Several social media posts have claimed that earthquake is manmade and not related to climate change. These posts were related to the recent earthquake in Syria-Turkey where over 46,000 deaths have been recorded as of February 20, 2022.
The Facebook users gave different justifications for their claims, but they all claimed that earthquake does not have anything to do with climate change.
A Facebook user, Mia Behrens (Mia) in his February 18 post claimed that some weapons were used to manipulate the weather and sea, which in turn led to the earthquake which has claimed several thousands of lives.
Mia’s post quoted the video of Romanian Senator Diana Sosoaca, speaking in Spanish in relation to the incident.
What Causes Earthquake
National Geographic defines an earthquake as a sudden shaking of the Earth’s surface caused by the movement of rocks deep underneath, which often happen without warning.
While some earthquakes are unnoticeable on the earth’s surface, severe quakes can result in property damage, injury, and loss of life. They can also cause fires, tsunamis, landslides and avalanches, and volcanic eruptions.
Quoting the Jpost article on causes of earthquakes, “an earthquake is essentially just when blocks of earth slip past each other along what is known as a fault. These blocks of earth are known as tectonic plates.
“These plates are always moving but they aren’t attached to one another. Each one has boundaries made up of many different faults. The boundaries are what get briefly attached to each other as the plates move and shift around.
“When the plates start moving away, these faults stay attached, rubbing against each other and building up a lot of stored energy and stress. Eventually, they detach as the plates keep moving, releasing all this stored energy in the form of seismic waves that literally shake the Earth.”
Link Between Climate Change and Earthquakes
Philip Jakpor, an environment, and climate activist, in an interview with BONews explained that while it might be difficult to identify the direct link between climate change and earthquakes, it is a fact that earthquakes are caused by natural and human factors.
Jakpor buttressed that “earthquakes are caused by natural and unnatural conditions as applicable in Turkey because Turkey is located within the fault lines, that is areas that are prone to earthquakes.
“There are also human activities such as indiscriminate drilling of boreholes, mining or oil drilling which make the environment to be susceptible to earthquakes.”
Specifically, Jakpor noted that as the weather condition changes, it also predisposes the environment to different things, such as earth tremors.
“The weather conditions can only be an instigator and not the direct cause of earthquakes. But it is important to note that if the climate condition worsens, it can cause excessive dryness or heat. This can in turn affect locations where the earth’s surfaces are already weak, and they can begin to cave in,” Jakpor added.
The climate activist also noted that Nigeria has experienced earth tremor in the past, which is somewhat minimal in its impact
“There has been earth tremor in Bayelsa state which is associated with the excessive oil drilling in the state.”
He thereafter warns that Nigerian states such as Ebonyi, Enugu, Lagos and Niger Delta states where there are excessive drillings need to be careful as there could be earthquakes should the weather conditions worsen.
Can Humans Cause Earthquakes
With an understanding that earthquakes occur when stored energy is released from the hypocenter after the plates begin to move, it is certain that earthquakes are not man-made, i.e. deliberately orchestrated by man.
Corroborating this, Jakpor explained that human activities such as reckless mining and drilling can predispose the environment to earthquakes.
The claim that earthquakes are not related to climate change is MISLEADING. While there is no direct link between climate change and earthquakes, research has shown that climate change can be a major factor in earthquakes. It is important that humans begin to take action to reduce the impact of the changing climate.
This fact-check was produced by BONews Service with support from Code for Africa’s PesaCheck, International Fact-Checking Network, and African Fact-Checking Alliance network.