Week 2014.39 (September 28-October 4) ~ A farewell to wilderness

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One of the smaller earthquakes we heard here in Maine this week tells a very troubling story. At about 03:49 in this week’s program you can hear the distinctive slap of a quake of magnitude 4.4, located in Harper County, Kansas. Historically, this area has been seismically quiet, but in the past year it has seen an unusual uptick in seismic activity. Although no one can say with certainty what caused this particular earthquake, a growing body of circumstantial scientific evidence gathered from Ohio, Colorado, Oklahama, and now Kansas all point to the same culprit: the underground injection of wastewater from fracking operations.

It’s getting harder and harder to find a week during which the deep subterranean soundscape is uncontaminated by man-made noise. Just as we have already lost much of the Earth’s wild surface soundscape to the sounds of aircraft, automobiles, and all the other bits of civilization’s invasive sonic debris, it appears that we now face the loss of this most grand underground sonic wilderness. To lose this, one of planet Earth’s last natural refuges, would be tragic indeed — not just for those of us who take pleasure in listening to the Earth’s inner sounds, but for all of us who walk upon this Earth and — consciously or not — feel her vibrations underfoot.

For more about the suspected link between fracking and earthquakes see this article from National Geographic.

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Here are some highlights of what we heard here this week:

00:15
South Sandwich Islands region (magnitude 4.8; 7,724 miles away) more info→
00:43
Central California (4.7; 2,796 miles) more info→
00:57
Iceland (4.9; 2,354 miles) more info→
01:16
Iceland (5.3; 2,361 miles) more info→
02:34
New Britain region, P.N.G. (5.7; 8,994 miles) more info→
02:47
Off Coast of Central America (4.8; 2,572 miles) more info→
02:49
Off Coast of Central America (4.7; 2,564 miles) more info→
02:55
Off Coast of Central America (4.9; 2,561 miles) more info→
03:03
Northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge (5.1; 1,724 miles) more info→
03:20
Off Coast of Chiapas, Mexico (4.3; 2,592 miles) more info→
03:49
Kansas (4.4; 1,651 miles). See comments above. more info→
04:04
Iceland (4.8; 2,355 miles) more info→
04:12
South of Panama (4.9; 2,922 miles) more info→
05:13
Iceland (4.9; 2,350 miles) more info→
05:27
Chiapas, Mexico (5.4; 2,450 miles) more info→
What else was going on this week:

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