Category Archives: EARTH

Peru Earthquake 2011: Earthquake Destroys 134 Homes

Peru Earthquake 2011: Earthquake Destroys 134 Homes, Damages 18th Century Cathedral, Christian News.

Officials report that 103 people have been treated at hospitals and some 134 homes destroyed as a result of Friday’s earthquake that shook southwestern Peru.

The 6.9-magnitude quake occurred just off the coast, not too far from the epicenter of a devastating 2007 quake that claimed 500 lives. After the original tremor Friday, at least nine aftershocks followed, reported The Associated Press. The most significant aftershock measured a magnitude 5.5 on the Richter scale.

Most of the collapsed homes were made of adobe, or natural building materials, civil defense chief Alfredo Murgueytio told The Associated Press.

Two churches were reported damaged and in danger of collapsing, including an 18th century cathedral in the city of Ica, the closest urban agglomeration to the epicenter of the earthquake.

Friday’s earthquake reportedly sent people running panicked into the streets when it struck at 6:54 p.m. local time.

The epicenter was located at 14.457 degrees south and 75.990 degrees west, 31 miles away from the city of Ica, and 178 miles away from Lima, the country’s capital.

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Peru has a history of earthquakes, ranging from minor ones to those causing major death and significant damage.

The previous earthquake struck the country on Aug. 24, 2011. The 7.0-magnitude quake hit the Amazon region, making buildings in the capital and in neighboring Brazil shake, according to Reuters. At the time, no injuries or major damage was reported, but mobile phone services were interrupted in Lima.

The August earthquake has been the most powerful one to hit Peru since a 7.9-magnitude tremor killed over 500 people and destroyed thousands of houses in 2007. At the time, bodies were reportedly scattered on the streets of the town of Pisco, located close to the epicenter. At least 200 people were also buried under the rubble of a church that collapsed during a service. On Aug. 16, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI offered prayers for the victims.

South America’s west coast is a segment of the circum-Pacific seismic belt, where more than two-thirds of the world’s large-magnitude earthquakes occur, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The deadliest earthquake in Peru’s history occurred on May 31, 1970. The 7.9-magnitude earthquake and aftershocks resulted in the greatest death toll resulting from landslides and flooding due to burst dams. An estimated 50,000 people perished at the time. The country also experienced unprecedented damage to property.

Before 1970, in an earthquake that struck Lima in Oct. of 1746, at least 5,000 persons were killed, many of them when a tsunami swept the coast.

On Nov. 10, 1946, a 7.3-magnitude earthquake, centered in the region of the May 1970 shock, generated landslides that swept away the town of Quiches (northeast of Chimbote).

Rapidly Inflating Volcano Creates Growing Mystery

Rapidly Inflating Volcano Creates Growing Mystery – Yahoo! News.

Yeah, just ’cause it’s growing a cubic meter per second, and it explodes every 300k years or so, and it’s been 300k years since the last one, no, there’s no reason to get excited, we don’t expect it to explode.

WTF??

Should anyone ever decide to make a show called “CSI: Geology,” a group of scientists studying a mysterious and rapidly inflating South American volcano have got the perfect storyline.

Researchers from several universities are essentially working as geological detectives, using a suite of tools to piece together the restive peak’s past in order to understand what it is doing now, and better diagnose what may lie ahead.

It’s a mystery they’ve yet to solve.

Uturuncu is a nearly 20,000-foot-high (6,000 meters) volcano in southwest Bolivia. Scientists recently discovered the volcano is inflating with astonishing speed.

“I call this ‘volcano forensics,’ because we’re using so many different techniques to understand this phenomenon,” said Oregon State University professor Shan de Silva, a volcanologist on the research team. [See images of the inflating volcano here.]

Researchers realized about five years ago that the area below and around Uturuncu is steadily rising — blowing up like a giant balloon under a wide disc of land some 43 miles (70 kilometers) across. Satellite data revealed the region was inflating by 1 to 2 centimeters (less than an inch) per year and had been doing so for at least 20 years, when satellite observations began.

“It’s one of the fastest uplifting volcanic areas on Earth,” de Silva told OurAmazingPlanet.”What we’re trying to do is understand why there is this rapid inflation, and from there we’ll try to understand what it’s going to lead to.”

The  peak is perched like a party hat at the center of the inflating area. “It’s very circular. It’s like a big bull’s-eye,” said Jonathan Perkins, a graduate student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who recently presented work on the mountain at this year’s Geological Society of America meeting  in Minneapolis.

Scientists figured out from the inflation rate that the pocket of magma beneath the volcano was growing by about 27 cubic feet (1 cubic meter) per second.

“That’s about 10 times faster than the standard rate of magma chamber growth you see for large volcanic systems,” Perkins told OurAmazingPlanet.

