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19 November 2015

Lefkada: dramatic landslides from the earthquake on 17th November

The M=6.5 earthquake off the coast of Lefkada in Greece on Tuesday induced dramatic landslides, caught on video, that have covered the famously beautiful Egremni Beach


4 November 2015

My latest paper: hillslope preconditioning

In a new paper, we examine the distribution of landslides from two earthquakes in New Zealand to see if hillslope preconditioning – the idea that the legacy of one trigger event can influence slope behaviour ins subsequent event – occurred. The results suggest that this might have been a factor in the area affected by both earthquakes,


2 November 2015

A roundup of new landslide videos

A round up of new landslide videos that have appeared on Youtube in the last fortnight, with examples from Switzerland, Mexico and Pakistan


28 October 2015

Landslides from the Afghanistan earthquake on Monday

Some interesting videos and images are now emerging of landslides and rockfalls triggered by the M=7.5 Afghanistan earthquake on Monday


26 October 2015

Indian slab lurches downward beneath Afghanistan

As I walked into the department this bright brisk morning, coffee cheerily in hand, the live global seismogram display in the atrium caught my eye with an alarming event that had just happened during my bike ride into work. BIG earthquake, somewhere in the vicinity of Central/Southern Asia. Indeed, an earthquake deep (>200 km) beneath the Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan had shaken a huge swath of Central and South …


5 October 2015

The seismically triggered landslide dam in Honshiyan, Yunnan, China: a review of a new paper

In a just published paper, Zhang et al. 2015 describe the emergency works undertaken to mitigate the seismically triggered landslide dam at Honshiyan, Yunnan in China in 2014.


30 September 2015

Rockfall and landslide damage in the Port Hills from the Christchurch earthquake sequence

Demolition has started of properties damaged by landslides in the Port Hills area of Christchurch during the 2010-2011 earthquakes. This post shows some of the photographs that I took shortly afterwards.


24 September 2015

Chile keeps having earthquakes

…and keeps surviving them barely scathed. Chile has this year been rocked by its 3rd Great earthquake this century–its 14th if you include the last. Though the earthquake’s magnitude and the resulting Pacific-wide tsunami earned it headlines, it was a very mild earthquake in the global scheme of seismic impacts. This has a bit to do with the nature of offshore, subduction zone earthquakes, and a LOT to do with …


17 August 2015

Wake-up call from the Hayward Fault

During a brief visit to California this week, I, along with a metroregionfull of people, was treated to a rattling little temblor from the Hayward Fault. The quick jolt struck conveniently just before everyone’s morning alarms went off, serving as a wakeup call for the day, and as this season’s broader “wakeup call” reminder that there are big active seams in the crust inching along around and below our cities. …


29 May 2015

Views of strong shaking in Nepal and what they teach us

When the ground shook throughout Nepal in April, it was neither predicted nor surprising–the paradox of inevitable but chaotic large earthquakes within well known seismic zones. Though warnings of Nepal’s catasrophic earthquake risk have been sounded for years, and though this magnitude 7.8 and its energetic 7.3 aftershock wrought plenty of death, destruction, and tragedy, scientists are finding themselves somewhat surprised at the apparently rather limited degree of overall damage …


6 May 2015

It’s 2015. We respond to earthquakes from space.

The seismic waves ringing out from Nepal on April 25 reached sensors around the planet, mobilizing a vast, remote response that’s truly a sign of the times in modern seismic disaster recovery. While Kathmandu and the surrounding towns and villages stood shocked and crippled by the now-named Gorkha earthquake, satellites sweeping by overhead quickly gathered a picture of the scene, transmitting intricate detail of the disaster to the world with …


25 April 2015

Where To Get Some Good Science on The Nepal Quake

I thought I would put together a few links to some good early science reporting on the Nepal Quake. First up is Dave Petley’s Landslide Blog here on the AGU Blogosphere. Dave has some good basic facts on the quake. The Washington Post has a good piece that quotes Geologist Roger Bilham who is an expert on quakes in this region, and he says that this was a severe quake …


17 April 2015

Tearing through California Part 1: the Central San Andreas

On display in central and northern California is the rare and troublesome phenomenon that’s the mischievous cousin to sudden, wrenching earthquakes: slow, steady fault creep. Rather than remaining pressed firmly together until they lurch past each other in violent earthquakes, the two sides of a creeping fault glide gradually along, generally silently carrying along everything above them. The good news is that this process takes up strain that would otherwise be …


11 March 2015

Hollywood and the USGS both have announcements about California quakes

The last day has been chock full of big public-facing announcements regarding earthquakes, so it’s a good time to step in and sort them out, as well as a good time for (real life) earthquake scientists to capitalize on the surge of awareness. The big real news comes from the USGS, which has finalized and released the most advanced seismic hazard model of California to date, the Uniform California Earthquake Rupture …


29 January 2015

A haunting 8-day-long orchestration of modern seismicity

We’re getting ever-richer ways to “view” the seismic restlessness of our planet, from this beautiful map of all the tremors we’ve recorded, and this sparkling NOAA animation of quakes in the past decade (or the last year), to the of tympanic drama of individual earthquake sequences. At the same time, artists find inspiration for performance in the fundamental natural rhythms of the planet, staging ballets and concerts backed with live seismic recordings, and composing music derived from seismograms …


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 …


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 …


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 …


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 …


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 …