Natural Disasters: Why are they happening?

The earth may seem like a more active and dangerous place than ever, due to the recent natural disasters. Society has often wondered if this is due to mother nature or if humans have destroyed the earth. Florida and Oklahoma have experienced natural disasters recently and scientists can not help but ask if these recent disasters were caused by global warming and fracking or if it is just natural.

Hurricane Hermine struck Florida’s coast on September 2, 2016. This was the first time that a Hurricane has hit the area since 2005. More than 70,000 people were without power after the storm. Officials in Florida are warning citizens of an influx of Zika virus that will occur due to standing water. In 2005, a paper was published by Science magazine which stated the number of hurricanes in the last 30 years has increased by 80 percent. Scientists say this may or may not be due to global warming.

“As the oceans warm, it creates a smaller difference in the air temperature and the ocean temperature which makes the hurricanes more intense. There is not enough data yet to prove that the increase of hurricanes is due to climate change.” Mrs. Braun, All Saints’ Biology teacher.

An earthquake of 5.6 magnitude hit Pawnee Oklahoma on September 3rd. Mary Fallin, the Governor of Oklahoma called a state of emergency because of this earthquake. Nobody has died or been seriously injured but there is serious damage in Oklahoma. At least 14 buildings have severe damage. Local dams and assessing buildings are still under investigation due to the four aftershocks.

Before 2000, there was an average of 2 earthquakes with a magnitude over 3.0 annually in Oklahoma.  In 2011, there were 63 earthquakes, and in 2015, Oklahoma witnessed 890 earthquakes with over a 3.0 magnitude. The state has issued 35 of the disposal wells to be shut down because the disposal wells could be the cause of the recurring earthquakes.     

“Earthquakes are hard to tell, there could be a fault line that was dormant and started shifting. There have been some studies that will suggest it is linked to fracking, or more specifically with wastewater injection wells used to dispose of water left over from fracking.” Mr. Nowlin, All Saints’ Environmental Science Teacher.  

Natural Disasters are a huge problem right now and they will continue to be a problem until scientist can determine what is happening. What do you think about the recent natural disasters? Why do you think there has been an increase in natural disasters over the last few years? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section.


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