However, no need to flee just yet, the scientists said.

“It’s not a volcano that we think is going to erupt at any moment, but it certainly is interesting, because the area was thought to be essentially dead,” de Silva said.

Uber-Uturuncu?

Uturuncu is surrounded by one of the most dense concentrations of supervolcanoes on the planet, all of which fell silent some 1 million years ago.

Supervolcanoes get their name because they erupt with such power that they typically spew out 1,000 times more material, in sheer volume, than a volcano like Mount St. Helens. Modern human civilization has never witnessed such an event. The planet’s most recent supervolcanic eruption happened about 74,000 years ago in Indonesia. [Related: The 10 Biggest Volcanic Eruptions in History]

“These eruptions are thought to have not only a local and regional impact, but potentially a global impact,” de Silva said.

Uturuncu itself is in the same class as Mount St. Helens in Washington state, but its aggressive rise could indicate that a new supervolcano is on the way. Or not.

De Silva said it appears that local volcanoes hoard magma for about 300,000 years before they blow — and Uturuncu last erupted about 300,000 years ago.

“So that’s why it’s important to know how long this has been going on,” he said.

To find an answer, scientists needed data that stretch back thousands of years — but they had only 20 years of satellite data.

Volcano rap sheet

“So that’s where we come in as geomorphologists — to look for clues in the landscape to learn about the long-term topographic evolution of the volcano,” Perkins said.

Perkins and colleagues used ancient lakes, now largely dry, along the volcano’s flanks to hunt for signs of rising action.

“Lakes are great, because waves from lakes will carve shorelines into bedrock, which make lines,” Perkins said.

If the angle of those lines shifted over thousands of years  — if the summit of the mountain rose, it would gradually lift one side of the lake — it would indicate the peak had been rising for quite some time, or at least provide a better idea of when the movement began.

The local conditions, largely untouched by erosion or the reach of lush plant and animal life, lend themselves to geological detective work, Perkins noted.

“It’s a really sparse, otherworldly landscape,” Perkins said. “Everything is so well preserved. There’s no biology to get in the way of your observations.”

Perkins said that surveys conducted on the lakes last autumn didn’t indicate long-term inflation. However, tilting lakes are only one indicator of volcano growth, he said.

De Silva said the geological detective team is working to combine data from a number of sources — seismic data, GPS data, even minute variations in gravity — to pin down when and why the mountain awoke from its 300,000-year-long slumber, and better predict its next big move.

This story was provided by OurAmazingPlanet, a sister site to LiveScience. You can follow OurAmazingPlanet staff writer Andrea Mustain on Twitter: @andreamustain. Follow OurAmazingPlanet for the latest in Earth science and exploration news on Twitter @OAPlanet and on Facebook.

279 reported dead in Turkey earthquake; 1,300 more hurt

279 reported dead in Turkey earthquake; 1,300 more hurt – CNN.

Using shovels, heavy machinery and their bare hands, rescue workers scrambled through piles of rubble to find survivors Monday after a deadly 7.2-magnitude earthquake devastated parts of eastern Turkey.

The death toll has risen to 279, with another 1,300 injured, Turkey’s semi-official Anatolian news agency reported, citing the country’s disaster management authority. Some 970 buildings are demolished.

There have been conflicting reports about the number of dead, however. Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin said Monday that as many as 264 people were dead, while Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay put the death toll at 239.

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It was difficult to tally the number of injured, Health Minister Recep Akdag said, because many were being treated and released.

The military was assisting with search-and-rescue efforts, Atalay said.

Numerous aftershocks — the largest a magnitude 6.0 — rattled eastern Turkey, one of the nation’s poorest areas.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said 55 buildings collapsed in Ercis on the north shore of Lake Van. The Turkish Red Crescent said about 25 apartment buildings and a student dormitory collapsed in the town.

A health services building also collapsed, along with part of a hospital, CNN sister network CNN Turk reported. The injured were being treated in the hospital’s garden.

“People are really scared,” CNN Turk reporter Nevsin Mengu said from Van. “The survivors are now trying to survive the cold weather.”

Rescuers and survivors contended with near-freezing temperatures early Monday. Some people collected wood from collapsed buildings to burn for warmth, Mengu said.

She said many residents are not returning to their houses, opting instead to sleep on rooftops or in the streets. It was not clear whether their homes were uninhabitable or they were just too frightened. Electricity and natural gas were off in most of the city, but Atalay said officials hope to restore power in Van and Ercis by Monday night.

Trucks carrying medical aid and food were seen driving into Van. But rescue teams had not reached some of the smaller villages in the area, Mengu said.

