Tsunami striking Thailand on December 26, 2004. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and other underwater explosions (including detonations of underwater nuclear devices), landslides and other mass movements, meteorite ocean impacts or similar impact events, and other disturbances above or below water all have the potential to generate a tsunami.
On June 19, 1992, the United States conducted an underground nuclear bomb test in Nevada. Another test was conducted only four days afterwards. Three days later, a series of heavy earthquakes as high as 7.6 on the Richter scale rocked the Mojave desert 176 miles to the south. They were the biggest earthquakes to hit California this century. Only 22 hours later, an “unrelated” earthquake of 5.6 struck less than 20 miles from the Nevada test site itself. It was the biggest earthquake ever recorded near the test site and caused one-million dollars of damage to buildings in an area designated for permanent disposal of highly radioactive nuclear wastes only fifteen miles from the epicenter of the earthquake. Although the quake provoked renewed calls for a halt to plans for storing radioactive materials in such an unstable area, the larger questions have still not been raised in the United States: Do bomb tests actually cause earthquakes? Do nuclear tests make the planet more prone to geologic disruption?
In a statement on July 14, 1992, responding to “understandable unease”, the Department of Energy in Washington asserted the relationship between nuclear testing and earthquakes is “nonexistent.” Yet common sense would suggest the cumulative effect of so may nuclear tests around the world would leave the planet at least somewhat shaken. Indeed in 1956, Estes Kefauver, then Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate, warned, “H bomb tests could knock the earth 16 degrees off its axis!” He was simply ignored.
However, in a study twenty years later by two Japanese scientists, entitled Recent Abnormal Phenomena on Earth and Atomic Power Tests, Shigeyoshi Matsumae, President of Tokai University, and Yoshio Kato, Head of the University’s Department of Aerospace Science concluded:
Abnormal meteorological phenomena, earthquakes and fluctuations of the earth’s axis are related in a direct cause-and-effect to testing of nuclear devices. . . . Nuclear testing is the cause of abnormal polar motion of the earth. By applying the dates of nuclear tests with a force of more than 150 kilotons, we found it obvious that the position of the pole slid radically at the time of the nuclear explosion. . . . Some of the sudden changes measured up to one meter in distance.
Not quite Kefauver’s 16 degrees off the axis; but not entirely reassuring either. Two years later, on 12 October 1978, the British New Scientist reported:
Geophysicists in Germany and England believe the 1978 earthquake in Tabas, Iran, in which at least twenty-five thousand people were killed, may have been triggered by an underground nuclear explosion. . . . British seismologists believe the Tabas earthquake implies a nuclear test that has gone awry. . . . Moreover, a seismic laboratory in Uppsala, Sweden, recorded a Soviet nuclear test of unusual size–ten megatons–at Semipalitinsk only thirty-six hours before. . . . One German scientist specifically implicated this test in the origin of Tabas disaster.
More recently, on 14 April, 1989, at the Second Annual Conference on the United Nations and World Peace in Seattle, Washington, Gary T. Whiteford, Professor of Geography at the University of New Brunswick in Canada, presented the most exhaustive study yet of the correlation’s between nuclear testing and earthquakes. In a paper entitled Earthquakes and Nuclear Testing: Dangerous Patterns and Trends, Whiteford presented alarming conclusions which to this day have remained almost completely ignored in the United States, although the paper has been widely translated and published abroad.
Whiteford studied all earthquakes this century of more than 5.8 on the Richter scale. “Below that intensity,” he explained, “some earthquakes would have passed unrecorded in the earlier part of the century when measuring devices were less sensitive and less ubiquitous. But for bigger quakes the records are detailed and complete for the entire planet.” So Whiteford was able to make a simple comparison of the earthquake rate in the first half of the century, before nuclear testing, and the rate for 1950 to 1988. In the fifty years before testing, large earthquakes of more than 5.8 occurred at an average rate of 68 per year. With the advent of testing the rate rose “suddenly and dramatically” to an average of 127 a year. The earthquake rate has almost doubled. To this day the U.S. military attributes the increase to “coincidence.” As Whiteford comments, “The geographical patterns in the data, with a clustering of earthquakes in specific regions matched to specific test dates and sites do not support the easy and comforting explanation of `pure coincidence.’ It is a dangerous coincidence.”
Within the data he found other suggestive patterns. A one-two nuclear test is usually proceeded a few days later by a major earthquake. The largest earthquake this century took place in Tangshan in North-East China on July 27 1976. It measured 8.2 and killed 800,000 people. Only five days earlier the French had tested a bomb in the Mururoa atoll in the Pacific. Four days later the United States tested a bomb in Nevada. Twenty-four hours later the earthquake hit China.
