Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"Non-scientist" and Earthquakes

Here's a piece of disinformation: Bogus Claim: Japan Earthquake Won't Trigger a California Quake The article begins with this sentence, quickly marginalizing Newsweek writer Simon Winchester in question: (italics, bolding mine)
An unfounded scientific assertion by a nonscientist has swept across the Web like a tsunami over the past few days.

Winchester sees a pattern/connection along the Pacific Rim and earthquake activity of late -- who doesn't?! -- well, some scientists don't: (italics, bolding mine)
There is no evidence for a connection between all of the Pacific Rim earthquakes," Nathan Bangs, a geophysicist who studies tectonic processes at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, told Life's Little Mysteries. "I don't know what the basis is for the statements and implications in the Newsweek article, but there is no evidence that there is a link."

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) earthquake geologist David Schwartz, who heads the San Francisco Bay Area Earthquake Hazards Project, concurred. "Simon Winchester is a popular science writer, not a scientist," Schwartz said. "I'm not saying we won't have an earthquake here in California at some point in the future, but there really is no physical connection between these earthquakes."

Note the comment about Winchester's non-scientific standing: "Simon Winchester is a popular science writer, not a scientist."

Article goes on to explain the "cascade effect" and more on how earthquakes are "triggered" but as to any patterns, no such thing. Conceding an earthquake could happen, one scientist remarks:
"I'm not saying we won't have an earthquake here in California at some point in the future, but there really is no physical connection between these earthquakes."

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