One man, stuck in the fetal position under a large piece of debris, was visible only through a small hole in the rubble. The man appeared weak and exhausted after rescuers pulled him out, his clothes torn.

At one point, rescue workers halted operations to try to hear whether anyone was knocking for help.

The Red Crescent called for rescue workers, machinery and drinking water. A crisis center was set up by the country’s Health Ministry in the Turkish capital of Ankara.

By Monday, more than 2,300 emergency personnel were in the region, Atalay said. Tents and rescue teams have come from as far away as Iran and Azerbaijan.

The crisis center said Sunday that 29 surrounding towns had sent help and medical helicopters were taking the injured for treatment in other provinces. Thirty-seven patients were taken to Ankara, Atalay said Monday.

Rapidly Inflating Volcano Creates Growing Mystery

Rapidly Inflating Volcano Creates Growing Mystery – Yahoo! News.

Should anyone ever decide to make a show called “CSI: Geology,” a group of scientists studying a mysterious and rapidly inflating South American volcano have got the perfect storyline.

Researchers from several universities are essentially working as geological detectives, using a suite of tools to piece together the restive peak’s past in order to understand what it is doing now, and better diagnose what may lie ahead.

It’s a mystery they’ve yet to solve.

Uturuncu is a nearly 20,000-foot-high (6,000 meters) volcano in southwest Bolivia. Scientists recently discovered the volcano is inflating with astonishing speed.

“I call this ‘volcano forensics,’ because we’re using so many different techniques to understand this phenomenon,” said Oregon State University professor Shan de Silva, a volcanologist on the research team. [See images of the inflating volcano here.]

Researchers realized about five years ago that the area below and around Uturuncu is steadily rising — blowing up like a giant balloon under a wide disc of land some 43 miles (70 kilometers) across. Satellite data revealed the region was inflating by 1 to 2 centimeters (less than an inch) per year and had been doing so for at least 20 years, when satellite observations began.

“It’s one of the fastest uplifting volcanic areas on Earth,” de Silva told OurAmazingPlanet.”What we’re trying to do is understand why there is this rapid inflation, and from there we’ll try to understand what it’s going to lead to.”

The  peak is perched like a party hat at the center of the inflating area. “It’s very circular. It’s like a big bull’s-eye,” said Jonathan Perkins, a graduate student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who recently presented work on the mountain at this year’s Geological Society of America meeting  in Minneapolis.

Scientists figured out from the inflation rate that the pocket of magma beneath the volcano was growing by about 27 cubic feet (1 cubic meter) per second.

“That’s about 10 times faster than the standard rate of magma chamber growth you see for large volcanic systems,” Perkins told OurAmazingPlanet.

However, no need to flee just yet, the scientists said.

“It’s not a volcano that we think is going to erupt at any moment, but it certainly is interesting, because the area was thought to be essentially dead,” de Silva said.

Uber-Uturuncu?

Uturuncu is surrounded by one of the most dense concentrations of supervolcanoes on the planet, all of which fell silent some 1 million years ago.

Supervolcanoes get their name because they erupt with such power that they typically spew out 1,000 times more material, in sheer volume, than a volcano like Mount St. Helens. Modern human civilization has never witnessed such an event. The planet’s most recent supervolcanic eruption happened about 74,000 years ago in Indonesia. [Related: The 10 Biggest Volcanic Eruptions in History]

“These eruptions are thought to have not only a local and regional impact, but potentially a global impact,” de Silva said.

Uturuncu itself is in the same class as Mount St. Helens in Washington state, but its aggressive rise could indicate that a new supervolcano is on the way. Or not.

De Silva said it appears that local volcanoes hoard magma for about 300,000 years before they blow — and Uturuncu last erupted about 300,000 years ago.

“So that’s why it’s important to know how long this has been going on,” he said.

To find an answer, scientists needed data that stretch back thousands of years — but they had only 20 years of satellite data.

Volcano rap sheet

“So that’s where we come in as geomorphologists — to look for clues in the landscape to learn about the long-term topographic evolution of the volcano,” Perkins said.

Perkins and colleagues used ancient lakes, now largely dry, along the volcano’s flanks to hunt for signs of rising action.

“Lakes are great, because waves from lakes will carve shorelines into bedrock, which make lines,” Perkins said.

If the angle of those lines shifted over thousands of years  — if the summit of the mountain rose, it would gradually lift one side of the lake — it would indicate the peak had been rising for quite some time, or at least provide a better idea of when the movement began.

The local conditions, largely untouched by erosion or the reach of lush plant and animal life, lend themselves to geological detective work, Perkins noted.

“It’s a really sparse, otherworldly landscape,” Perkins said. “Everything is so well preserved. There’s no biology to get in the way of your observations.”

