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21 October 2022
How do you study something that’s constantly shifting? That’s the challenge that USGS geologist Richard Iverson faced when he began his career in landslide research. He and his team developed a first-of-its-kind experimental facility to study how landslides happen, in order to better understand and prepare for them.
3 June 2022
Join us for our next six-part miniseries on Extinctions as we learn about the demise of the dinosaurs, what makes a comet “extinct,” the Cambrian and Triassic periods, volcanoes, and the aforementioned (planned) fiery end of the International Space Station!
4 October 2021
An interesting paper has just been published in the journal Science, (Cook et al. 2021), which looks at the seismic signals generated by the Chamoli rockslide and debris flow. It concludes that the event was fully detectable by seismic instruments located at up to 100 km from the event.
16 April 2021
High on the broken pyramid of Iliamna Volcano, rotten rock held in place by volcano-warmed ice sometimes loses its grip. Several times over the years, rock-and-ice avalanches have blasted down Iliamna at 150 miles per hour. Left behind on the mountain’s face is a dirty, five-mile scar, in the same place as the last one.
24 July 2020
Late in the evening of July 21, 2020, State Seismologist Michael West heard a text alarm. His phone informed him of a large earthquake beneath the ocean, just south of the Alaska Peninsula, about 60 miles southeast of the village of Sand Point. His first thought was that this — the biggest earthquake on the planet so far in 2020 — would cause a devastating tsunami. His second thought was that a longstanding earthquake mystery may have just been solved.
17 June 2020
Seismic studies assess the stresses and health of iconic rock structures.
15 June 2020
Volcanic craters could be the largest musical instrument on Earth, producing unique sounds that tell scientists what is going on deep in a volcano’s belly.
18 May 2020
On May 18, 1980, Mt. St. Helens erupted in Washington state, capping off a series of volcanic events that began on March 27th of that year. The May 18th explosions is credited with causing 57 deaths, >$1 billion in property damage, and forever changed the surrounding landscape.
3 March 2020
Two researchers propose that rocks colliding inside a fault zone as an earthquake happens are the main generators of high-frequency vibrations. That’s a very different explanation than the traditional one, they say, and it could help explain puzzling seismic patterns made by some earthquakes. It could also help scientists predict which faults are likely to produce the more damaging quakes.
9 December 2019
What’s it like to be a seismologist who’s studied the Marcellus Shale and San Andreas Fault, worked around the world from Pennsylvania to Rome, and is now a professor at the University of Oklahoma? We found out at AAA’s annual meeting earlier this year when we talked to assistant professor Brett Carpenter.
25 September 2019
Seemingly low-hazard seismic regions in Mexico have experienced multiple, strong earthquakes since the 1500s, new research finds, suggesting the regions have many unmapped, active fault lines. The areas are inside the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, home to roughly 40 percent of Mexico’s population, who may be unaware of the land’s seismic history.
6 September 2019
Convection in Earth’s mantle is the “engine” driving plate tectonics. Hot material rises to the Earth’s surface from the boundary between the planet’s core and mantle, at a depth of about 3000 kilometers. Cold material then flows downward due to oceanic tectonic plates sinking into the mantle at subduction zones on the Earth’s surface.
23 May 2019
Aftershocks from large earthquakes can take their time coming — almost six decades in the case of Yellowstone’s deadly Hebgen Lake earthquake of 1959.
16 May 2019
The 2009, magnitude-8.1 Samoa earthquake dealt a great deal of damage to the Samoan Islands: Tsunami waves as high as 14 meters (46 feet) wiped out multiple villages, claiming nearly 200 lives and severely damaging water and electrical systems. New research reveals the damage is likely to continue in the island Tutuila, also known as American Samoa.
21 December 2018
Across Alaska and a sliver of western Canada, 280 seismic stations silently do their jobs. Hidden in dark holes drilled into rock in boreal forest, northern tundra and mountaintops, the instruments wait patiently for the next tremor.
22 October 2018
A Canadian fault scientists thought was inactive may actually be capable of producing large-magnitude earthquakes, a new study finds.
30 July 2018
A new study finds that sand dunes act like seismic echo chambers and suggests new ways to filter out the noise they create in seismic surveys.
30 May 2018
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.
6 December 2017
Researchers have successfully quantified Earth’s vibrational “hum” using seismic instruments on the bottom of the ocean. A new study determined at the ocean bottom the frequencies at which the Earth naturally vibrates, and confirmed the viability of using ocean instruments to study the phenomenon.
5 December 2017
Dark fiber: Using sensors beneath our feet to tell us about earthquakes, water and other geophysical phenomena
Scientists have shown for the first time that dark fiber – the vast network of unused fiber-optic cables installed throughout the country and the world – can be used as sensors for detecting earthquakes, the presence of groundwater, changes in permafrost conditions, and a variety of other subsurface activity.