Uptick in oil drilling linked to frequency and intensity of earthquakes?
The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) in its annual release of the Economic and Social Survey of Jamaica 2021 stated that Jamaica was affected by more than 450 earthquakes in 2021.
According to the timely release, “Over 33.0 per cent (153) of recorded events in 2021 were local, while 36.4 per cent (167) were near. More than half the number of local events were between magnitudes 2.1 and 3.0. Of the 153 local events, over 27.0 per cent were located in the Blue Mountain block, reflecting a similar level of activity as in 2020.”
Notably, the Earthquake Unit in Jamaica reported over 701 seismic events in 2020. Across the greater Caribbean region and beyond these troubling statistics are similar. It is a frequent phenomenon and cause for grave concern.
Tsunamis are among the most cataclysmic natural disasters to which any country can be subjected. It dawns in the wake of earthquakes, leaving in its midst a magnitude of difficulties and, above all, unimaginable loss and sheer chaos. The drilling of oil within the region is undoubtedly a major factor linked to the aforementioned occurrences. As such, the imminent dangers must be promptly examined with renewed vision in an effort to safeguard Jamaica’s assets. This fad appears to have transcended, in most instances, the realms of logical thinking among governing officials within the region’s oil-rich zones.
A tectonic plate, according to the United States Geological Survey ”is a massive, irregularly shaped slab of solid rock, generally composed of both continental and oceanic lithosphere. Plate size can vary greatly, from a few hundred to thousands of kilometres across. The ones most impacted are the North American Plate, South American Plate, and the Caribbean Plate.
The extraction of oil and crude substantially erodes the integrity of the Earth’s crust, resulting in a vastly weaker infrastructure. The enormous pressure that is formed under these plates and subsequent fractures/cracks can extend for miles, impacting other plates. Tectonic earthquakes are most prevalent in this side of the hemisphere.
The uptick in oil rigging, particularly across the Latin and South American basin, has resulted in more frequent, erratic episodes of a higher magnitude. Is it possible that with the heightening of these activities earthquakes are to become a recurrent force within the region? I am of the firm belief there is a definite link between both, worthy of in-depth analysis.
The authorities that be have again miserably failed to attend to the tremendous advances this debilitating practice unearths. The overly eager, exuberant oil companies and their stakeholders consistently prance along devoid of sanctions. The time is indeed ripe to aggressively and unswervingly tackle the policies of oil companies as they continue to operate as per usual, resulting in the grand demise of territories in the long term.
There is a concerning school of thought, possibly entrenched in the pillars of these companies, stating every aspect of the unknown must be explored, leaving no stone unturned, resulting in the depletion of all natural reserves. This outlook must begin to change.
The regions varying energy governing bodies, such as the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE), Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as well as the ministries of energy throughout the region must begin to implement initiatives that will counteract these threats.
One effective measure is the aggressive cultivation of coral reefs. Renowned for its immense water-breaking properties, it serves as a phenomenal shock absorber against choppy waves, thereby protecting shorelines. The Coral Reef Alliance, one the world’s largest non-governmental organisations, has greatly assisted numerous countries thus far in advancing its goals of preserving water bodies and shorelines. The National Environment and Planning Agency could possibly consider collaborating with this formidable nature reserve entity.