Perkins said that surveys conducted on the lakes last autumn didn’t indicate long-term inflation. However, tilting lakes are only one indicator of volcano growth, he said.

De Silva said the geological detective team is working to combine data from a number of sources — seismic data, GPS data, even minute variations in gravity — to pin down when and why the mountain awoke from its 300,000-year-long slumber, and better predict its next big move.

Woman dies after UFO fireball falls from sky and causes explosion – National unexplained phenomena | Examiner.com

Woman dies after UFO fireball falls from sky and causes explosion – National unexplained phenomena | Examiner.com.

On Monday, September 26, 2011, a woman was killed when a UFO fell from the sky and caused an explosion in Monte Grande, Buenos Aires, Argentina.  The explosion took place at 2:00am.

According to Buenos Aires Herald: “The deceased woman was identified as 43-years-old Silvina Espinoza.”  Multiple witnesses described a “ball of fire” that descended from the heavens prior to the incident.  The object has been described as both red and blue.  There are no confirmed photos of the fire ball at this time, and the cause of the explosion has not officially been determined.film The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water download

The explosion that killed one woman also injured several others (the number of injured currently stands at eight) and caused damage to homes, vehicles, and at least one store.  According to Discover Magazine, the flaming object that plummeted to the ground early Monday morning could have been a small plane, although many people will be quick to assume it was a meteor.  Thus far, there is no evidence to support either of those theories.

The video on the left side of this page contains an audio report on the incident from Conservative New Media (CNM).  Note that the image of the explosion used in the report does not depict the actual event.  To view images of the damage caused by the falling UFO, launch the video on the left.  Both the audio report and the images will open in a new window.

Weird purple flying saucer shaped UFO seen spinning over California

Continue reading on Examiner.com Woman dies after UFO fireball falls from sky and causes explosion – National unexplained phenomena | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/unexplained-phenomena-in-national/woman-dies-after-ufo-fireball-falls-from-sky-and-causes-explosion#ixzz1bjZqhu3d

More than 230 dead in Turkey quake; 1,300 more hurt – CNN.com

More than 230 dead in Turkey quake; 1,300 more hurt – CNN.com.

Ercis, Turkey (CNN) — Using shovels, heavy machinery and their bare hands, rescue workers scrambled through piles of rubble to find survivors Monday after a deadly 7.2-magnitude earthquake devastated parts of eastern Turkey.

There were conflicting reports about the number dead. As many as 264 people are dead and 1,300 are injured after Sunday’s quake, Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin told reporters Monday. However, Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay put the death toll at 239 in a news conference.

It was difficult to tally the number of injured, Health Minister Recep Akdag said, because many were being treated and released.

Turkey’s semi-official Anatolian news agency quoted Sahin as saying a total of 970 buildings had collapsed.

The military was assisting with search and rescue efforts, Atalay said.

Numerous aftershocks — the largest a magnitude 6.0 — rattled eastern Turkey, one of the nation’s poorest areas.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said 55 buildings collapsed in Ercis on the north shore of Lake Van. The Turkish Red Crescent said about 25 apartment buildings and a student dormitory collapsed in the town.

Turkish quake survivors confront cold

Woman pulled from rubble in Turkey

Erdogan views Turkey quake damage

Turkey earthquake damage ‘massive’

A health services building also collapsed, along with part of a hospital, CNN sister network CNN Turk reported. The injured were being treated in the hospital’s garden.

“People are really scared,” CNN Turk reporter Nevsin Mengu said from Van. “The survivors are now trying to survive the cold weather.”

Rescuers and survivors contended with near-freezing temperatures early Monday. Some people collected wood from collapsed buildings to burn for warmth, Mengu said.

She said many residents are not returning to their houses, opting instead to sleep on rooftops or in the streets. It was not clear whether their homes were uninhabitable, or whether they were just too frightened. Electricity and natural gas were off in most of the city, but Atalay said officials hope to restore power in Van and Ercis by Monday night.

Trucks carrying medical aid and food were seen driving into Van. But rescue teams had not yet reached some of the smaller villages in the area, Mengu said.

One man, stuck in the fetal position under a large piece of debris, was visible only through a small hole in the rubble. The man appeared weak and exhausted after rescuers pulled him out, his clothes torn.

At one point, rescue workers halted operations to try to hear if anyone was knocking for help.

Are you there? Submit your pictures or video

The Red Crescent called for rescue workers, machinery and drinking water. A crisis center was set up by the country’s Health Ministry in the Turkish capital of Ankara.

By Monday, more than 2,300 emergency personnel were on the ground, Atalay said. Tents and rescue teams have come from as far away as Iran and Azerbaijan.

