Tag Archives | Earthquakes

Earthquake Will Destroy Pacific Northwest Coast

JuandeFucasubduction.jpg“An earthquake will destroy a sizable portion of the coastal Northwest. The question is when,” says Kathryn Schulz at the New Yorker:

…Most people in the United States know just one fault line by name: the San Andreas, which runs nearly the length of California and is perpetually rumored to be on the verge of unleashing “the big one.” That rumor is misleading, no matter what the San Andreas ever does. Every fault line has an upper limit to its potency, determined by its length and width, and by how far it can slip. For the San Andreas, one of the most extensively studied and best understood fault lines in the world, that upper limit is roughly an 8.2—a powerful earthquake, but, because the Richter scale is logarithmic, only six per cent as strong as the 2011 event in Japan.

Just north of the San Andreas, however, lies another fault line.

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U.S. Government Says 148 Million Americans At Risk From Earthquakes

If we keep fracking 148 million will seem like a modest number from ancient history! Reuters carries the story of the many, many Americans officially at risk from earthquakes:

More than 143 million people in 48 neighboring states across the United States are at risk from earthquakes, experts said on Wednesday.

As many as 28 million people are likely to experience strong tremors in their lifetime and the value of building losses from earthquakes is estimated at $4.5 billion per year in the long term, the U.S. Geological Service (USGS), California Geological Survey and the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said in a joint report.

USGS Simplified 2014 Hazard Map (PGA, 2% in 50 years)

USGS Simplified 2014 Hazard Map (PGA, 2% in 50 years)

 

“This analysis of data from the new National Seismic Hazard Maps reveals that significantly more Americans are exposed to earthquake shaking,” said Bill Leith, the report’s co-author and a senior science advisor at USGS.

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Fracking Linked To Increase In Oklahoma Earthquakes

page1-311px-United_States_Shale_gas_plays,_May_2011To no one’s great surprise, scientists have linked the elevated seismic activity in Oklahoma to increased oil and gas exploration, especially hydraulic fracturing (a/k/a tracking). From the Independent:

Between 1975 and 2008, Oklahoma recorded an average of no more than six earthquakes per year, yet now it is the second most seismically active of the contiguous United States, beaten only by California. Scientists have linked this surge in seismic activity to a parallel increase in oil and gas exploration, including fracking.

In 2009, there were almost 50 quakes in Oklahoma. The following year, that number leapt to more than 1,000. Most were not “felt” earthquakes – those of magnitude 2.5 and above, which can be detected by humans. However, the state’s annual record of 222 felt quakes, set in 2013, has already been broken this year, with 253 so far. Seismologist Austin Holland of the Oklahoma Geological Survey told Reuters: “We have had almost as many magnitude 3 and greater already in 2014 than we did for all of 2013… We have already crushed last year’s record for number of earthquakes.”

Earthquakes rarely cause damage unless they are of magnitude 4 or higher.

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Yet Another Study Confirms Fracking Wastewater Wells Cause Earthquakes

originalTrisha Marczak writes at the MintPress News:

For the residents of Youngstown, Ohio, the recent onslaught of earthquakes came as a surprise.

Before the fracking wastewater industry came to Ohio, Youngstown residents didn’t know what an earthquake felt like — their community of 66,000 had never experienced anything like it. Yet by 2011, a year after the industry sprouted up in their backyards, scientists had recorded 109 earthquakes.

Coincidence? Scientists behind the report published in a summer issue of Geophysical Research Letters don’t think so. The report blames the fracking industry for the skyrocket in earthquakes, confirming what other geologists and scientists have said for years.

Ohio shares the natural gas-filled Marcellus shale formation, which also stretches through Pennsylvania, West Virginia and southern portions of New York. While fracking does occur in Ohio, its main role in the fracking industry relates to wastewater storage.

To frack a well, a combination of water, chemicals and silica sand is blasted down beneath the surface, where it breaks up formation where oil or gas is hidden.

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Confirmed: Fracking Helps Trigger Quakes and Seismic Chaos

Kate Sheppard, Jaeah Lee, and Brett Brownell write in Mother Jones:

Pic: Cybergedeon

Pic: Cybergedeonnes:

Major earthquakes thousands of miles away can trigger reflex quakes in areas where fluids have been injected into the ground from fracking and other industrial operations, according to a study published in the journal Science on Thursday.

Previous studies, covered in a recent Mother Jones feature from Michael Behar, have shown that injecting fluids into the ground can increase the seismicity of a region. This latest study shows that earthquakes can tip off smaller quakes in far-away areas where fluid has been pumped underground.

