“A reflection on earthquakes”

In our Systematic Theology class, the late Dr. Johnny V. Gumban told us that “An earthquake is one of the ways that Earth heals itself. God designed it that way.” I was in awe during that time but I never delved into the scientific facts behind it until now when a series of earthquakes hit the Philippines.

According to https://earthquake.usgs.gov/ “An earthquake is caused by a sudden slip on a fault. The tectonic plates are always slowly moving, but they get stuck at their edges due to friction. When the stress on the edge overcomes the friction, there is an earthquake that releases energy in waves that travel through the earth’s crust and cause the shaking that we feel.”

With this description we can see the logic that once the tectonic plates will stop its movement, then it follows that there will no earthquakes anymore. So what if the tectonic plates stop its movement? What will happen?

According to Kerry Sieh, Professor of Geology at Caltech (https://www.caltech.edu), “If all plate motion stopped, Earth would be a very different place…Erosion would continue to wear the mountains down, but with no tectonic activity to refresh them, over a few million years they would erode down to low rolling hills. So the whole planet would be flatter, and the topography would be…a lot less exciting.”

According to Pierre Köchel of https://insh.world, “Tectonic plates: can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em…. Convergent plates come together to form impressive mountain chains and terrifying volcanoes. But without plate tectonics, Earth will simply stop making new ones…Volcanoes, for the most part, would be out of commission, since tectonic activity is generally what causes their eruption. But if volcanoes are out, then so is Earth’s magnetic field. Our magnetic field is powered by convection currents within Earth’s iron outer core. But if this process fails, we lose our magnetic field. And without out our magnetic field, the earth has no more protection from deadly solar wind. The Sun would consume our atmosphere, sucking up the air we breathe, and boiling away the oceans. At that point, life on Earth becomes impossible.”

Another interesting fact is the chain reaction if volcanoes will cease to function. It would mean no new minerals and then it follows that trees and plants will slowly die until it used all the remaining minerals in the land. This means the decrease of oxygen until there is no more left for us to breathe in. So in other words, if the tectonic plates will stop moving, then all of us, including all around us, will die slowly.

Taking all of these in, a Christian should be confident that God exists. Our God designed the whole universe up to smallest detail. Robin George Andrews of https://www.nationalgeographic.com/ wrote, “There’s no geological artist quite like Earth’s plate tectonics.”

So the next time you feel an earthquake, go somewhere safe and then remember that God designed our world that way to sustain life.

Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on
April 29, 2019

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