In an even more revealing analysis, Whiteford studies so-called “killer earthquakes” in which more than one thousand people have died. He compiled a list of all such quakes since 1953 and matched them with nuclear test schedules. Some test dates were not available, but in those that were, a pattern was evident: 62.5% of the killer earthquakes occurred only a few days after a nuclear test. Many struck only one day after a detonation. More than a million people have now died in earthquakes that seem to be related to nuclear tests. Again, the governments of the nuclear nations claim the results are mere coincidence. Officially the U.S. energy department maintains that even their most powerful nuclear tests have no impact beyond a radius of 15 miles. The claim is challenged by the instruments of modern seismology that can register nuclear tests anywhere in the world by measuring local geological disruptions. Whiteford speculated that although the reverberations may fade within fifteen miles of a test, they are merely the first ripple of a wave that travels through the planet’s crust and spreads around the globe.
In 1991 the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation published Whiteford’s findings in an article called “Is Nuclear Testing Triggering Earthquakes and Volcanic Activity?” In an interview with California State seismologist, Dr. Lalliana Mualchin, the foundation went on to inquire into the long-term effects of testing. Mualchin was asked if the cumulative effect of nuclear testing might be to trigger earthquakes and volcanoes. He replied, “A single nuclear test may have little effect on the earth, like that of an insect biting an elephant. But the cumulative effect might move the earth’s tectonic plates in a manner similar to how a swarm of insects might start an elephant running.” Mualchin added, “If an insect bites an elephant in a sensitive spot, such as an eye or an ear, then there might be a vast movement out of all proportion to the size of the bite.” The article concluded, “Who will the world hold responsible if suddenly an unprecedented series of violent earthquakes and volcanoes shake the earth? Will nuclear testers be able to assure the world they were not responsible?”
The proof that nuclear explosions do indeed cause an earthquake effect was presented on Monday 25 May 2009 when it was reported that North Korea had detonated yet another nuclear bomb underground. In the Guardian report “North Korea tests nuclear weapon ‘as powerful as Hiroshima bomb’” the evidence was presented with this interpretation of the underground nuclear detonation - “The force of the blast made the ground tremble in the Chinese border city of Yanji, 130 miles away.” The detonation was registered as a Earth tremor or earthquake measuring magnitude 4.5 that was felt 130 miles away. This also gives evidence to the fact that an uninformed society wouldn’t know the difference between a natural occurring earthquake and nuclear attack by a foreign country. People without access to information would assume that the ground shaking was an earthquake as no one saw a mushroom cloud.
Russian defence experts estimated the North Korean underground nuclear explosion’s yield at between 10 and 20 kilotons, many times more than the 1 kiloton measured in its first nuclear test in 2006 (measuring magnitude 4.2) and about as powerful as the bombs the US used against Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of the second world war. One kiloton is equal to the force produced by 1,000 tonnes of TNT.
Both earthquakes and nuclear explosions generate seismic waves that can be detected thousands of kilometres away. From the 1960s to the 1990s about one underground nuclear explosion was carried out each week. This was how nations tested their nuclear weapons and certified them as ready for deployment. Seismology was often the only way to learn if a foreign power was developing nuclear weapons.
Scientists pick up the seismic waves at monitoring stations. These seismic signals allow scientists to locate the explosion or earthquake and to tell the difference between the two. For example if seismic waves are generated very deep within the Earth then they can only be caused by an earthquake. Today however, the United States does its underground nuclear detonation many miles below the surface in order to fool scientists and the World. The US, as do other countries, have the technology to bore holes very deep inside the Earth’s crust. Oil drilling rigs have been used since the 1996 signing of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) outlawing nuclear weapon tests, to secretly bore very deep holes in the ground in the Nevada Desert (site of yesterday’s magnitude 4.2 tremor) solely to prepare, lower and explode a nuclear device. The 1998 movie Armageddon exposed to the public one of many secret U.S. military operations. In the movie NASA discovered that there is an asteroid roughly the size of Texas heading towards the Earth. Military scientists decide to blow the asteroid with the warhead inside the asteroid itself. To do this they chose the best oil drillers on the planet. The oil drillers’ mission was to drill 800 ft. into the comet to place a nuclear explosive device. That is exactly what the U.S. government does today in order to secretly test newly developed nuclear weapons, all in violation of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The first official use of an oil drilling platforms to drill a hole for deep underground nuclear bomb detonations was on July 6, 1962 at the Nevada Test Site. A 100 kiloton nuclear explosive device was lowered into a 635 ft. drilled hole in the Nevada desert and detonated, displacing 12 million tons of earth and creating the Sedan Crater. The crater is 320 feet deep and 1,280 feet in diameter.
