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You are browsing the archive for Earthquake News Archives - AGU Blogosphere.

19 February 2018

78 seconds of Earthquake Early Warning

Late on Friday afternoon, February 16, during the Chinese New Year street fair in la Ciudad de México, the tight hold between the North America and Cocos plates failed, the fault slipped, and the Pacific coast of Oaxaca lurched around a meter out toward the ocean. Within six seconds, the profound ripple this let loose through the crust heaved the Huazolotitlán seismic recording station westward as well, followed shortly by …

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20 September 2017

Get Prepared Now

The scenes of violent shaking in dense urban Mexico City from the new Sept 19 earthquake are genuinely horrifying. Buildings twist, collide, crumble, buckle, and collapse before your eyes like some scene out of a movie; trees thrash wildly as boatmen on the Xochimilco Canals struggle for balance on a river being thrown violently from its banks; inside, furniture flies across rooms and ceilings cave in while desperate residents and officeworkers …

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25 April 2017

Strong earthquake widely filmed in Chile

A swarm of magnitude ~5-6 earthquakes offshore Chile on April 23 was punctuated two days later by a much larger M6.9 earthquake yesterday evening. While nobody could have specifically predicted the size and timing of this earthquake, it is a terribly unsurprising event, occurring as it did in the midst of this swarm of heightened seismic activity, and in the highly seismically hazardous region of coastal Chile. As has been pointed out …

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22 November 2016

Here’s what earthquake early warning looks like

When a large earthquake struck the coast of Japan near Fukushima Tuesday morning, people all across the country were alerted nearly immediately–most in advance of significant shaking at their location–by the nation’s sophisticated early warning system. Early warning doesn’t predict the onset of an earthquake, but it does predict the shaking level and time of arrival at locations all around the epicenter once one has begun but before its seismic …

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18 November 2016

Complex, compound New Zealand earthquake – Part 2: Faulting by Day

Reeling from the massive M7.8 earthquake at midnight, its relentless aftershocks, and the continuing coastal threat of tsunami, New Zealanders awaited daylight on Monday to see the full extent of the destruction. The bizarre seismic records observed overnight had raised confusion and speculation about what faults were to blame for this earthquake. With an epicenter on land but also a several meter tsunami, it was clear that some complicated combination of on- …

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16 November 2016

Complex, compound New Zealand earthquake – Part 1: Seismology by Night

Just after midnight last Sunday, the whole country of New Zealand was rocked by a massive earthquake at the north end of the South Island. From the outset, this earthquake was more confounding than most, and as more reports and data amass, we’re gaining a picture of a complicated earthquake that stemmed from the failure of several large faults in succession. These successive failures may have resulted from structural linkages …

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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 …

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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 …

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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. …

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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 …

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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 …

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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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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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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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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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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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11 January 2014

New map of Hollywood fault released

Amid an atmosphere of contention and high stakes, the California Geological Survey this week released a preliminary official map of the Hollywood Fault, one of the most threatening urban earthquake faults in the U.S. The map ( available in PDF format here ) delineates the best estimate surface trace of the Hollywood fault, which forms the southern boundary of the Santa Monica Mountains in urban Los Angeles. It also defines a “special …

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19 November 2013

The dilemma of earthquake retrofitting

The Los Angeles Times in October went on a bit of a crusade against lagging earthquake preparations in their quake-threatened home town. They have published a series of exposés investigating the lack of public awareness and the governmental inaction regarding building safety in the aging metropolis of L.A. “Concrete Risks” is indeed an illuminating piece, publicizing the fairly alarming prevalence of dangerous, quake-prone construction throughout a city that’s doomed to …

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17 October 2013

Are you ready for an earthquake? Make sure today.

What if an earthquake hit right now, the moment you read this? A big one. You get a few seconds of puzzling low rumbling to figure out what’s going on, and then the room you’re in lurches to the side and back. The floor bounces, the walls creak and crackle, books and papers topple and slide, and heavy things all around you start to wobble and flop over. You had no …

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