsar Bomba", 50 megatons TNT).

The GPS-recorded displacement of the coastline in the area of ​​the cities of Santiago and Concepcion by 30 centimeters and centimeter shifts of the middle part of the South American continent to the west, as well as surface movements in the Buenos Aires area, could have occurred only as a result of a macroexplosion and a series of other explosions that followed - 49 aftershocks, which, like a giant vibrator, provided the observed mobility of the rocks of the South American continent. The statements of many scientists and specialists that the indicated bursts of underground energy are the result of the resolution of the physicomechanical dislocations of the rocks of the lithosphere, in our opinion, seem unlikely. A different explanation is required for such focused emissions of monstrous energy.

The catastrophic explosions of volcanoes are still explained by some experts only as a breakthrough of accumulated gases, water vapor and lava through a crater “sealed” by rock and petrified lava. If this were indeed the case, then the strongest should be the first explosion at the beginning of the eruption, destroying the rocks overlying the magma chamber. Meanwhile, the giant explosion of the Tambora volcano in 1815 with an energy of 1012 J, equivalent to an explosion of 24 billion tons of TNT, occurred seven months after the volcanic activity of this volcano began, which lasted 15 months.The monstrous explosion of the Krakatau volcano on August 27, 1883 occurred three months after the beginning of its weak explosive activity. The initial velocities of some of the rock fragments exceeded 8 km / sec.

At the same time, it is widely known that earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are accompanied by significant emissions of helium, hydrogen and other gases. The continuous process of degassing the Earth ensures the transit of hydrogen and helium from the core to the surface of the lithosphere. The heat released by them in the process of the “throttling effect”, as well as the energy of exothermic chemical reactions, form pyromagmatic ascending flows and magma bubbles (plumes), which melt through the mantle and lithosphere. At the same time, H2O, SO2, H2SO4, CO2, H2S, HF and other compounds are formed between hydrogen and oxygen, hydrogen and carbon (with the formation of explosive methane), as well as in other exothermic synthesis reactions. Explosions arising from their interaction and exothermic reactions inevitably end in tectonic restructuring of the bowels and the earth's surface. At the same time, volcanic eruptions and the accompanying volcanic shaking can be considered as a special type of near-surface earthquakes, in which the hypocenter emerges on the earth's surface. The energy of volcanic processes, as well as the accompanying earthquakes, is provided by the gas breathing of the Earth.

Forecast of earthquakes and volcanic activation

The methodology for forecasting earthquakes and volcanic activity is based on current seismic observations and accumulated data from previous studies. At the same time, the laws established in the 19th century by Alexis Perret about the timing of earthquakes (the frequency of their manifestation) to new and full moons and the fact that the frequency of earthquakes increases with the maximum approach of the Moon to the Earth are taken into account.

In the process of studying the territorial distribution of the epicenters of earthquakes and volcanoes, it was found that their bulk is confined to the relatively narrow submeridian belts of seismic and volcanic activity: the Pacific, Mid-Atlantic and East African, as well as to the sublatitudinal Mediterranean, coinciding with the zones of deep faults of the Earth.

It is in these zones (in addition to the ongoing geophysical monitoring of seismic disturbances) that thermal imaging of the surface in the infrared range is carried out using remote sensing means, observations are made of the decrease in the depth of the aftershock hypocenters ("floating" of earthquake foci), monitoring of changes in the level and chemical composition is carried out groundwater, the activity of thermal springs and geysers, observations of the behavior of animals and fish, catastrophic migrations of snakes and amphibians are carried out, the volume of radon emanations is monitored, noise and sound signals, electromagnetic radiation, changes in the concentration of thermal neutrons on the Earth's surface, observations of diffuse glow and ball lightning. At the same time, observations are made of the decompaction of the surface layer of the lithosphere, lunar and solar tides, jumps in atmospheric pressure3; ascending flows of gas respiration of the bowels, changes in the indicators of the force, magnetic and electric fields, changes in the physicochemical and physicomechanical properties of rocks.

On the basis of the collected data on earthquakes of the planet over the past 4, 5 thousand years and volcanic eruptions over the last 12 thousand years, A.V. Vikulin (2011), together with other authors, determined the intervals of recurrence of earthquakes and the time of migration of their foci. At the same time, the duration of the main seismic period To was calculated, equal to 195 +/- 6 years, and multiple periods of 388 +/- 4 years (2 To) and 789 +/- 9 years (4 To) were outlined.

