The Coastal Post - December, 1995

November's Nukes And Earthquakes Report

BY KAREN NAKAMURA

French nuclear testing continued in late October. For those following the USGS calculations, here are the times and accompanying quakes:

Oct. 27: 21:59:57 UTC 6.0 ground zero, French test at the Mururoa Atoll in French Polynesia

Oct. 29: 06:27:20 UTC 5.7 Caspian Sea near Azerbaijan

19:24:29 UTC 6.1 Moluccas Islands, Indonesia

19:40:56 UTC 5.5 Fuji Islands

Oct. 30: 14:38:33 UTC 5.8 Solomon Islands

20:25:29 UTC 5.6 Aleutian Islands, Alaska

Nov. 1: 00:35:33 UCT 6.3 Central Chile

09:35:59 UCT 5.6 Rilki, Japan

12.29.28 UCT 5.5 Kurdistan

UTC: Universal Time Calculation. Data: USGS Earthquake Center, Golden, Colorado

So the numbers are still holding. Remember, there's 4.0 size earthquakes almost every day. The much larger 5.5 and over are more rare. For example, the week before the test, only two quakes above 5.0 were registered, both devastating, the 6.3 in Mexico and the possibly related 6.5 in China's Yunnan province.

The clustering of these larger quakes, seven in the five days after this test, is unusual, especially when they closely match the nuclear tremor size. But this has consistently been the case with every nuclear test since the resumptions of testing in May.

Been trying to fit this in somewhere. I quote from Atmosphere, Winter 1989, Friends of the Earth International:

"The Lawrence Livermore Lab has concluded...above-ground testing of... nuclear warheads during the '50s and...'60s seriously damaged the ozone layer...caused...5% loss of ozone over the... U.S. and cut Arctic ozone by up to 12%...

"The intense heat produced short-lived nitrogen ions which initiated a catalytic cycle splitting ozone into oxygen and nitrogen oxides...

"Elimination of this source of nitrogen compounds in the stratosphere allowed ozone levels to gradually recover over the rest of the decade."

Did underground testing eliminate the catalytic splitting of oxygen and nitrogen? Or did it only reduce its damage to the ozone?