While the U.S. and U.S.S.R. vied for space-exploration supremacy during the Space Race, a different, less-publicized race took place between the two nation’s greatest drillers. In the late 1950s and early 1960s Americans and Soviets began planning separate efforts to drill as deep as possible into the Earth’s crust, the rocky shell that comprises the outer 30-50 km of the 6730 km distance to our planet’s core. The American “Project Mohole,” stationed off the Pacific coast of Mexico, was cut short in 1966 due to lack of funding but set an important precedent for future off-shore drilling programs. The Soviets, thanks to the planning of the Interdepartmental Scientific Council for the Study of the Earth’s Interior and Superdeep Drilling, had greater success. From 1970 to 1994 their drill on the Kola Peninsula chipped slowly away to create a Earth-shattering record at the time: the deepest hole in the world.
In actuality, the Kola Superdeep Borehole consists of several holes branching from one central hole. The deepest of these, named “SG-3”, measures just nine inches in diameter but extends 12,261 meters (or 7.5 miles) into the Earth. While data produced by the Kola drilling project continues to be analyzed, the drilling itself was forced to stop in the early 1990s when unexpectedly high temperatures were encountered. While the temperature gradient conformed to predictions down to a depth of about 10,000 feet, temperatures after this point increased at a higher rate until they reached 180 °C (or 356 °F) at the bottom of the hole. This was a drastic difference from the expected 100 °C (212 °F). Also unexpected was a decrease in rock density after the first 14,800 feet. Beyond this point the rock had greater porosity and permeability which, paired with the high temperatures, caused the rock to behave more like a plastic than a solid and made drilling near impossible. If the hole had reached the initial goal of 15,000 meters, temperatures would have reached a projected 300°C (572°F). In 2008, the Maersk Oil company completed drilling on a hole 12.29 km in depth, surpassing the Kola bore hole by 29 meters.
Man made tsunamis using the atom bomb
The first report by ABC’s Tim Palmer out of Aceh following the 2004 boxing day tsunami: The surf crashes in on the beaches of the west coast of Aceh but the town of Lhoknga, behind the beach, has disappeared. Iwasiti is here looking for her brother and most of her husband’s family, but there’s nothing and no one to be found here. This beach faced the earthquake and took the full force of the biggest of the waves across the region. In an age where the term ‘ground zero’ is sprinkled around lightly, this really does look like the site of a nuclear explosion.
AFP , WELLINGTON ~ Sep 26, 1999
Top secret wartime experiments were conducted off the New Zealand coast to perfect a tidal wave bomb believed to be potentially as effective as the atom bomb, a report said yesterday citing declassified files.
Auckland University professor Thomas Leech set off a series of underwater explosions triggering mini-tidal waves at Whangaparaoa, just north of Auckland, in 1944 and 1945, the New Zealand Herald reported.
His work was considered so significant that US defense chiefs said if the project had been completed before the end of the war it could have played a role as effective as that of the atom bomb.
Details of the tsunami bomb, known as Project Seal, are contained in 53-year-old documents released by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Papers stamped “top secret” show the US and British military were eager for Seal to be developed in the post-war years too. They even considered sending Leech to Bikini Atoll to view the US nuclear tests and see if they had any application to his work.
He did not make the visit, although a member of the US board of assessors of atomic tests, Dr. Karl Compton, was sent to New Zealand.
“Dr. Compton is impressed with Professor Leech’s deductions on the Seal project and is prepared to recommend to the Joint Chiefs of Staff that all technical data from the test relevant to the Seal project should be made available to the New Zealand Government for further study by Professor Leech,” said a July 1946 letter from Washington to Wellington.
Leech, who died in his native Australia in 1973, was the university’s dean of engineering from 1940 until 1950.
News of his being awarded a CBE in 1947 for research on a weapon led to speculation in newspapers around the world about what was being developed.
Though high-ranking New Zealand and US officers spoke out in support of the research, no details of it were released because the work was on-going.
A former colleague of Leech, Neil Kirton, told the New Zealand Herald that the experiments involved laying a pattern of explosives underwater to create a tsunami.
Small-scale explosions were carried out in the Pacific and off Whangaparaoa, which at the time was controlled by the army.
It is unclear what happened to Project Seal once the final report was forwarded to Wellington Defense Headquarters late in the 1940s.
The bomb was never tested full scale, and Kirton doubts the public would have noticed the trials.
“Whether it could ever be resurrected … Under some circumstances I think it could be devastating,” he said.