Madam Gandhi, Experts Know What Causes Earthquakes


Apropos article “A New Theory About What’s Causing Earthquakes” by Ms Maneka Gandhi published in the Kashmir Observer on 8th December 2018. The write-up is based on flawed, imaginary and biased science. The author has quoted Dr. Bajaj, who is allegedly a leading academic scholar from India and has worked in University of Delhi. Dr. Bajaj is said to have authored more than 300 research papers, supervised 18 Ph.Ds, and 8 Master of Philosophy students apart from other supervisory roles, and has also co-authored 15 scientific books. However, a quick critical examination of Dr. Bajaj’s scholarly work suggests that his works are not published by reputed publishers and therefore cannot be taken seriously. The book that he has co-authored on the “Etiology of Earthquakes, A New Approach, is published by some unknown publisher namely Hira Bhaiya Prakashan in 1995. This means that the proposed theory cannot be considered a new work by any definition. It is more than 20 years old!

Remember this: with all the flaws that may be hidden within the world of scholarly publications there is always room for any argument provided it is based on evidence that satisfies the editorial and review panels. A good, standard, and an honest publisher will make sure to publish the works of researchers who provide quality work. The preliminary look at the supposedly scholarly works of Dr. Bajaj clearly suggest that his works ought to be thoroughly re-evaluated because bulk of these publications are not published by quality journals or publishers. The initial scrutiny that is food to a standard and high quality publication is routinely bypassed by low quality publishers, which is so common these days. Numbers do matter but not at the expense of quality.

Ms Gandhi says “…Why and when do earthquakes happen? No one knows. So this theory is as good as any. Maybe future seismology scientists will “prove” what the Rishis have been saying for centuries – that the universal mind is the most powerful instrument of all.” This statement is pure fiction and not based on science. The causes of earthquakes is well established, there is no doubt about it. Read any standard scholarly works on earthquakes you will know about it. Even primary school kids are aware about the science of earthquakes. But yes the prediction has not reached that far and for obvious reasons. And with all the knowledge that human have achieved so far are we not 100% sure about anything and that is not a pediment but a challenge that keeps alive our curiosity and thirst to research. Human are perpetual learners, and eventually we will definitely reach closer to understanding of problems like cancer, what goes inside our brain (so called black box), prediction of earthquakes, human or animal behavior etc. to name a few of the ongoing challenges . Therefore, the assertion that no one knows why earthquakes occur is not true.

Ms Maneka Sanjay Gandhi writes that Dr. Bajaj and his team argue “that concentrated creation of pain and fear caused by the non stop killing of animals/birds and fish is what creates earthquakes. They claim that pain creates actual physical waves. This is based on psychosis about real science, and inclination towards an imagery world of animal activism that has shielded authors from the reality of enormous amount of evidence based science of earthquake. Earthquake data are accumulated from the painstaking work of world scholars throughout the history, and this has helped them to develop the understanding of what cause earthquakes (below I am proving a background for reference). If you look at the earthquake map of the world you can immediately understand that people who eat less meat are also prone to earthquakes!! The map of the Annual Meat Consumption of the world is available here: It shows that Australian and New Zealanders eat far more meat that people in Asia, particularly India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Indonesia etc. Does that make any sense in terms of where earthquake occur? Absolutely none. Earthquake map of the world shows that earthquakes occur predominantly in Indonesia than say Australia! The reality is that earthquakes occur throughout the world, and we know from the historical data that earthquakes are much older than any human civilization on the planet Earth. There is evidence of plate tectonics in the early history of the Earth more than 3 billion years ago. There were no humans (absolutely none) no animal killings but earthquakes. Same to true to the planets that are outside the realms of our home. There is growing evidence which shows earthquake history on the surface of Mars, Mercury and Moon to name a few. No human there! No animal sacrifice etc.

