June 23, 2013

John Muir’s 1872 earthquake and Sierran rockfalls

Rocks tumble from Cathedral Peak

When you gaze upon the breathtaking vistas in Yosemite National Park the mind reels trying to take in and process the breathtaking natural beauty in front of you. At the same time, it strains and cringes as hordes of tourists unloading by the bus-full elbow to carve out their own little section of the crowd in which to pose for a stranger-free shot of the stunning natural scenery. It’s the …

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June 11, 2013

Videos of Taiwan earthquake

On June 2, Taiwan was rocked by a pretty large earthquake. The magnitude 6.2 temblor resulted in 4 deaths, ~20 reported injuries, and a great deal of modest damage. EarthquakeVideoMex, a YouTube user/channel with consistently timely access to hard-to-find quake footage, has compiled the rather impressive videos captured during this quake. The Taiwanese appear to have the same affinity for dashboard cameras as the Russians, so a lot of these videos …

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June 5, 2013

China’s earthquake ruins: a memorial ghost town

The core of the earthquake memorial site in abandoned Beichuan town. Getty Images/The Atlantic

Last month China unveiled an earthquake memorial park to commemorate the lives lost and damage wrought by the M7.9 Wenchuan earthquake that occurred 5 years ago this May. The Atlantic has a set of great photos showing the haunting site.   In addition to a brand new museum and memorial wall naming the >80,000 who lost their lives, the memorial includes the entire destroyed city of Beichuan, its crumbled and …

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June 2, 2013

Danse de la Terre

Danse de la Terre

Last week marked 100 years since the debut of my favorite piece of music of all time: Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. The ballet debuted to a legendary amount of controversy, but its cacophonous, haunting beauty has been recreated and rechoreographed countless times in the past century, including for example this 1975 Pina Bausch version of the culminating “Sacrificial Dance,” which I’m pretty certain forms the main inspiration for the 1983 Thriller …

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May 29, 2013

Significant quake in the Northern Sierra

Significant quake in the Northern Sierra

Last Thursday my heart sank when, driving home along I-80, my phone exploded with texts and calls after an earthquake rolled through Davis. My friends had generally felt it, or at least had noticed and been confused by it, but alas, after five years of waiting around for one up here, I had been separated from it by four rubber dampers, metal shock absorbers, and 70 miles per hour. Even …

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May 10, 2013

Wasatch! Part 2 – Protecting the capital’s Capitol

Wasatch! Part 2 – Protecting the capital’s Capitol

After seeing the terrorizing evidence of the Wasatch Fault snaking its way through mountainfront Salt Lake City, our 2013 SSA field trip headed to the newly retrofit Utah State Capitol to see how the state is dealing with the looming threat of earthquakes. Reaveley Engineers’ Jerod Johnson, one of the head structural engineers on the retrofit project, led us on an in-depth tour of the facility, explaining all of the …

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May 8, 2013

Wasatch! Part 1 – Geological evidence of a fearsome fault

Looking south at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon, southeast of Salt Lake City. High-piled moraines are conspicuously offset by the Wasatch Fault, slicing straight up the middle of the scene, dropping the valley on the right relative to the mountains on the left.

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending a fieldtrip along the Wasatch Fault around and within Salt Lake City, Utah. Utah Geological Survey scientists Bill Lund and Chris DuRoss organized an impressively comprehensive tour as part of the 2013 annual meeting of the Seismological Society of America. We visited sites of interest for geology, seismology, engineering, and emergency management–a visit for each of the primary fields involved in understanding …

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May 2, 2013

Welcome to The Trembling Earth, now an AGU blog

Seismogram of the Hector Mine earthquake recorded in Palmdale, CA, October 16, 1999

Welcome to The Trembling Earth, a blog where you can find commentary, context, and consideration of developments in earthquake science. And to my existing readers, welcome to the new home! Here you’ll find periodic musings on seimological advances as well as media that unveil and illuminate the phenomenon of earthquakes. I’ve been studying earthquakes–in some form–since I felt my first one at age 13 and just needed to know how and why the Earth …

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April 20, 2013

Take your own Wasatch fieldtrip – from home!

Take your own Wasatch fieldtrip – from home!

Today as my final SSA conference event I’m attending a field trip to visit the Wasatch Fault and see Utah’s efforts at understanding and mitigating the risk from this fearsome structure. The trip is being handily led by Utah Geological Survey (UGS) scientists Chris DuRoss and Bill Lund, and involves the contributions of a lot of scientists and engineers. We’ll visit geologic trench sites, seismic stations, and retrofitted buildings all …

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April 17, 2013

The Great Utah ShakeOut – this morning 10:15am!

The Great Utah ShakeOut – this morning 10:15am!

Today at 10:15am Mountain Daylight Time (UTC -8) tens of thousands of Utahns will Drop, Cover, and Hold On in a massive earthquake drill set to alert the state to the dangers posed by its numerous fault lines. http://www.shakeout.org/utah/ The Utah ShakeOut is one of many large-scale earthquake scenario exercises (drills) that take place around the country and around the world. It is sponsored by a whole host of federal …

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