The Christchurch Quake Conspiracy (plural) – Part Four – Mining, Dairying, the Reptiles and You

Whilst the LHC and HAARP conspiracy theories for the earthquake of September 4th are well fleshed out (fatty, even), the other contenders, aside from, of course, the official theory that it was perfectly natural (but inopportune) seismic activity, are young, thin and pliable. Yet, and I say this advisedly, some of them are much more plausible than their bigger, elder siblings.

Mineral Westcoast1

Over at Trademe (the local equivalent of eBay), the finger of guilt has been firmly pointed in the direction of “Minerals Westcoast,” a local, Crown-owned, prospecting firm. Apparently they have been puncturing the Earth with their drills, and this has resulted in a release of pressure which caused the earthquake.

The argument presented on Trademe is complete supposition. There are no facts being cited, just conjecture and pseudoscientific handwaving, but that shouldn’t get in the way of the story2. Indeed, the Trademe post is so lacking in actual details, aside from the name “Minerals Westcoast,” that it seems like a perfect case of disinformation. It is almost as if this absurd theory has been pushed out there so it can be used to tar the other conspiracy theorists with it (i.e. if they believe that, then they’ll probably also believe this ludricous theory, so obviously they must be wrong; let’s go and have a drink). Frankly, if I had thought of that hypothesis, I’d have been tempted to lay claim to it.

The argument that prospecting caused the quake rests upon the ambiguous way “shallow” has been used and re-used with respect to both the earthquake and the aftershocks. The earthquake originated in a relatively shallow layer of the Canterbury Plains were shallow. The prospectors have been drilling holes and thus their holes must have had some effect on the tectonic plates.

Now, the tectonic plates are a long way down and the kind of exploratory drilling Minerals Westcoast may (or may not) have been doing are not going to reach that far; the earthquakes originated in the relatively shallow layers some ten kilometres beneath the surface.

The mining arguments falls down at the first hurdle, but it does link in with another, related, conspiracy theory, one that claims the dairy industry is truly evil.

Water, water, everywhere…

It’s no secret that dairy farmers are evil; they pollute the waterways, they produce foodstuffs most of the world’s population are allergic too and then they try to sell said product overseas3. However, I was not aware that they might be out to get us via induced natural disasters.

Take this (local) letter to the editor:

Have any studies been made into the role of excessive water extraction around fault lines in the generation ofearthquakes or exacerbating the consequences of an earthquake?

Now, there is a legitimate worry that the dairy industry, with its quite heavy water usage, has lowered the water table. Some have gone on to speculate that, maybe, this has changed the weighting of the Canterbury Plains on the tectonic plates beneath them, thus causing the earthquake and the aftershocks.

This thesis relies, like the Minerals Westcoast conspiracy theory on the ambiguous nature of “shallow.” The shallowness of the earthquakes and the shallowness of the water table are taken to be equivalent when, really, they are not.

The earthquake and the aftershocks originated ten kilometres beneath the surface (which, for quake in this region and of this magnitude, is relatively shallow). The water table is, however, much, much higher; despite the fact that water extraction has lowered said table, it hasn’t lowered it to the extent that it would become a contributory cause for the quake (although it might have contributed to the extent of the damage caused by said quake). Both the water table and the area in which the earthquakes originated are shallow, but they are shallow with respect to their geological peers and not to each other.

Now, a finessed version of this conspiracy theory would talk about how the National Government abolished the local, democratic, control of the Canterbury region and gave it over to a cabal of dairy farming interests, who then used it to… Test their new geological weapon? Experiment on the local populace? Whatever the case, this conspiracy theory would show that the dairy industry have been planning this earthquake for quite some time and that the national (National) Government is in on it.

Seems like a plausible story to me.

Probably…

Well, probably not.

Bob Parker and Jon Gadsby – Reptilian Overloards and Muffin magnates

Possibly the most interesting site to emerge from the chaos of Christchurch is this one. It proposes that former “This Is Your Life” host and current Mayor Bob Parker:

GENERATeD DESTrUCT1VE TeCTONIc PLaTE SHiFTS Via PSYCHiC MINd WAVES BRoADCAST fROM PUbLiC SCULPturE.

Pure satire, but the amount of work that has gone into it to give it the right amount of verisimilitude is scary. It almost looks “right,” (if you know what I mean) and yet, at the same time, it looks just a little too polished to be true to the fiction. Still, I’d recommend keeping an eye out on this one; who knows where it might go. If you also know who might be behind this marvellous deception, then please drop me a line. I’d like to congratulate the purveyor of such a fine entertainment.

Next time: Some concluding thoughts and maybe a few Freemasons.

Notes

  1. No puns.
  2. Although, in this case, maybe it should, given that it isn’t a very good story.
  3. As you can tell, I’m not a big fan of the diary industry or its products.

3 Replies to “The Christchurch Quake Conspiracy (plural) – Part Four – Mining, Dairying, the Reptiles and You”

  1. Spelling mistake: “Now, there is a legitimate worry that the diary industry”. Now, there is a legitimate worry – diaries taking over the world (sorry, couldn’t resist).

    Otherwise, I love your blog. do follow up on the lecture tweet/email test/trial. I’d like to know how it went, if it did.

    1. Fixed. Cher.

      I’ll have to ask the PHIL105 teaching team how it’s going; I’m the architect of this new social media thing (we now have a Flickr account for the class as well, which allowed students to upload photos from the fieldtrip) but I’m not actually teaching the course. I suspect it will be fairly slow on the uptake; we only came up with the idea halfway through the semester and it would, I think, have been better to start the class with the system already in place. I may well be teaching PHIL105 in Summer School, so I’ll programme it in from the very beginning.

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