On Feb. 25th, something very strange happened over most of California, reaching down into Baja and as far north as Vancouver: Satellite imagery systems picked up a very large pulse of carbon monoxide and other gases that appeared on at least 3 different sensors, with the gases forming over and around California’s major fault system. Speculation has arose that this event could possibly be the signal for a very large impending earthquake on the San Andreas fault.
Robert Scribbler, climate change journalist, reported this on his website:
“On February 25, The Global Forecast System model recorded an intense and wide-ranging carbon monoxide (CO) spike over the US West Coast. A region stretching from British Columbia, through Washington and Oregon, and on over most of California experienced CO readings ranging from about 5,000 parts per billion over the mountains of Southwestern Canada to as high as 40,000 parts per billion over Southern California. Very high peak readings appear to have occurred from Northern California near Eureka and the southern edge of the Cascadia Subduction Zone and along a line south and eastward over much of Central California to an extreme peak zone just north and west of Los Angeles near Palmdale along the San Andreas Fault Line.”
Blogger Robin Westerna writes:
“On February 25 between 16:00 and 19:00 there appeared to be a rupture of the major fault-lines on the West Coast of the US. The gases CO, CO2 and SO2 were measured to skyrocket, stay very high (indicating ongoing emissions) for at least 18 hours and then slowly dissipate. The spatial pattern of the emissions followed the “tuning fork” pattern of the major fault-lines.”
Westerna also posted a video of the event, produced by part-time University of Ottawa professor Paul Beckwith. Beckwith also went into more detail with a follow up video posted today, outlining why he doesn’t think the carbon monoxide anomaly was a technical “glitch.” Beckwith’s latest video is posted above in this article.
Although we know that predicting earthquakes is certainly not an exact science, great strides have been made in research on possible precursors to a large seismic event. One such stride is the work of geophysicist Ramesh Singh, who writes about the carbon monoxide and earthquake connection here in NatureAsia:
“Earth emits a burst of carbon monoxide (CO) a few days before an earthquake, according to geophysicist Ramesh Singh. He and co-workers from France and the United States report that this gas could be used as one of the precursor signals for an earthquake early warning system.”
Ramesh cites an incident occurring before a 7.6 earthquake that occurred in Gujarat, India in 2001:
“The researchers discovered the connection between CO emission and earthquake by analyzing satellite remote sensing data collected around the time when a 7.6 magnitude earthquake shook Gujarat in western India nine years ago killing about 20,000 people and rendering thousands homeless.
Singh said that CO levels were taken by an instrument on-board NASA’s Terra satellite — launched in 2009 — circling the earth in a polar orbit at a height of 705 km. The instrument measures CO concentrations at different heights and also computes the total amount of the gas in a vertical column of air above the earth surface.
Analysis of the satellite data showed a large peak in CO concentrations during January 19 and 20 — a week before the main earthquake event. On January 19, the total CO in the vertical column was also higher than usual. After the 26 January earthquake the concentration of the gas dropped.
According to the scientists, CO gas is forced out of the earth due to the build up of stress prior to the earthquake “influencing the hydro-logical regime around the epicenter.”
The scientists used data from an American satellite and analysed changes in carbon monoxide at different altitudes. “The carbon monoxide shows enhancement in concentration a few days prior to the earthquake,” Singh said.
With mounting evidence that climate change, drought and groundwater depletion are causing increased seismic activity here in California, research confirms the connection:
‘Groundwater Depletion Is Destabilizing the San Andreas Fault and Increasing Earthquake Risk’
“Depletion of groundwater in the San Joaquin Valley is having wide-ranging effects not just on the agricultural industry and the environment, but also on the very earth beneath our feet. Massive changes in groundwater levels in the southern Central Valley are changing the stresses on the San Andreas Fault, according to published research.”
With no mainstream coverage of this unusual event, people have been asking for an investigation into what caused this highly unusual spike 4 days ago (or carbon monoxide “explosion” as some are calling it)
Concerned citizens would like to know: Is there the possibility of an imminent earthquake here along the West Coast?
UPDATE from NASA:
Erroneous CO emissions over California cause unrealistic CO concentration in GEOS-5 model
March 1, 2016
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Elevated carbon monoxide (CO) concentrations over California in the GEOS-5 products since February 25, 2016, are incorrect. They are a consequence of unrealistic emissions derived from satellite observations of fires, which led to elevated concentrations of atmospheric CO (as well as other species).
NASA’s EOS-Terra spacecraft entered safe mode on February 18, 2016, during an inclination adjustment maneuver. This caused the MODIS instrument to enter safe mode, with the nadir and space-view doors closed. When the Terra MODIS transitioned back to science mode on February 24, 2016, the operating temperatures for the SWIR and LWIR (Short-wave Infrared and Longwave infrared) focal planes have not yet stabilized. As a consequence, some data products have been severely degraded. This includes the “Fire Radiative Power” fields that are used by GEOS-5 to compute emissions of CO, CO2, and carbonaceous aerosols by biomass burning.
GMAO is working to correct this problem. The GEOS-5 analyses will be re-run from February 24, 2016, using only the EOS-Aqua MODIS data, in order to exclude the unrealistic CO emissions. EOS-Terra observations will be re-introduced once the instrument has stabilized.