By: Dorothy Anne Seese

[Ed note: approximately 18 hours after this was published on the web, the original Alaska map was restored to the USGS site showing nearly 900 quakes during the previous week. Quakes are normally displayed for one week and then removed to make room for new activity.]

Yes, I watch earthquake maps and yes, it doesn't take much to amuse some people, so let's get that settled at the start.

It isn't amusing when you go to the United States Geological Survey web sites and find that there are over 1200 earthquakes in the 50 states plus Puerto Rico, you are offline for awhile tending to other business, and return to find that approximately 900 earthquakes have vanished. At this writing, There are only 42 listed earthquakes in Alaska, all 4.0 or larger, in the area between Fairbanks and Kodiak Island. That did actually happen this afternoon, some time possibly between 4 and 6 p.m. MST.

California and the rest of the US show earthquakes of magnitude 1 and above. All the quakes less than 4.0 seem to have vanished from the Alaska map, perhaps because the sheer volume of them had increased to the point where it was no longer practical to try to keep the Alaska site updated with anything less than a 4.0.

An explanation of how the Alaska map went from 900-plus quakes on that particular map (the URL is http://earthquake.usgs.gov/recenteqsUS/Maps/AK10/60.70.-160.-140.html) to just over 300, lumped together in larger squares, and then when you click on the list, you get only the most recent quakes of 4.0 and above.

It isn't that the government would ever disseminate disinformation ... it's just puzzling how they could lose over 900 quakes on a Tuesday afternoon and not post an explanation. I know the nation is on a wartime footing, but since when has earthquake data become classified information? Or could this have anything to do with a call made by a listener to the Art Bell program the other night where the listener wanted to inform Art that the USGS site never registered certain quakes in the Sumatra and Japanese Islands areas, something I also noticed but at the time didn't consider really relevant.

There was also one .. as in (1) or uno ... mention this morning on network radio about two huge solar flares being observed at opposite sides of the sun, an event described as each equalling hundreds of thousands of tons of dynamite, many times the force of a nuclear explosion. Such an occurrence of the sun bursting out on equal and opposite sides with raging force was said to have never been before observed, it was a strange phenomenon but the significance was at this time unknown. I think this information may have been left on the same crashed hard drive where someone stored the earthquakes that vanished.

It isn't that science isn't being truthful, it's that the truth evaporates like a wet sponge in an Arizona summer once it gets on the web ... if it is discomfiting to someone. Or, it may just never make the world of the wide web other than the one of hidden information. Not that our government would hide anything from us (heaven knows, the Chinese probably have it all recorded and stored in the same locker) but they just don't consider some of this to be beneficial human knowledge. You know, some things have to be "filtered out" to protect the children, particularly those under 90.

Since I'm a quake map watcher, I noticed the daily increase of quakes in a line from the tip of the Aleutian Islands northeast to Fairbanks, Alaska, before the seven-niner hit a couple of weeks ago. The 7.9 did not surprise me. What is surprising is that California has not also had a seven-niner or something in that range. But then California's count of map-quakes has gone down to about 211 at last map-check, from well over three hundred. That has happened before and may signify nothing. Or it may be an adjustment in which quakes get counted and which don't.

We wouldn't dare call it disinformation or request an explanation from the USGS ... they're government.

Since a highly unusual storm front just passed through the United States from the Pacific to the Atlantic, leaving at least 35 dead, many injured, and some tornadoes were thought by observers to be F-3 or greater in Ohio and Tennessee, we wouldn't want the people to panic by thinking some strange events were occurring en masse to the mighty United States. After all, the volcanoes of last month did not occur here, they were in Italy or somewhere else. The only active one of which most Americans are aware, in an American state, is Mauna Loa on the island of Hawaii.

We had a summer of devastating fires that set records for number of acres burned. We've had drought. We've had unusual storms, two of which were back-to-back hurricanes (Isidore and Lili). Now we're getting freak storms in the middle of November and earthquakes by the bushel.

It's time to shut up about solar flares of extreme force, possible effects on the weather, and above all, earthquakes.

At least the USGS can do something about earthquakes. It can lose them.

"Published originally at EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact."

Dorothy Anne Seese is a freelance political writer for Patch Work papers and a regular columnist for Ether Zone.

Dorothy Anne Seese can be reached at arizonalady710@hotmail.com

Published in the November 20, 2002 issue of Ether Zone.
Copyright 1997 - 2002 Ether Zone. We invite your comments on this article in our forum!

MSN 8 with e-mail virus protection service: 2 months FREE* http://join.msn.com/?page=features/virus