It was found that the periods of volcanic eruptions with the largest amplitude have a duration of 198 +/- 17 years, 376 +/- 12 and 762 +/- 17 years, which are close to the periods of earthquakes7.

The peak of seismic and volcanic activity of the planet falls on the area with coordinates 120 ° E, and 20–40 ° N, coinciding with the zone with the maximum gradient of the geoid altitude change (from + 60–75 m to -75–90 m) … The territory of the second maximum (90 ° W and 10–20 ° S), which is inferior to it in activity, is located on the other side of the Earth. It falls on the zone of the lowest gradients of the geoid heights. It was in this zone that the strongest Chilean earthquake (1960) with a magnitude of 9, 5 occurred in the 20th century.

The coming apotheosis of seismic sensors

It is interesting that modern seismic survey equipment, which today is effectively used in the search and exploration of oil, gas and other minerals, was first created and used only for recording the vibration of the bowels during earthquakes. The first seismoscope of the Irish engineer Robert Mallett in 1846 recorded the vibrations of the soil from the explosion of a charge of black powder. Further transformation of mechanical vibrations of the subsoil into a recorded signal of an electromagnetic seismograph was completed in 1906 by the Russian scientist B. B. Golitsyn. In 25 years, 350 seismic stations were operating in the world. Nowadays, their number is measured in thousands.

The seismic survey, which emerged on the basis of the practical application of seismic sensors, has become an effective geophysical method for prospecting for minerals. Today, only one company, GEOTECH Seismic Intelligence, is armed with more than 80 seismic stations, dozens of vibrators (non-explosive sources of seismic signals) and about 300 thousand seismic receivers. In addition to traditional cable stations for onshore and offshore operations, more advanced nodal (cableless) telemetry systems are being commissioned.

Modernized miniature models of seismic receivers with built-in ultrasensitive molecular-electronic sensors, equipped with a battery and receivers of signals from global navigation systems (GLONASS, GPS, Beidou), equipped with a system for accumulating and wirelessly transmitting accumulated information, are used today not only in geological prospecting.

The existing complex of modern geophysical methods (gravimetry, seismic prospecting, magnetic prospecting and electrical prospecting) allows obtaining a detailed volumetric model of a volcano and even determining the location of an underground gas soliton ("gas pipe") feeding a volcano or an earthquake source - one of the main sources of endogenous processes.

In this regard, further improvement of the hardware for forecasting hydrogen (proton) degassing of subsoil deserves special attention, during which the Earth's gravitational field changes significantly (earthquake forecast) and the ozone layer of the atmosphere is radically destroyed (forecast of ozone anomalies), as well as the creation and implementation of more advanced and affordable seismic sensors.

The zone of total use of portable seismic sensors in the future should be all large environmentally hazardous protected facilities (NPP, APES, GRES, etc.), bridges and dams, all, without exception, objects of ground-based high-rise construction, as well as underground urban facilities (shopping centers, crossings, tunnels, subways, water supply systems, heat supply and sewerage systems, communication lines and electric cable trenches, etc.). It is also advisable to use seismic sensors when creating a strict security perimeter at objects of state importance, on the routes of gas and oil pipelines, in the area of ​​refineries, LNG plants, gas compressor stations and wind power plants.

The development of hardware for seismic equipment allows us to outline other possible areas of its application.Including when equipping roads and vehicles without drivers with seismic sensors. I believe that, in principle, it is possible to use seismic sensors in the technology of creating not only a seismic code of any kind of equipment, but also a personal human "seismic portrait" (seismic recording of steps), which is as individual and unique as fingerprints.

The ongoing technical revolution, digitalization of information, effective improvement of geophysical equipment and communication lines allow us to accelerate the achievement of breakthrough success in forecasting, unfortunately, inevitable natural disasters.

In conclusion, it is advisable to emphasize that the fulfillment of the task of saving the people of Russia and the related measures to preserve a favorable environment, defined by the National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation11, require a more active creation of a system for effective forecasting of negative processes, the danger of which has not diminished today. In 2020, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS), 13,654 earthquakes with a magnitude of more than 4 occurred in the world. This year, the eruptions of Etna do not stop in Italy, Stromboli woke up, volcanoes in Kamchatka and the Kuriles, in Indonesia, Iceland, Costa Riquet, Republic of the Congo and the Philippines. Earthquakes and volcanoes remain a relatively unanswered challenge to modern civilization.

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