The crisis center said Sunday 29 surrounding towns had sent help and medical helicopters were taking the injured for treatment in other provinces. Thirty-seven patients were taken to Ankara, Atalay said Monday.

Two tent hospitals were being set up in Ercis on Sunday, and two cargo planes were dispatched from the capital carrying medical teams and aid.

Prime Minister Erdogan and Akdag arrived in the area Sunday, according to the Ministry of Health’s crisis center.

Israel offered Turkey “any help it may require” after the earthquake, Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s office said. Israel and Turkey, once close allies, saw a deterioration in relations in a dispute over an Israeli naval commando raid on the Gaza-bound ship Mavi Marmara, in which nine Turkish activists were killed.

A spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry said the country, while grateful for offers of aid, is prepared to handle the disaster on its own.

Turkey is “no stranger to having these seismic events,” but Sunday’s quake is considered major, CNN Meteorologist Reynolds Wolf said.

A magnitude 7.6 earthquake in Izmit, Turkey, killed more than 17,000 people in 1999, according to the United States Geological Survey. A magnitude 7.2 tremor in Duzce the same year killed 894 people, the USGS reported.

 

Sunday’s major quake struck at 1:41 p.m. local time, about 12 miles from Van, the USGS said.

 

 

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=earthquake-hits-turkey

 

 

* Quake was magnitude 7.2, Turkish observatory says

* Up to 1,000 may have been killed

* Prime Minister Erdogan to visit affected region

* Dozens of buildings collapse in Ercis district (Recasts with new magnitude figure, death toll estimate, details)

By Jonathon Burch

VAN, Turkey, Oct 23 (Reuters) – A powerful earthquake which shook southeast Turkey on Sunday may have killed up to 1,000 people as it triggered the collapse of dozens of buildings across the region, media reported the Kandilli Observatory as saying.

Emergency workers battled to rescue people trapped in buildings in the city of Van and surrounding districts on the banks of Lake Van, near Turkey’s border with Iran.

Some 10 buildings collapsed in Van city and about 25-30 buildings were brought to the ground in the nearby district of Ercis, Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay told reporters.

“We estimate around 1,000 buildings are damaged and our estimate is for hundreds of lives lost. It could be 500 or 1,000,” Kandilli Observatory general manager Mustafa Erdik told a news conference.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was travelling to Van and the cabinet was expected to discuss the quake at a meeting called for Monday morning.

“A lot of buildings collapsed, many people were killed, but we don’t know the number. We are waiting for emergency help, it’s very urgent,” Zulfukar Arapoglu, the mayor of Ercis, told news broadcaster NTV.

Cihan news agency said 30 had been killed in Ercis district.

“We need tents urgently and rescue teams. We don’t have any ambulances, and we only have one hospital. We have many killed and injured,” he said.

Turkey’s Red Crescent said one of its local teams was helping to rescue people from a student residence in Ercis. It said it was sending tents, blankets and food to the region.

More than 20 aftershocks shook the area, further unsettling residents who ran out on the streets when the initial strong quake struck. Television pictures showed rooms shaking and furniture falling to the ground as people ran from one building.

Dozens of emergency workers and locals crawled over a multi-storey building in Van as they searched for any people trapped in side.

Elsewhere, vehicles lay crushed by falling masonry in the street while dazed-looking people wandered past.

Some 50 injured people had been taken to hospital in Van, state-run Anatolian news agency reported, but it did not give details on how serious their injuries were.

The Kandilli Observatory, which initially cited a magnitude of 6.6, said the earthquake struck at 1041 GMT and was 5 km (3 miles) deep. The U.S. Geological Survey earlier reported that the magnitude was 7.6.

Turkish media said phone lines and electricity had been cut off. The quake’s epicentre was at the village of Tabanli, 20 km north of Van city, Kandilli said.

In Hakkari, about 100 km (60 miles) south of Van, a building could be felt swaying for about 10 seconds during the quake but there was no immediate sign of casualties or damage in the town, about two and a half hours drive through the mountains from Van.

Major geological fault lines cross Turkey and small earthquakes are a near daily occurrence. Two large quakes in 1999 killed more than 20,000 people in northwest Turkey.

Two people were killed and 79 injured in May when an earthquake shook Simav in northwest Turkey. (Additional reporting by Sedan Sezer and Daren Butler; Editing by Louise Ireland)

Quake-prone Japanese Area Runs Disaster System on Force.com

Quake-prone Japanese Area Runs Disaster System on Force.com | PCWorld.

A coastal region of Japan due for a major earthquake and possible tsunamis has implemented a cloud-based disaster management system run by Salesforce.com.

Shizuoka Prefecture, on Japan’s eastern coast in the central region of the country, lies curled around an undersea trough formed by the junction of two tectonic plates. It has been rocked by repeated large temblors in past centuries, collectively called “Tokai earthquakes,” and the central government has warned that with underground stresses high another is imminent.

