Sichuan province, where a devastating 7.9 earthquak hit in May 2008, killing 80,000.
Sichuan province, where a devastating 7.9 earthquake hit in May 2008, killing 80,000.

A new study suggests that some of the world's largest and most deadly earthquakes are caused by man. 

It's thought that the culprits are human interventions such as oil and gas extraction, mining and reservoir construction.

Experts believe the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan, China with a magnitude of 7.9 which killed 80,000 people, was triggered by the construction of the Zipingu reservoir.

The 2007 Folkestone earthquake in Britain was triggered by millions of tons of shingle piled up, ironically, to protect Folkestone harbour. It clocked up 4.3 on the Richter scale.

The findings are published in a global study of hundreds of earthquakes by Christian Klose. The consultant geophysicist has published research in the Journal of Seismology identifying 92 large earthquakes thought to be caused by man.

"The data specifically shows that human-made mass changes can advance the clock or natural seismic cycles and induce or trigger new earthquakes," said Klose.

The Bhopal disaster, one of the world's worst industrial accidents that killed thousands of people in 1984.
The Bhopal disaster, one of the world's worst industrial accidents, killed thousands of people in 1984.

WORST MAN-MADE ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTERS IN HISTORY

The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill
On 24 March 24, 1989, 260,000 to 750,000 barrels of crude oil was spilled in Prince William Sounds, Alaska by the oil tanker Exxon Valdez after it ran into Bligh Reef. It is considered to be one of the most devastating human caused environmental disasters yet. Immediate effects included the deaths of 100,000 to as many as 250,000 seabirds and at least 2,800 sea otters.

Jilin Chemical Plant Explosions
The Jilin chemical plant explosions were a series of explosions that occurred on 13 November 2005 in the No.101 Petro chemical plant in Jilin City, Jilin Province, China. The explosions caused the deaths of six workers and the evacuation of tens of thousands of residents. The Songhua River was severely polluted with an estimated 100 tons of pollutants containing benzene and nitrobenzene, which reduces white blood cell count and is linked to leukaemia.

The Kuwait Oil Fires
Around six million barrels of oil went up in flames from January to November, 1991. 600 oil wells were set on fire as part of the scorched earth policy by the Iraqi military forces. $1.5 billion was spent by Kuwait to extinguish the fires that caused heavy pollution to the earth and air.

Deep water horizon (BP) Oil Spill
The BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico is believed the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry.  The oil spill was a direct result of the explosion and sinking of the deepwater horizon oil rig, which claimed 11 lives. Total oil wasted is estimated at 4.9 million barrels.

The Bhopal Disaster
Regarded as the world's worst industrial disaster in 1984, with more than half a million people exposed to methyl isocyanate gas and other toxic chemicals in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India. The Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant's leak of the poisonous gas claimed 2,259 casualties.

Watch raw footage of the Sichuan earthquake in 2008

This article was updated November 30, -0001 00:00 AM
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