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Ban fracking, rock concerts and football matches!

David Whitehouse

If the government is banning fracking for producing imperceptible tremors then it should be consistent and not allow the seismic carnage caused by rock concerts or football matches for that matter.

When many members of the public think about fracking their very next thought is likely to be “earthquakes.” That’s because in the public’s perception fracking is a danger – nobody wants an induced earthquake just as nobody would want an induced volcanic eruption or tidal wave. Nature is capricious enough to be threatening if you live in certain parts of the world. We don’t want earthquakes near Blackpool or Burnley, do we?

That’s the problem with the word earthquake. A better term is micro-seismicity and when viewed that way such events are everywhere.

The seismic events produced by fracking in the north of England – the events that caused the government to place a ban on such activity – are equivalent to purchasing a bag of shopping at your local supermarket. You know the type of stuff, milk, bread, Tea bags, sausages, apples, and perhaps a melon which are especially refreshing straight from the fridge on a warm summer’s evening. Imagine you were, for instance, sitting in your lounge perhaps plotting an anti-fracking demonstration and whilst the shopping was being put away in the kitchen said melon was dropped on the floor. You wouldn’t feel a thing and would continue the meeting undisturbed probably ignorant of the fact that the seismic disturbance caused by the melon’s demise was greater than the so-called earthquake you might be planning to protest about.

But fear not. You efforts will not be wasted for if you object to such micro-tremors there are other sources of them that you should rail against.

According to the seismologist Alice Walker on the 8th August 1992 the police called the British Geological Survey saying that people had contacted them saying there had been an earthquake in London and did they know anything about it? It was reported that some people left tower blocks in fright. It was soon released that the cause of the earthquake was a concert by the pop group Madness in Finsbury Park. In fact it was even possible to deduce the song being played, their hit “One Step Beyond,” fitted the strongest energy wave.

Not that this is the only example of music seismology. A Foo Fighters concert in New Zealand in 2011 was detected seismically, and the same effect has been detected at concerts by U2 and Bruce Springsteen.

Which is precisely the reason why such concerts should be banned. A special law should be introduced banning the rock group Queen from ever performing “We Will Rock You.” If we are banning fracking for producing near imperceptible tremors then we should be consistent and not allow the seismic carnage caused by rock concerts, or football matches for that matter.

So, if you are planning to protest against the earthquakes caused by fracking I urge you to also ask anyone coming to your meeting to please park their Range Rover down the street next to the closest position you allow lorries collecting household waste to come to your house. After all an earthquake is an earthquake no matter where it comes from. Oh and don’t live next to a motorway, or an underground station, or a reservoir!

Now, have you ever wondered why armies break step on a bridge?