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18 December 2014

Heaven Above and Earth Below: Scientists Track Atmospheric Disturbances to Gather Earthquake Data

Earthquakes generate seismic waves that propagate through earth, water, and air. Generations of geologists have used ground-based seismometers to decipher information about earthquakes, including magnitude, epicenter, depth and tsunami danger. But more recently some researchers have wondered if seismic waves traveling through the air also carry traceable information about the earthquake that generated them. If so, measuring seismic waves in the atmosphere could potentially speed up earthquake reporting systems and improve the accuracy of tsunami alerts.

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17 December 2014

Landslides from the 2010 Mw=7.2 earthquake in the Sierra Cucapah, Mexico

In our latest paper, just published, we have mapped and analysed landslides triggered by the 2010 earthquake in the Sierra Cucapah range in Mexico

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11 November 2014

Review of a paper: The Donghekou landslide in China

A recent paper in Engineering Geology discusses the mechanisms of the Donghekou landslide in China, which killed over 700 people. A strange aspect of the landslide was the formation of fumeroles on the landslide deposit; these are believed to have been the result of oxidation of shales exposed by the landslide

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6 November 2014

Review of a paper: the role of earthquakes and climate change in generating landslides in Peru

A new paper suggests that in Peru periods of high landslide activity may be associated with earthquakes rather than El Nino induced periods of high precipitation.

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24 October 2014

California quake aftermath seen from above

As Northern Californians picked up the pieces and cooled their nerves on the afternoon of August 24th, just hours after being jostled or lurched from bed by the 3:20am magnitude 6.0 South Napa quake, a satellite an aircraft whizzing by overhead snapped a shot of the scene. Check out some of these remarkable scenes within it that show damage, response, and recovery. The image is now visible in Google Earth, and in Google Maps on …

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9 October 2014

China: a new rockfall video from Guiyang, Guizhou and images of landslides from the Yunnan earthquake in August

A new rockfall video has appeared on youtube showing a collapse in Guiyang, China. In addition, some new images are now available of landslides from the Yunnan earthquake

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3 October 2014

Prehistoric rockfalls in Christchurch, New Zealand

A new paper to be published in Geology reports on the use of dating techniques to evaluate the return periods of prehistoric earthquake triggered rockfalls near Christchurch in New Zealand

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11 September 2014

Lurching ground and bouncing bridges in the Napa earthquake

My rides along Amtrak California’s Capitol Corridor now include an eerie stretch where they pass the site at which the highest ground motions in the Napa earthquake were recorded mere weeks ago. Just at the south abutments of the I-80 bridges over the Carquinez Strait, where the Union Pacific tracks pass through the C&H refinery, a shallow borehole seismometer recorded an acceleration of 0.99g, nearly the full force of gravity lurching soil and …

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30 August 2014

Earthquake rupture through a U.S. suburb

In the quiet wee hours of a NorCal summer night, the ground lurched beneath the mud of the northern San Francisco Bay and sent seismic waves roaring upward and outward into the world-famous wine valley’s central city, Napa, CA. After they wreaked their havoc in Napa and nearby communities the seismic waves spread farther afield and gently rumbled most of the Bay Area and its exurbs from our weekend slumber. By the time …

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6 August 2014

Yunnan earthquake: images of the valley blocking landslides

The government mapping agency in China has released satellite images of landslides triggered by the Yunnan earthquake earlier this week

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5 August 2014

Valley-blocking landslides: latest from Sunkoshi and Yunnan, and a brief update on the Malin landslide in India

Unusually there are two valley-blocking landslides causing concerns at present, in Nepal & China, whilst recovery operations at Malin in India continue

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16 June 2014

Watch buildings move during earthquakes

Through literal eons of Earth’s history, earthquakes have heaved the ground, shuddered the trees, and sent fauna scurrying. Yet aside from the occasional tsunami and the localized sloughing of rock faces and hillsides, they’d never really been directly injurious to the animal kingdom. …Until the animals started “sheltering” themselves under ponderous weights of precarious things. As the adage goes, “earthquakes don’t kill people; buildings do.” That edifice that so importantly protects you …

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16 May 2014

An earthquake live at the symphony

Earthquakes have been orchestrated in some of the most important musical works of the past two centuries (take for example the close of the first part of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, or the 5th movement of Mahler’s 2nd Symphony); now in some musical works the orchestras have been quaked. On March 29, 2014, the L.A. Philharmonic was performing Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé at Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles, when a 5.1 earthquake jostled …

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18 April 2014

What would the 1906 earthquake look like today?

Today is the 108th anniversary of the devastating M7.8 San Francisco earthquake. As with any “quakiversary” it’s a ripe opportunity for reflection on how earthquake knowledge and engineering have progressed since we learned from that disaster, and to consider how we would fare if faced with the same catastrophe today. One powerful way to consider how modern-day San Francisco would fare in a repeat of the 1906 quake is by …

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2 April 2014

Monstrous earthquake in Chile… as it unfolds

The northern coast of Chile has been struck by a Great earthquake this evening, shaking the South America continent for hundreds of miles and thrusting a tsunami onshore and across the Pacific Ocean. Notably, this earthquake occurred in a well known seismic gap, the sole reach of South America’s Pacific coast subduction zone that did not rupture in the 20th (or 21st) century. In that sense, this was one of …

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28 March 2014

The second largest quake on the planet: photos, videos, and its informative legacy

As I am sure everyone has recognized by now, one of the biggest earthquakes recorded in our planet’s history–and the biggest in the United States–rocked Alaska for some three+ minutes 50 years ago today. The 1964 Good Friday earthquake, known also as the Great Alaska earthquake, measured magnitude 9.2. The earthquake shocked the fledgling state with catastrophic environmental effects, including most notably the lateral-spreading collapse of entire neighborhoods in the capital …

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12 March 2014

Tohoku tsunami maps: lessons for the Pacific Northwest

As we pass the three-year mark since one of the most astoundingly gargantuan earthquakes in human history, we marvel at the unprecedented opportunity it gave us to understand earthquakes, tsunamis, oceanic subduction, litho-hydro-atmospheric coupling, plate tectonics, and the Earth itself. We can also appreciate, with humble reverence, the lessons it continues to teach us about the social dimensions of disaster trauma, risk, and resilience. Japan continues to struggle, now largely …

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10 March 2014

UBC distinguished lecture powerpoint file: Earthquake-induced landslides – lessons from Taiwan, Pakistan, China and New Zealand

The powerpoint file from my UBC Geological Engineering Distinguished Lecture on Earthquake Induced Landslides

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18 February 2014

How hard has your zip code shaken?

Did you feel it? …Ever? These USGS maps show the highest shaking intensity reported in every zip code throughout the U.S. (and cities of the world) in the past two decades. 1991 – 2012  The USGS’s crowd-sourced Community Internet Intensity Maps, popularly known as “Did-You-Feel-It” maps, have been collecting online surveys of seismic shaking intensity since 1997. There’ve been plenty of quakes in that time, and in 2012 researchers put together …

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14 February 2014

Xinjiang earthquake: a good new image of the landslides

Another image has emerged of landslides triggered by the Xinjiang earthquake yesterday

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