The local prefectural government began to build a new disaster management system last year, the initial version of which went live in July. It is based on Salesforce.com’s platform-as-a-service offering, Force.com, which hosts hundreds of thousands of applications.

“It would have cost a lot more to run our own servers and network, and if a disaster happened managing something like that would be very difficult, especially if the prefecture office was damaged,” said Keisuke Uchiyama, a Shizuoka official who works with the system.

Japanese prefectures are the rough equivalent of states.

The system is currently hosted on Salesforce.com’s servers in the U.S. and goes live when an official disaster warning is issued by the government. It links up information about key infrastructure such as roads, heliports and evacuation centers.

Salesforce.com says it combines GIS (geographic information system) data with XML sent from Japan’s Meteorological Agency. Users can also send email updates from the field using their mobile phones, with GPS coordinates and pictures attached.

Uchiyama said the original plan was to allow open access, but budget cuts forced that to be postponed and it is now available only to government workers and disaster-related groups. The system was implemented with a budget of about 200 million yen (US$2.6 million) over its first two years, down from an original allotment of about 500 million yen over three years.

He said it was used to keep track of the situation last week when a powerful typhoon swept through central Japan.

The obvious downside to a hosted system is that key infrastructure is often destroyed during natural disasters. After the powerful earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan’s northeastern coast in March, some seaside towns were completely devastated and went weeks without basics like power or mobile phone service. Local communities turned to word-of-mouth and public bulletin boards to spread information and search for survivors.

“If the network gets cut, it’s over,” said Uchiyama.

Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcano

Puyehue-Cordón Caulle : Natural Hazards.

Puyehue-Cordón Caulle

acquired September 17, 2011 download large image (6 MB, JPEG)
acquired September 17, 2011 download large afternoon image (6 MB, JPEG)

As the eruption of Puyehue Cordón Caulle wanes, life is returning to normal in nearby communities. The Buenos Aires Herald reported that the first domestic aircraft landed at Bariloche, Argentina, in more than three months on September 17, 2011. Bariloche is an Andean town about 60 kilometers southeast of the eruption center. At the time, winds blew the ash plume from Puyehue Cordón Caulle towards the northwest, away from the town. An airport spokesperson expects future traffic to be dependent on the weather.

This natural-color satellite image shows Puyehue Cordón Caulle and the surrounding area at roughly local noon on September 17. A pale plume of volcanic gas and ash streams to the northwest from the active vent. The September 15 status report from the Chilean National Service of Geology and Mining (SERNAGEOMIN) stated that the eruption continued at a low level.

  1. References

  2. Buenos Aires Herald. (2011, September 17). Plane lands at Bariloche airport after months of inactivity. Accessed September 19, 2011.
  3. Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería. (2011, September 15). Reporte Especial de Actividad Volcánica No 138 Complejo Volcánico Puyehue-Cordón Caulle. Accessed September 19, 2011.

NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA-GSFC.

Instrument: 
Terra – MODIS

Can we predict earthquakes?

BBC News – Can we predict when and where quakes will strike?.

l'Aquila earthquake Seismologists try to manage the risk of building damage and loss of life

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This week, six seismologists go on trial for the manslaughter of 309 people, who died as a result of the 2009 earthquake in l’Aquila, Italy.

The prosecution holds that the scientists should have advised the population of l’Aquila of the impending earthquake risk.

But is it possible to pinpoint the time and location of an earthquake with enough accuracy to guide an effective evacuation?

There are continuing calls for seismologists to predict where and when a large earthquake will occur, to allow complete evacuation of threatened areas.

What causes an earthquake?

An earthquake is caused when rocks in the Earth’s crust fracture suddenly, releasing energy in the form of shaking and rolling, radiating out from the epicentre.

The rocks are put under stress mostly by friction during the slow, 1-10 cm per year shuffling of tectonic plates.

The release of this friction can happen at any time, either through small frequent fractures, or rarer breaks that release a lot more energy, causing larger earthquakes.

It is these large earthquakes that have devastating consequences when they strike in heavily populated areas.

Attempts to limit the destruction of buildings and the loss of life mostly focus on preventative measures and well-communicated emergency plans.

Predicting an earthquake with this level of precision is extremely difficult, because of the variation in geology and other factors that are unique to each location.

Attempts have been made, however, to look for signals that indicate a large earthquake is about to happen, with variable success.

Historically, animals have been thought to be able to sense impending earthquakes.

Noticeably erratic behaviour of pets, and mass movement of wild animals like rats, snakes and toads have been observed prior to several large earthquakes in the past.

