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May 19, 2012

Trembling from above – first-hand tornado wrath

This past weekend The New Yorker‘s new “Weekend Reading” feature directed me to a fascinating disaster survival narrative that was so good I figure I can take a little departure from solid Earth phenomena to point you all to the enthralling account… and the first-hand videos that accompany it. The disaster in question was an EF-5 tornado that scored a direct hit on the modest southwest Missouri town of Joplin on …


May 3, 2012

Musings on seismology and earthquake hazard

Phew, I’ve been a neglectful blogger… probably to the benefit of my dissertation research. I’ve got a few interesting posts in the pipeline, so I think I’ll take what time I can to finish them, then set them up so they’re nice and distributed for you to read. In the meantime, you should all check out two cool blogs maintained by earthquake aficionado Arne Christensen, in which he compiles media …


April 11, 2012

The oddity of the Banda Aceh earthquake

I’ve got tons of stuff I should be doing, but I can’t resist the allure of discussion of the fascinating pair of earthquakes that happened last night in the Indian Ocean. I don’t have much of anything to add to the existing discussion, and I need to, like, get to work, so this is a “reblog” of the most thorough description I’ve seen of the setting of these quakes, by …


Earthquake photo mash-ups

San Francisco-based photographer Shawn Clover came up with a creative project: not only did he re-create classic photos of the 1906 earthquake’s destruction from the same vantage points as the original shots, but he’s blended the old and new together in surreal, oddly amusing, and moderately alarming photo stitches. From the photographer’s website: Where was the exact spot the photographer stood? What was the equivalent focal length of his camera’s …


December 4, 2011

AGU – largest Earth Science conference in the world

The AGU Fall Meeting is finally suddenly here! The American Geophysical Union annual meeting is the most widely attended Earth Science conference in the world, and many of us will be showing up there this week to share our work, talk to colleagues, and catch up with old friends from all stages of our geophysical careers. I’ll be truckin’ down the road from Davis to the convention center in San Francisco …


October 13, 2011

I’m back! What I missed and what’s to come

Howdy Loyal Readers, After three months of field work, weddings, and conferences, I finally have a settled, relatively stationary schedule ahead of me, during which time I can get back into the routine of posting the interesting things I find and various seismological musings. I have bunches to talk about, so you can expect plenty o’ earthquake discussion in the future, which, as I will discuss and try to convince …


March 21, 2011

Unwarranted alarmism, and a hiatus for field work

There have been plenty of doomsday claims circulating the internet in the wake of the massive 9.0 “Tohoku” earthquake–lots about supermoons, some about dead fish, some merely about some alleged “pattern” of recent quakes circling the Pacific, a pattern generally conveniently selected to only include earthquakes that have hit the news. I won’t bother to give any of these claims too much credence by linking to them here, but they’re …


March 8, 2011

Small quakes herald fissure eruptions in Hawaii

Hawaii is trembling this week as the ongoing eruption at Kilauea undergoes some significant changes. A large number of small quakes along a major fracture zone leading from Kilauea’s main crater suggests the migration of magma through the subterranean plumbing system. The volcano guys are doing a great job covering this, collecting footage and info, so I’ll direct you to them for the details. I highly encourage you to peruse …


March 4, 2011

Liquefaction in New Zealand

One of the ubiquitous features of the nice flat sedimentary plains where people tend to prefer building cities, suburbs, or at least vast agricultural tracts, is that they generally liquefy when subjected to strong shaking. The results include serious instability of the “solid” ground, flooding, and ejection of silty water in places it would certainly be best not to have water being ejected. Here’s an example from Christchurch Here’s a …


February 28, 2011

Welcome to the Trembling Earth

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 …