I was looking at a juicy orange the other day and it set me thinking about earthquakes and stuff. What’s the connection? Well there isn’t – if you consider just the orange – or just earthquakes. But if you put the two things together, they are connected. Both are natural. And, for most of us, that’s where thinking might stop. With me, that thinking went on.
I thought about the effect of withdrawing moisture from a fully grown juicy orange. I thought what if someone was to take an orange, a big four inch diameter juicy orange; insert a thin hypodermic needle and extract about 0.001ml of liquid? What would happen?
For that first insertion, probably no discernible or even measurable effect; unless, of course, one had access to some ultra-sophisticated modern measuring and weighing devices that could accurately measure and weigh to 0.00001grams. I suppose such instruments exist, but I don’t know about them.
Continuing, though, with these single needle 0.001ml extractions; when would the result of the extractions become noticeable? Would it take 100 extractions? Would it take 1,000? 10,000?
It’s clear though, that at some point, the effect of the extractions would be noticeable and would produce an effect – an impact. A result. Perhaps it would take 10,000 extractions [10ml]. Perhaps, 20,000 [20ml]. Whatever it took, eventually, there would be an impact. Eventually, an effect.
Eventually, the orange would be seen as no longer round and juicy. Eventually it would become shriveled and shrunken. The effects of the continuing extractions would change that orange. That orange’s internal infrastructure, its arrangement of slices and ‘pegs’, will change.
In the 1920’s – that’s over eighty years ago, western oil companies began drilling – inserting the equivalent of hypodermic needles – into the earth in the Middle East. Eighty years ago, these oil drillers began extracting oil – juice – from the earth in small, then large, then larger, then copious amounts.
Nowadays, oil companies count their daily oil – juice – extractions (they call it output or yield or production) in millions of barrels per day. For over eighty years, big and then bigger oil companies have been sucking a liquid from inside the earth’s innards. Most of that extracting has been concentrated in the Middle East.
Has that long extraction process caused any difference in the earth’s upper and inner crusts – those things that geologists call ‘tectonic plates’ – the way it would if one had been extracting juice from a plump orange?
Hmmm! I wondered? Is there – could there – be a connection between the earthquakes and other sub-strata upheavals that seem centred and concentrated in the area of the Middle East and its surrounding global neighbours in the Indian Ocean, Indian sub-continet, east Africa, and eastern Mediterranean? Is there? Could there be?
A while back, I was chatting with an American geologist who happened to be taking a busman’s holiday in Bermuda. We were discussing – that is he was talking and I was listening – about water problems in the US’s western desert area [Nevada, Colorado, etc…]. He explained that in the scientific community, there were some concerns about possible significant subterranean changes resulting from increasing usage of artesian wells to extract water and thus re-direct some subterranean water flows. He averred that little was known about it and that there was not much commercial interest or value in studying such esoteric impacts and effects; hence there had there had been little to no research into these unseen matters.
Thinking about the 2004 tsunami and the recent earthquakes in the Himalayas and the earth shakings in Greece and eastern Africa, I’ve wondered…what about that orange?