February 28, 2011

Welcome to the Trembling Earth

Posted by Austin Elliott

With the advent of YouTube, social networking, and the 24-hour news cycle, awareness of devastating earthquakes and their effects on the planet and on society has skyrocketed. When a quake strikes, news roars out through Facebook and Twitter, news agencies struggle to maintain their composure as they seek slowly forthcoming details, scientists fight to balance thorough, responsible data collection with rapid dissemination of crucial information, and amateur videographers everywhere upload first-hand documentation of nearly unfathomable natural phenomena unfolding. This bewildering barrage of information can overwhelm and mislead, and may obscure some of the finer details many find relevant or interesting.

I spend much of my time parsing this information and taking advantage of social media to learn from these events. Multitudinous accounts of contemporary earthquakes spread through social media and afford an unprecedented glimpse of the intersection between tremendous natural forces and the daily human experience we share.

Through posts on this blog I hope to share with you these fascinating glimpses of rare and unimaginable phenomena, as well as to educate and inform you of the profound physical proceses driving the occurrence of one of the planet’s most fundamental forces. As earthquakes continue to happen around an increasingly urban globe, as they have for billions of years, I will try to supply you with important information we can learn from each one as our understanding of them deepens.

Flurries of posts will accompany major, socially-relevant quakes (I’ve got some catching up to do with New Zealand’s… as well as the 1-year anniversary of Chile’s 8.8 and the 10-year anniversary of Seattle’s 6.8, not to mention the ongoing swarm in Arkansas), but since earthquakes know very little regularity or predictability, I predict that I’ll have plenty of down time to answer questions, flesh out some background info, or just publicly entertain my own seismic musings, in between important global quakes.

Welcome aboard!