The scientists looked at three big quakes: the Tohuku-oki earthquake in Japan in 2011 (magnitude 9), the Maule in Chile in 201 (an 8.8 magnitude), and the Sumatra in Indonesia in 2012 (an 8.6). They found that, as much as 20 months later, those major quakes triggered smaller ones in places in the Midwestern US where fluids have been pumped underground for energy extraction.

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7.7 Earthquake Hits Where The World’s Largest Geoengineering Experiment Took Place

Source: USGS

Terry Wilson of the Canadian Awareness Network links the rogue geoengineering project by Russ George to a massive earthquake off the coast of British Columbia:

A 7.7 Earthquake hit the coast of British Columbia on Saturday night, and there has since been as many as 40 aftershocks today. Including one that measured 6.4 in magnitude. The quake sent many residents on the coast, fleeing for higher ground due to tsunami warnings. That where issued as far away as Hawaii.

The Earthquake originated on the island of Haida Gwaii, other wise know as the Queen Charlotte Islands region. The islands are located along the Queen Charlotte Fault, which is an active transform fault that produces significant earthquakes every 3–30 years. (the last major one happening in 1949, that measure 8.1 in magnitude)

As soon as I caught the news of this quake today, the first thing that came to mind was.

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What Could Possibly Go Wrong? Deep-Drilling an Italian Supervolcano

Campi Flegrei

Photo: Donar Reiskoffer (CC)

Edwin Cartlidge writes on Science:

A project to drill deep into the heart of a “supervolcano” in southern Italy has finally received the green light, despite claims that the drilling would put the population of Naples at risk of small earthquakes or an explosion. Italian news agency ANSA quoted project coordinator Giuseppe De Natale of Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology as saying that the office of Naples mayor Luigi de Magistris has approved the drilling of a pilot hole 500 meters deep.

The Campi Flegrei Deep Drilling Project was set up by an international collaboration of scientists to assess the risks posed by the Campi Flegrei caldera, a geological formation just a few kilometers to the west of Naples that formed over thousands of years following the collapse of several volcanoes. Researchers believe that if it erupted, Campi Flegrei could have global repercussions, potentially killing millions of people and having a major effect on the climate, but that such massive eruptions are extremely rare…

Read More on Science

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Massive Earthquake; Indian Ocean Tsunami Alert

Sumatra VolcanoesBreaking news via CNN:

Jakarta, Indonesia (CNN) — A massive earthquake struck off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra on Wednesday afternoon, triggering a tsunami alert for the Indian Ocean.

The quake struck about 434 kilometers (270 miles) southwest of Banda Aceh, the capital of Indonesia’s Aceh province, and had a magnitude of 8.6, the U.S. Geological Survey said. It took place at a depth of 23 kilometers (14 miles).

A second quake, magnitude 8.2, occurred off the west coast of Sumatra about two hours later, the USGS said.

Gary Gibson from the Seismology Research Center in Melbourne, Australia, said the location of the second quake reduces the possibility of a tsunami.

There were no immediate reports of destruction or deaths Wednesday.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said on local television that there were no reports of casualties or damage in Aceh.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami watch for the entire Indian Ocean, and the Indonesian Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency said it had put up a tsunami warning as well.

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Middle America Is Experiencing a Massive Increase in Earthquakes

Middle America Earthquake ZoneAlexis Madrigal writes on the Atlantic:

Earthquakes are striking the heartland from Alabama to Montana at an unprecedented rate — and human activity is probably to blame.

A new United States Geological Survey study has found that middle America between Alabama and Montana is experiencing an “unprecedented” and “almost certainly manmade” increase in earthquakes of 3.0 magnitude or greater. In 2011, there were 134 events of that size. That’s six times more than were normally seen during the 20th century.

While the changes in the area’s seismicity began in 2001, the trend has really accelerated since 2009, the geologists note. That happens to coincide with increased oil and gas production using new extraction techniques in some parts of the area.

The new work is being presented at the Seismology Society of America’s conference later this month. An abstract for the presentation is available online. In some regions, the increase in earthquakes is even greater than six fold.

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Was Mexican Earthquake Pre-Planned?

Accusations of a man-made earthquake in Mexico are flying around the Internet as a result of a planned emergency management exercise coinciding with an actual 7.4 Richter scale earthquake. From the Dutchsinse blog:
This is profound and disturbing. There was a “drill” planned for March 20, 2012 in Mexico for a 7.9M earthquake “simulation”…. also on a separate note.. Barack Obamas daughter was at the epicenter on spring break: WTH is going on?!
Might there be anything more than coincidence here? Dutchsinse explains his thoughts further on his blog. (Thanks to Andrew H. for the tip.)
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