Jul 31, 2009 | 4
For the first time, researchers have been able to drill deep (more than 1,600 meters) into an ocean fault zone.
The expedition team, onboard the Japanese research ship Chikyu, is searching for answers in the depths of the Nankai Trough about why the previously active fault has locked up in the past several decades—and what type of activity might be likely in the near future.
The Nankai Trough, off the southeast coast of Japan, is strikingly similar to the Cascadia subduction zone near the West Coast of North America, making more local researchers keen on the forthcoming data. “It’s almost as if we are drilling our own subduction zone because we’ll see a lot of the same things,” Kelin Wang of the Geological Survey of Canada told Wired.
Apr 27, 2009 | 1
Mexico, which is already swept in panic over an outbreak of swine flu, the virus suspected of killing over 100 people and sickening more than 1,000 in the country, has now become the epicenter of another disaster: an earthquake.
At 12:46 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, a magnitude 5.6 tremor struck Mexico's southern state of Guerrero, a popular tourist region that includes the cities of Acapulco, Taxco and Chilpancingo. The temblor's epicenter was 155 miles (250 kilometers) south of Mexico City, according to Julie Dutton, a spokesperson for the U.S. Geological Survey. So far there are no reports of deaths from the quake, Alfredo González of Mexico City's Protección Civil told Reuters América Latina.
Mar 19, 2009 | 8
An undersea volcano in the South Pacific is spewing stunning columns of smoke, steam and ash thousands of feet into the air.
Mar 10, 2009 | 4
The generation-long debate surrounding the dumping of the nation’s radioactive nuclear waste under Nevada’s Yucca Mountain may finally be drawing to a close. As ScientificAmerican.com reported yesterday, the plan to turn the mountain – some 100 miles (160 kilometers) from Las Vegas – into a nuclear repository appears to be dead in the water: President Obama’s proposed 2010 budget removes major funding needed to complete the project – and it faces opposition from powerful Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, who doesn't want the country's spent nuclear fuel dumped in his state.
Feb 3, 2009 | 17
Was last year's devastating China earthquake, which killed 80,000 people and left more than 5 million homeless, really just a tragic natural event? Speculation is growing that the magnitude-7.9 quake may have actually been triggered by the tremendous water weight behind a nearby dam.
Scientists in China and the U.S. say that water behind the Zipingpu Dam, just 3.4 miles (5.5 kilometers) from the epicenter of the May 12 quake in Sichuan in southern China, may have weakened the fault that ruptured, the British Telegraph reports today.
It's "very likely" that the construction and filling of the reservoir in 2004 led to the quake, Fan Xiao, chief engineer of the Sichuan Geology and Mineral Bureau in Chengdu, told the newspaper.
Jan 30, 2009 | 6
The so-called ring of fire edging the Pacific is known to be highly active. So it's no surprise that said ring is jolting Seattle residents awake and putting denizens of Anchorage on notice of an imminent eruption from the redoubtable Mount Redoubt.
What felt like a "huge gust of wind," according to Luann Lee of Puyallup (via Twitter) struck Indianola, Wash., this morning, right in the heart of the Seattle-Tacoma urban agglomeration. The quake measured just 4.5 on the Richter Scale, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and no damage has been reported.
The residents of Anchorage may not be so lucky, as the USGS also issued a warning that Mount Redoubt, roughly 106 miles (160 kilometers) southwest of that city, is rumbling and "an eruption is possible within days to weeks."
Jan 8, 2009 | 11
Residents of San Jose, Costa Rica, took to the streets today just after lunch as an earthquake registering 6.1 on the Richter scale shook the capital city. Windows broke, walls cracked and landslides were triggered in the countryside, but so far no casualties have been reported.
The epicenter of the quake at 1:21 P.M. local time was just 20 miles (35 kilometers) northwest of the capital, the U.S. Geological Survey reports, and originated 8.6 miles (14 kilometers) beneath Earth's surface. Aftershocks have been reported throughout the afternoon.
Costa Rica is located in the middle of Central America and makes up part of the "Ring of Fire" circling the Pacific Ocean; it is home to several active volcanoes, including Poas, which erupted just last year and Arenal, which erupted in 2007. A similar strength quake in 1910 killed at least 700 people in the city of Cartago; more recently a temblor measuring 6.4 shook the capital in November 2004, killing eight.
Jan 3, 2009 | 1
The waters off of Indonesia were rocked by a 7.6-magnitude earthquake at 4:43 a.m. local time Sunday, the US Geological Survey reports. The quake's epicenter was about 150 km (95 miles) off the coast of Manokwari, in the West Papua province, and 170 km (105 miles) from the city of Sorong. It was followed by at least two aftershocks, one measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage, although the BBC quoted a police officer in Manokwari saying that power outages made assessing the area difficult.
The strength of the earthquake prompted authorities to issue a tsunami warning for the area, which was hit by an 8.2-magnitude earthquake on February 17, 1996. That quake, and an associated tsunami, killed more than 100 people, according to the USGS. The tsunami warning today was withdrawn within an hour.
Dec 30, 2008
Did a big wave hit the Big Apple way back when? Scientists say a tsunami struck the New York City area 2,300 years ago, possibly as a result of a meteorite crashing into the Atlantic Ocean.
“It would have been a bad day to end all bad days,” research scientist Dallas Abbott of Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory tells today's New York Times.
While no one has found a large crater that would indicate that a meteorite struck, Abbott discovered miniscule diamonds and tiny carbon spheres in Hudson River sediment that may be signs that a rock 330 feet (100 meters) across hit the New York City area. Abbott and colleagues at Harvard University reported their finding earlier this month at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.
Dec 30, 2008 | 60
Any disaster fiend will tell you that Yellowstone National Park is long overdue for a monster eruption that could leave as much as half the U.S. under a blanket of ash. And there are rumblings the big one could be imminent in the wake of a series of 30-plus mini-earthquakes in the park over the past few days—too weak to be felt by humans for the most part but picked up by the seismometers at the University of Utah.
After all, the geologic record shows that the giant caldera we affectionately call Yellowstone has blown every 600,000 years or so over the past 2 million years. The last big eruption? About 640,000 years ago when the park spit out about 240 cubic miles worth of rock, dirt, magma and other stuff.
But don't panic yet. Although the earthquake swarm continues, according to the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, the volcano alert level remains normal. And a slew of larger earthquakes have occurred throughout the western U.S., Alaska, Puerto Rico and even Pennsylvania in the past week without incident, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
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