On the Causes of Earthquakes
Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," always glad to be of service when you have pressing questions to be answered!
At 4:00 a.m. on January 14, my daughter The Spare woke me up, and her dad too. She said, "Can't you smell that strange odor in the house?"
I can't smell anything much anymore. I have cat allergies, and two felines in the home. At 4:00 a.m. the nasal passages are totally clogged, sometimes to the point of headache.
Mr. Johnson does not suffer from the same, and he acknowledged that he smelled something weird. He got up (prince among men) and checked all over the house. Spare told him to be careful when he went into the basement.
By this time I realized that I wasn't going to get any more sleep, so I got up too. And I remembered where I live -- New Jersey. So I opened the window a crack, and it was immediately apparent that the odor was coming into the house from outside. Oh, those pesky chemical spills!
The stink had just a tad of brimstone mixed in, and I realized that my former playmate who calls himself "Mr. Applegate" was lingering outside, enjoying the toxic breeze.
For those of you just joining TGAB, "Mr. Applegate" is a fallen angel of the Judeo-Christian pantheon who rules the place where bad Judeo-Christian people go when they die.
Who are you going to talk to at 4:00 a.m. when the house smells like rotten eggs from outer space, and outside it's worse? So I invited Applegate in for a chat.
As usual he was wallowing in self-pity. This time because he has been blamed in certain quarters for the earthquake in Haiti. (Sorry. I don't link. It was Pat Robertson who said the devil caused the quake. Take my word for it, or Google it.)
I don't have much tolerance for Applegate's whining. In previous blog posts he has woven a long, sorry tale of being new to the god business and signing onto a pantheon without reading the fine print. Fine print, indeed! Excuses are for losers.
On this particular morning, I was able to pacify Applegate with a cup of coffee and a granola bar. We got to talking about what really causes earthquakes; namely, plate tectonics.
I learned all about plate tectonics at Johns Hopkins University, in a geology-for-nonscience-majors course called "Structure of the Earth." (The course was better known as "Rocks for Jocks," since all the lacrosse players took it.) Strange as it might sound, there's hot liquid inside the earth, and big plates of rock slide around on the liquid, and sometimes these plates collide. This causes earthquakes.
Applegate has read up on this topic. He's quite an expert. He predicts that some time in the next 32,000 years there's going to be a whopper of an explosion where Yellowstone Park is now.
What he can't predict, he says, is whether or not he'll be blamed for it if humans evolve to the point that they have sense in their heads.
I gave Applegate a box of Pop Tarts and sent him on his way. When he was halfway across the back yard, he turned around and admitted causing the industrial accident that blanketed Philadelphia and points east with stench. He said no one was at fault, he just felt like pulling a prank.
Would someone shove that whiner into a Subduction Zone? Please?