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You are browsing the archive for Geohazards Archives - AGU Blogosphere.

19 March 2020

Darkness, not cold, likely responsible for dinosaur-killing extinction

New research finds soot from global fires ignited by an asteroid impact could have blocked sunlight long enough to drive the mass extinction that killed most life on Earth, including the dinosaurs, 66 million years ago.

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11 February 2020

Climate change could trigger more landslides in High Mountain Asia

More frequent and intense rainfall events due to climate change could cause more landslides in the High Mountain Asia region of China, Tibet and Nepal, according to the first quantitative study of the link between precipitation and landslides in the region.

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30 December 2019

Wildfire modeling helps predict fires in Colombia

A new wildfire model helps predict where and when wildfires will start in the Aburrá Valley of Colombia. This research, presented earlier this month at the 2019 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco, is helping local cities avoid the devastating environmental and health impacts of fires.

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19 December 2019

Survey reveals low awareness of volcanic hazards in Australia

On December 9, several Australians were among the dozens of tourists who were killed, injured, or went missing after a deadly eruption on Whakaari/White Island in New Zealand. Whakaari/White Island has seen more volcanic activity in the past 10 years than neighboring Australia has seen for 5,000, but according to volcanologists, the country is not free from the risks of a potential eruption. And according to a new survey, Australian citizens are mostly unaware of their country’s potential volcanic hazards.

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21 November 2019

Geoscientists develop technology to improve forecasting of earthquakes, tsunamis

University of South Florida geoscientists have successfully developed and tested a new high-tech shallow water buoy that can detect the small movements and changes in the Earth’s seafloor that are often a precursor to deadly natural hazards, like earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis.

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22 April 2019

New research explains why Hurricane Harvey intensified immediately before landfall

A new study explains the mechanism behind Hurricane Harvey’s unusual intensification off the Texas coast and how the finding could improve future hurricane forecasting.

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2 January 2019

Dangerous sneaker waves puzzle scientists

On January 16, 2016, a sudden swath of large and powerful waves swept through seaside communities along 450 kilometers (280 miles) of Pacific Northwest coastline. From Washington to northern California, water rushed past normal tide lines and filled beaches and streets, stretching hundreds of meters inland. These “sneaker waves” are aptly named given their unannounced arrival, which occurs when massive waves push extra water onshore—a higher-than-usual water level that scientists refer to as runup. At best, these events take beachgoers by surprise. At worst, they are disastrous and fatal.

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21 December 2018

Landslide probability may depend more on riverside steepness than on hillsides above

On April 25, 2015, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake stuck the Gorkha region of Nepal near the capital city of Kathmandu. Approximately 9,000 people died and more than 22,000 suffered injuries. The quake also triggered more than 20,000 landslides in the surrounding area. A team of scientists at the University of Southern California is studying how the topography of the Melamchi Valley in Gorkha affected the incidence of landslides after the 2015 earthquake.

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12 June 2018

South Napa Earthquake linked to summer groundwater dip

A summertime expansion in the Earth’s crust caused by changes in groundwater may have triggered the magnitude-6.0 earthquake in California’s wine country in 2014, according to a new study.

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30 May 2018

Seismometer readings could offer debris flow early warning

Instruments designed to record earthquakes revealed information about debris-flow speed, the width of the flow and the size of boulders carried by the January 2017 mudslide in Montecito, California, and the location of the event, suggesting that the current generation of seismometers in the field could be used to provide an early warning of an incoming debris flow to residents in mudslide-prone areas.

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7 May 2018

Powerful hurricanes strengthen faster now than 30 years ago

Hurricanes that intensify rapidly – a characteristic of almost all powerful hurricanes – do so more strongly and quickly now than they did 30 years ago, according to a new study. Many factors are at play, but the chief driver of more rapid hurricane intensification is a natural climate cycle known as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) that affects water temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean where hurricanes form, according to the study’s authors.

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4 April 2018

Infrasound recordings give scientists a peek inside volcano’s plume

High-resolution recordings of the powerful infrasound waves generated by an eruption at Ecuador’s Tungurahua volcano have given scientists a rare view inside the activity at the volcano’s mouth. The acoustic waves generated by the July 2013 eruption were one of the most powerful volcanic infrasound recordings ever captured. The low-frequency infrasound waves from the eruption are too low for human ears to hear but were as powerful as waves one meter (three feet) away from a jet engine.

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12 March 2018

Mexico’s 2017 earthquake emerged from a growing risk zone

Under Mexico, where the Cocos Plate from the Pacific Ocean slides under the North American Plate, a bending line of hills, created when the seafloor first formed, sits atop a flattened area of subduction. That newly recognized combination has created a fault that likely explains last September’s Puebla earthquake, scientists report in a new study.

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8 February 2018

New Hayward Fault earthquake simulations increase fidelity of ground motions

Scientists have used some of the world’s most powerful supercomputers to model ground shaking for a magnitude (M) 7.0 earthquake on the Hayward Fault and show more realistic motions than ever before.

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14 December 2017

The continental U.S. is experiencing more flooding, and earlier in the year

The frequency of flooding in the continental U.S. is increasing, and seasonality of floods is shifting, according to new research.

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22 November 2017

Scientists counter threat of flooding on coral reef coasts

Scientists have developed a computer simulation tool to predict short-term flood hazards on coral-reef-lined coasts and to assess longer-term impacts from climate change. The assessments will give input to estimate societal or economic risk and damage from such flooding.

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24 October 2017

Scientists use seismic waves to measure tornado intensity

Seismic waves generated by tornadoes when they touch down could be used to measure a twister’s intensity, according to a new study that examined the May 2011 Joplin tornado. The findings could open the door to devising more accurate methods to study tornadoes from the ground.

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7 September 2017

Increases in wildfire-caused erosion could impact water supply and quality in the West

A growing number of wildfire-burned areas throughout the western United States are expected to increase soil erosion rates within watersheds, causing more sediment to be present in downstream rivers and reservoirs, according to a new study.

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30 August 2017

Computer earthquake prediction in lab shows promise

By listening to the acoustic signal emitted by a laboratory-created earthquake, a computer science approach using machine learning can predict the time remaining before the fault fails. Not only does the work have potential significance to earthquake forecasting, but the approach is far-reaching, applicable to potentially all failure scenarios, including avalanches and other events.

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14 August 2017

New study details ocean’s role in fourth-largest mass extinction

Extremely low oxygen levels in Earth’s oceans could be responsible for extending the effects of a mass extinction that wiped out millions of species on Earth around 200 million years ago, according to a new study.

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