Yellowstone Geo Blogs

Mother Nature Never Loses

I'm thinking this Sunday morning about the souls lost in the catastrophic mudslide in Oso, Washington last week. Our species, indeed, all species on earth are so fragile.  The slightest hiccup in earth processes, barely noticeable in a macro view can devastate a population.  A collision of air masses, shifting of a small crack in the earth's crust, a subtle warming of the ocean all can devastate organisms be they human, avian or marine invertebrate.

As a dominant species on our frail planet, common sense would seem to suggest that we be cautious about manipulations of our environment.  Injecting lubricating fluids into the earth to force out potential fuels is a revolutionary idea.  We all use and need energy for our existence and the pursuit of innovation.  But, we should be extremely selective about where we execute such a procedure when the health of a community's drinking water might be at stake?  In our world, profits grossly outweigh common sense - especially when the profiters or profiteers are not directly affected by the consequences.

The sad outcome of the mudslide in Oso could have been prevented.  There were strong warnings of the potential for a large earth movement in the area.  Yet, many of the houses were built in the last few years.  Some owners, it appears, had no idea of the risk.  I would say that it is incumbent upon the realtors and land owners who would profit from the sale of such lands to be aware of the risks and to convey that information to the potential purchaser. Knowing this information and not conveying it should be a criminal act in my estimation.

My thoughts are with the families who lost loved ones in the devastating debris flow.  We can only hope that we come away with a better understanding and more thoughtful view of our interaction with the dynamic earth on which we live.