Back in 2010, Georgia representative Hank Johnson made a fool of himself by suggesting that the island of Guam might capsize due to increased U.S. troop levels. Now it turns out he may not have been that far off the mark. Scientists are theorizing that the removal of ground water may trigger earthquakes, such as the one that struck Lorca, Spain in 2011 and killed 9 people.

According to Ouramazingplanet:

Groundwater removal triggered the unusually shallow and deadly earthquake that hit Lorca, Spain, in 2011, according to a new study…

The researchers were also able to precisely calculate the physical changes that generated the quake. The results will help seismologists better understand the physics that control when an earthquake starts and stops — an important step in predicting when and where a quake will occur, and its size…

But the 2011 quake ruptured only 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) below the Earth’s surface, which meant the earthquake’s energy was concentrated at the surface. Nine people were killed and dozens were injured, and both unreinforced masonry, like medieval churches, and modern buildings were damaged.

Thanks to previous research work in Spain, González suspected the quake’s shallow epicenter could be related to groundwater extraction near Lorca. The groundwater table south of Lorca has dropped as much as 820 feet (250 meters) since 1960.

Considering that Spain has a birthrate of only 1.47 babies per woman, one might ask why so much water was pumped out of the ground in recent years.  Perhaps the fact that Lorca is a destination for large numbers of immigrants, mainly from Ecuador and Morocco, has something to do with it. Back in 2001, the BBC reported:

Ecuadorians fleeing poverty at home make up one of Spain’s largest immigrant communities.

In Lorca alone there are up to 9,000 working on farms that grow vegetables such as tomatoes and lettuce, said Lorca town hall spokesman Tomas Guillen.

And according to Wikipedia:

In recent years, Lorca has experienced a population growth because of peasant immigration, mostly coming from Ecuador and Morocco.

More people = an increased need for water. It’s an immutable fact of nature. Thus we see that mass immigration can upset the balance of nature in previously unforeseen ways.

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