Following the l’Aquila quake, researchers published a study in the Journal of Zoology documenting the unusual movement of toads away from their breeding colony.

But scientists have been unable to use this anecdotal evidence to predict events.

The behaviour of animals is affected by too many factors, including hunger, territory and weather, and so their erratic movements can only be attributed to earthquakes in hindsight.

Precursor events

When a large amount of stress is built up in the Earth’s crust, it will mostly be released in a single large earthquake, but some smaller-scale cracking in the build-up to the break will result in precursor earthquakes.

Start Quote

There is no scientific basis for making a prediction”

Richard Walker University of Oxford

These small quakes precede around half of all large earthquakes, and can continue for days to months before the big break.

Some scientists have even gone so far as to try to predict the location of the large earthquake by mapping the small tremors.

The “Mogi Doughnut Hypothesis” suggests that a circular pattern of small precursor quakes will precede a large earthquake emanating from the centre of that circle.

While half of the large earthquakes have precursor tremors, only around 5% of small earthquakes are associated with a large quake.

So even if small tremors are felt, this cannot be a reliable prediction that a large, devastating earthquake will follow.

“There is no scientific basis for making a prediction”, said Dr Richard Walker of the University of Oxford.

In several cases, increased levels of radon gas have been observed in association with rock cracking that causes earthquakes.

Leaning building Small ground movements sometimes precede a large quake

Radon is a natural and relatively harmless gas in the Earth’s crust that is released to dissolve into groundwater when the rock breaks.

Similarly, when rock cracks, it can create new spaces in the crust, into which groundwater can flow.

Measurements of groundwater levels around earthquake-prone areas see sudden changes in the level of the water table as a result of this invisible cracking.

Unfortunately for earthquake prediction, both the radon emissions and water level changes can occur before, during, or after an earthquake, or not at all, depending on the particular stresses a rock is put under.

Advance warning systems

The minute changes in the movement, tilt, and the water, gas and chemical content of the ground associated with earthquake activity can be monitored on a long term scale.

Measuring devices have been integrated into early warning systems that can trigger an alarm when a certain amount of activity is recorded.

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Prediction will only become possible with a detailed knowledge of the earthquake process. Even then, it may still be impossible”

Dr Dan Faulkner University of Liverpool

Such early warning systems have been installed in Japan, Mexico and Taiwan, where the population density and high earthquake risk pose a huge threat to people’s lives.

But because of the nature of all of these precursor reactions, the systems may only be able to provide up to 30 seconds’ advance warning.

“In the history of earthquake study, only one prediction has been successful”, explains Dr Walker.

The magnitude 7.3 earthquake in 1975 in Haicheng, North China was predicted one day before it struck, allowing authorities to order evacuation of the city, saving many lives.

But the pattern of seismic activity that this prediction was based on has not resulted in a large earthquake since, and just a year later in 1976 a completely unanticipated magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck nearby Tangshan causing the death of over a quarter of a million people.

The “prediction” of the Haicheng quake was therefore just a lucky unrepeatable coincidence.

A major problem in the prediction of earthquake events that will require evacuation is the threat of issuing false alarms.

Scientists could warn of a large earthquake every time a potential precursor event is observed, however this would result in huge numbers of false alarms which put a strain on public resources and might ultimately reduce the public’s trust in scientists.

“Earthquakes are complex natural processes with thousands of interacting factors, which makes accurate prediction of them virtually impossible,” said Dr Walker.

Seismologists agree that the best way to limit the damage and loss of life resulting from a large earthquake is to predict and manage the longer-term risks in an earthquake-prone area. These include the likelihood of building collapsing and implementing emergency plans.

“Detailed scientific research has told us that each earthquake displays almost unique characteristics, preceded by foreshocks or small tremors, whereas others occur without warning. There simply are no rules to utilise in order to predict earthquakes,” said Dr Dan Faulkner, senior lecturer in rock mechanics at the University of Liverpool.

“Earthquake prediction will only become possible with a detailed knowledge of the earthquake process. Even then, it may still be impossible.”

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Northeast India Hit By 6.9 Earthquake

India Earthquake: Northeast Region Hit By 6.9 Earthquake.

GAUHATI, India — A strong earthquake shook northeastern India and Nepal, killing at least 16 people, damaging buildings and sending lawmakers in Nepal’s capital running into the streets.

The quake, with a preliminary magnitude of 6.9, struck at 6:10 p.m. Sunday local time. The epicenter was in India’s Sikkam state near the border with Nepal, and shaking was felt across northern and eastern India, including in the capital of New Delhi. It triggered at least two aftershocks of magnitude 6.1 and 5.3, Indian seismology official R.S. Dattatreyan said. He warned more aftershocks were possible.

