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Making The World A Bitter Place

Scientists: San Francisco Earthquake-Prone Because City Built On Rock & Roll

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We Built This CitySan Francisco (AP) – Seismologists have concluded that the origin of San Francisco’s relatively high incidence of earthquakes and tremors results from the city’s foundation’s composition of rock and roll.

For decades, scientists have attributed the unstable ground of the San Francisco Bay area, along with much of western California, to its location along the fault line where two tectonic plates meet and move against each other. As a result of the constant shifting, the theory went, the tremendous pressure would be released when one or more portions of the area gave way, resulting in sometimes severe earthquakes.

However, that explanation has been called into question with the reemergence of a 1985 paper in the journal Knee Deep in the Hoopla, in an article that specifically claims that San Francisco was built on rock and roll. In the paper, Professors  Bernie Taupin, Martin Page, Dennis Lambert, and Peter Wolf detail some of the elements that went into the construction of the city by the bay, presenting a cause for the seismological phenomena affecting the area.

Though the 1985 explanation has been known for some time in certain circles, reaction to it has generally been lukewarm at best. Critics have pointed to the authors’ reference in the paper to Cleveland and New York, two cities largely unaffected by earthquakes, but clearly implying that those two metropolises were of similar construction. In fact, not long after the paper’s publication, it was ranked by several prominent authorities as one of the worst of its genre.

Recently, however, the theory has gained popularity among a school of researchers interested in what has come to be known as Classic Rock, a field that until several years ago was not usually interested in exploring the material of the 1980’s. The renewed interest has revived scholarly attention to the Rock & Roll Hypothesis, attention that has resulted in a spirited debate over its merits. Defenders point to documented earthquakes in the New York area and a city not far from Cleveland called Shaker Heights.

“Even if the revival of the Rock & Roll Hypothesis proves short-lived, it’s refreshing to have robust scientific dialogue on the subject,” said Grace Slick, who helped bring the original paper to a wider audience. “Some of the original proponents of the hypothesis have since distanced themselves from it, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have a place in a figurative Hall of Fame.”


Written by Thag

October 21, 2013 at 2:36 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Okay, best one evah. Absolutely hilarious – but I wanted a close-up photo of Grace Slick, from her glory days.

    Trent Lewin

    October 21, 2013 at 2:49 pm

  2. If earthquakes are rock’n’roll related, does coming to San Francisco with flowers in one’s hair help against the earthquakes?

    List of X

    October 24, 2013 at 6:44 am

    • I was thinking more along the lines of paper.


      October 24, 2013 at 6:58 am

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