LONDON (Mar. 15) — Fears that a rash of earthquakes around the world may signal an impending geological cataclysm were debunked by a British scientist yesterday. However, he made the startling announcement that there is a connection between the quakes that could be even more frightening.
The common cause of major seismic events in Haiti, Chile, New Zealand and Japan: fat guys falling down.
“Improbable as it may seem, we now believe that temblors of this magnitude have their origins with morbidly obese men losing their balance and toppling to the ground,” said Robert Holdsworth, an expert in tectonics at Durham University. “We’ve analyzed all the data and the results are very clear. Earthquakes are being caused by fat guys falling down.”
“It’s not some fundamental weakening of the earth’s crust like you might see in a disaster movie,” Holdsworth said. “Instead, it’s the far more widespread problem of overweight people rising from their specially reinforced beds only to stumble and fall. This could happen anywhere, even in areas previously thought to be free of seismic activity.”
Holdsworth said the falling fatties don’t directly cause the subsequent quake, but instead create a shock wave that destabilizes the earth’s plates, which absorb the blow for a few brief hours before undergoing a massive shift. It’s this delay that prevented a quicker connection being made between the shocks that have rocked the globe since last year.
“The final confirmation came with a compilation of security videos from the sites of this year’s biggest quakes,” Holdsworth said. “In every case, we’ve found that the faults gave way not long after a camera somewhere nearby captured images of a fat guy falling down.”
A recent pre-dawn quake in eastern Turkey, which measured 6.0 on the Richter scale, came after the previous evening’s huge Thanksgiving dinner tipped several revelers over the 600-pound mark. With “turkey day” celebrated daily in this part of Asia Minor, it was only a matter of time before someone became drowsy from all the carbohydrates and fell over.
The monster 8.8-magnitude temblor that rocked Chile last February followed closely on the heels of an empanada-eating contest in Santiago where part of the stage collapsed under the weight of the contestants.
“I think they were also eating chili rellenos in a preliminary event,” Holdsworth said, “but that might be the other kind of chili and possibly unrelated.”
“However, it’s no coincidence that Turkey and Chile — two countries with the same name as foods — were hard-hit. Based on this, we advise an immediate evacuation of Samoa, because of the Girl Scout cookie connection,” he added.
The most devastating earthquake of all in 2010 was the January disaster in Haiti. This event initially threw investigators off the trail, since so many people in that poor Caribbean nation are undernourished.
“But we found a video of what may have been the only fat guy in the entire country and, sure enough, he fell down only 90 minutes before the 7.0-magnitude shock,” Holdsworth said.
The geologist admitted that while his study showed a terrifying trend, there is something positive that people can do to prevent future events, short of hunting down the overly plump and physically dismantling them.
“A carefully planned system of municipal trusses, hammocks and trampolines, scattered throughout an endangered city, could catch some of falling fat guys, absorbing just enough of the jolt to prevent a major quake,” Holdsworth said. “It would take a monumental effort, but it’s got to be easier than improving the balance of the lard-bottomed.”