At least five people in India’s Sikkim state were killed and more than 50 were injured, according to the state’s top official, Chief Secretary Karma Gyatso. The north Indian state of West Bengal reported four deaths, and Bihar state reported two. Nepal’s government said five people died and dozens were hurt there, including two men and a child who were killed when a brick wall toppled outside the British Embassy in Nepal’s capital, Katmandu.

The full extent of damage was not immediately known because the region is sparsely populated with many people living in remote areas now cut off by mudslides triggered by the quake, state police Chief Jasbir Singh told The Associated Press.

TV stations reported buildings buckled, sidewalks cracked and two major roads collapsed in Sikkim’s state capital of Gangtok, 42 miles (68 kilometers) southeast of the quake’s epicenter near the border with Nepal. The Indo-Tibetan Border Police said two of its buildings had collapsed in Gangtok.

Small army columns fanned out across the city of some 50,000 overnight to search for anyone pinned under fallen debris.

“We have sounded a high alert. Police are on the streets in Gangtok and other major towns,” he said.

Electricity and some phone service was interrupted in the area.

Power lines snapped in the West Bengal cities of Darjeeling and Kalimpong, which “are now in total darkness,” state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, according to Press Trust of India.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh offered to send troops to help, and summoned the National Disaster Management Authority for an emergency meeting. The air force sent five planes to help with rescue efforts.

The region has been hit by major earthquakes in the past, including in 1950 and 1897.

In neighboring Nepal and Bangladesh, the quake Sunday night sent residents rushing out of their homes, offices and shopping centers.

In Katmandu, members of parliament who were debating the national budget ran out of the assembly hall into a parking area. They returned 15 minutes later and resumed their session.

The quake was also felt as far as the Indian capital, with New Delhi residents also rushing out of shaking buildings, and in the Chinese-ruled Himalayan region of Tibet. According to China’s official Xinhua News Agency, the quake caused three houses in Tibet to collapse, injured one person and suspended a border county’s telecommunications services.

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Associated Press writers Binaj Gurubacharya in Katmandu, Nepal; Julhas Alam in Dhaka, Bangladesh; and Gillian Wong in Beijing contributed to this report.

 

http://www.ouramazingplanet.com/india-earthquake-explained-2022/

india earthquake epicenter

The epicenter of yesterday’s earthquake. Credit: USGS.

India’s earthquake yesterday (Sept. 18) was likely the result of two seismic events striking at nearly the same time, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The magnitude 6.9 quake killed at least 55 people in northeastern India, Nepal and Tibet, reported the Associated Press. The quake rumbled the mountainous region of the Indian town of Mangan, in the northeast Indian province of Sikkim, and near the Nepalese border.The epicenter was 42 miles (68 kilometers) northwest of Gangtok, India. Tremors from India’s big earthquake were felt as far away as Bangladesh and New Delhi.

The quake came at the end of the monsoon season, and rain-soaked hills spawned landslides that caused much of the devastation, according to the American Geophysical Union’s Landslide Blog. Heavy rainfall and more aftershocks in the coming days could complicate recovery efforts.

A flurry of big earthquakes have hit in recent weeks around the seismically and volcanically active Pacific Ring of Fire, but they were not triggered by each other.

The Sikkim earthquake, as it’s called, was also unrelated to these other temblors, but was seismically complex in its own right. The quake was likely a result of two seismic events occurring close together in time at depths of approximately 12.4 miles (20 km) beneath the Earth’s surface, the USGS told OurAmazingPlanet.

The quake struck near the boundary between the India and Eurasia tectonic plates, which are huge slabs of the Earth’s crust that mash and grind together and trigger earthquakes. Here, the India plate converges with Eurasia at a rate of approximately 46 millimeters per year toward the north-northeast. Over millions of years, this convergence created the uplift of the Himalayas, the world’s highest mountain range.

The initial analysis of the earthquake suggests the quake wasn’t caused by one plate thrusting beneath another, but by so-called strike-slip faulting, a mechanism where fault systems slide side-to-side when two tectonic plates butt heads.Geologists suspect the fault is likely an intraplate fault within the upper Eurasian plate or the underlying India plate, rather than occurring at the interface between the two plates, according to the USGS.

Geophysicists’ best guess is that the quake was actually two strike slip events, one immediately after the other, so that it registered as one quake. But scientists may not ever know for sure since closely spaced events are tough to tease apart, said Paul Caruso of the USGS.

This mountainous region has seen moderately sized quakes in the past, with 18 earthquakes of magnitude 5 or greater over the past 35 years within 61 miles (100 km) of the epicenter of the Sept. 18 quake. The largest of these was a magnitude 6.1 earthquake in November 1980, 47 miles (75 km) to the southeast of the epicenter.