Ms Gandhi further writes “Jung is not the only scientist of world acclaim who believes in what is now called “the paranormal” (or what will be the new “normal” in a few years) Albert Einstein, the father of modern science, also propagated the EPW, or Einsteinian Pain Waves Theory, in the realm of geology.”  I must admit that the acronym EPW is new to me, so I quickly started exploring it on Google Scholar, which keeps report of most of the data that is published in decent journals. And there is nothing on EPW. Try it.  So should we even trust that the Einsteinian Pain Waves Theory exists in the real world? The next test is to explore Google, I did that, and what came out is not a surprise. The pages that mention about EPW are sourced in newspapers, reports etc, which are mostly from India, and some have links to animal activism. So, from this it is easy to conclude that EPW is not mentioned in any of Albert Einstein’s works as claimed by Dr. Bajaj and his coworkers.

The important thing that we must counter is the argument that animals are special and should be protected. How about plants? Isn’t their life important, then why we worry only about animals? Research has established that planets also have emotions etc. The entire argument about killing of animals is flawed to put it in simple words, leave behind the science! We are simply one of the members of the food chain that is important for the existence of life on the planet Earth. Human eat life for survival, and so does every other living thing. Visit a jungle and watch what animals eat. And all animal activists have to eat one or the other forms of life. Mostly plant life, I guess.

I do understand about the rights of animals and I strongly agree that we must stop being cruel to any creature but not at the cost of a totally flawed and biased logic, and reasoning. Cruelty against animals or life in general is a global problem, and demand a similar solution. World leaders should deliberate on such issue, and agree on what could be the most feasible, and acceptable solution to all. And remember this. Whatever solution we come up with it will not be in consultation with animals! And animal activists are just humans, and cannot represent animals! So whatever we do with animal or plant kingdom is always our call not theirs. This all just because we have higher cranial power than them. Yes. They are often physically stronger than us. Think about fighting with a bull or lion!! But we decide, largely, what they have to do. And in the end it benefits us, most of the times, and not them. If the roles are reversed then we may come to know what they wish for, and how they look at us, and our actions, until then we have to wait for them to speak their mind. It is hard to be a spokesperson of someone else when that person has not even given consent for it.

Science of Earthquakes: a brief background

I have written about the background of earthquakes several times in the past, and here I am repeating some of the background works on the development of earthquake science.

The Lisbon earthquake of November 1, 1775, was a wakeup call for the earthquake scientists and it basically stimulated the developments of the modern seismology. This occurred on All Saint’s Day, when most of the 250,000 inhabitants of Lisbon were in Church. The buildings were shaken violently and collapsed on people. It was followed by a Tsunami, which drowned people, mostly those who rushed to safety from the collapsing buildings. The incidents of fire were also reported. This devastation is still fresh in Europe in which about one quarter of Lisbon’s population vanished. This devastation influenced the scientists to understand the cause of earthquakes and various scientific investigations were carried out.

It was Robert Mallet, an Irish engineer with an interest in earthquakes, who studied 1857 Neapolitan earthquakes and laid the foundations of modern observational seismology. Mallet (1859) stated that earthquakes could be caused by “the breaking up and grinding over each other of rock beds”. However, it was Edward Suess (1875), who was close to understanding the actual causes and he stated: “Earthquakes occur along lines of tectonic movement in a mountain system.

In the 1880s an American geologist, G. K. Gilbert studied the fault scarps of the 1872 Owens Valley earthquake and stated that “when an earthquake occurs a part of the foot slope goes up with the mountain and another part goes down relatively with the valley. It is thus divided and a little cliff marks the line of division…This little cliff is in geologic parlance, a fault scarp.” The 1891 Mino-Owari earthquake (Japan) and 1906 San Francisco earthquake (United States) are the two events, which were investigated to record the ground truth.

However, the latter event which was studied in details by a prominent scientist H. F. Reid, a professor of Geology at Johns Hopkins University, laid the foundations of the Elastic Rebound Theory, which until now remains the most valid explanation for the cause of earthquakes. He concluded that the earthquake must have involved an “elastic rebound” of previously stored elastic stress. It is like a stretched rubber band, which if broken or cut, releases elastic energy stored in the rubber band during the stretching. Similarly, the earth’s crust can gradually store elastic stress that is released suddenly during an earthquake. This accumulation and release of stress and strain is now referred to as the “elastic rebound theory” of earthquakes. Most earthquakes are the result of the sudden elastic rebound of previously stored energy.


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