The devastating earthquakes and tsunami that hit the Indian Ocean in December of 2004 took a death toll of more than 250 thous. lives. Left homeless were hundreds of thousands of residents of Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand. There were powerful eruptions of three volcanoes on Kamchatka. On January 10, 2005 these volcanoes-Klyuchevskaya Sopka, Shiveluch and Bezymyanny - woke up again with new force and with columns of gas and steam towering over them to a height of more than 2 km.
The vast "train" of volcanic dust covered an area of tens of kilometers. On the slopes of the Klyuchevskaya Sopka molten lava was streaming down, melting away the snow and creating a threat of mud-laden torrents. And more and more tremors have been registered in the area of the volcano Shiveluch.
Could it be that the seismic wave, which rolled over the globe only a month and a half ago and was followed by the devastating tsunami which swept the Indian Ocean and the Pacific, have "woken up" the volcanoes of Kamchatka? A correspondent of the central Gudoknewspaper, M. Dmitruk, put this question to the head of the Seismology Center of the RAS Institute of Geoecology, RAS Corresponding Member, A. Nikolayev.
"No, this is not so,"-said the scientist. "What we are dealing with is a different mechanism. The thing is that over the past few decades we have observed a general increase of what we call geodynamic activity. In other words-the planet is shaken up more often and much stronger. This happens because of increased energetic processes in the core of our planet. They manifest themselves by shifts in the crust which produce cataclysms. Therefore the earth tremors in the Indian Ocean and the "awakening" of the Russian volcanoes have one common cause-growing geo-dynamic activity."
Earthquakes like the one of December 26, 2004 (magnitude 9 and the strength of underground strikes of up to 11 points on the Richter scale) happen not more than two or three times in a century. And the Indian Ocean and the Pacific had been exposed to earthquakes and tsunami before. But none of them had such disastrous consequences as the last ones, with probably the only exception of those which hit the Islands of Japan in 1923.
Volcanic eruptions on Kamchatka could have started several months earlier than the disaster of December 26, 2004, or a year later. A. Nikolayev is convinced that nothing supernatural is happening in the world. Of course, there is no denying the devastating results of earthquakes, tsunami and volcanic eruptions across the planet over the past one hundred years. But seen on a global scale these are ordinary events which confronted mankind over the millennia. Cataclysms of this kind did happen, do happen now and will continue to happen always.
And despite the horrors of the allegedly approaching Apocalypses which are relished by the mass media in this and other countries, there is no end of the world in sight from a scientific perspective.
Gudok (Whistle), 2005
Prepared by Igor YEVLANOV
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