Archive for the ‘Earthquake Stuff’ Category

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7.7 Magnitude Earthquake West Coast Haida Gwaii Not The Biggest in Canada’s History

28/10/2012

A 7.7 magnitude earthquake has struck the Queen Charlotte Islands Haida Gwaii region off the west coast of Canada at around 11 pm E.S.T. and has currently (it’s now 2:01 a.m. E.S.T.) spurned on 8 aftershocks ranging from 4.3 to 5.5 magnitude.

The Queen Charlotte Islands area is already known for Canada’s largest recorded earthquake at 8.1 magnitude in 1949.  The last largest earthquake in this area was in 1970 at 7.4 magnitude.  This area is also known as Haida Gwaii and is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Haida Gwaii – Beautiful

Since the epic events off the coast of Japan March 11, 2011, evidence has been mounting that the Earth is certainly moving and shaking, as the record shows that since August 15 of 2012, the Earth has seen 5 earthquake events over the magnitude of 7.0.  See 2012 USGS Significant Earthquakes http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eqinthenews/ But ready between the lines of the 7.0+ earthquake 2012 has seen, there are a significant amount of 6.0+ earthquakes all over.  The frequency and intensity of earthquakes has gained momentum, especially since March 11, 2011.

There has also been more earthquake activity in Canada recently as well.  Montreal, Niagara Falls and a pretty constant barrage up and down the west coast of Canada.  A whole lot of little adds up to one big.

It is not hard to predict that there will be quite a few more aftershocks in the aftermath of this 7.7 magnitude earthquake, as seen in the aftermath of Japan, let’s hope it will not affect things in any significant way and that people are safe.

At least scientists here in Canada are safe from prosecution for not predicting this earthquake ahead of time, cause they don’t really exist here anymore.

Le sigh.  Praying for family, friends and people affected by the earthquake.

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Second Earthquake of the Day Hits Northern Japan

24/11/2011

Tokyo – Two strong earthquakes rattled northern Japan on Thursday, but neither caused any apparent damage or a tsunami.

A magnitude-6.1 quake struck Thursday evening south of the northern island of Hokkaido, Japan’s Meteorological Agency said.

It hit about 465 miles (750 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo and 19 miles (30 kilometers) below the sea surface. The agency did not issue a tsunami warning.

About 3,900 households in the towns of Erimo and Samani lost electricity shortly after the quake, but power was restored about an hour later, according to the Hokkaido Electric Power Co.

The shaking was not felt in Tokyo, though a morning quake was.

That magnitude-6.0 quake struck just off the coast near the nuclear power plant damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

The two shakings are believed unrelated and did not affect the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi plant or other nuclear plants in the region.

via Associated Press

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Rapidly Inflating Volcano Creates Growing Mystery

19/10/2011

Uturuncu© Noah Finnegan

Uturuncu, a Bolivian volcano that is inflating at an incredible rate.

Should anyone ever decide to make a show called “CSI: Geology,” a group of scientists studying a mysterious and rapidly inflating South American volcano have got the perfect storyline.

Researchers from several universities are essentially working as geological detectives, using a suite of tools to piece together the restive peak’s past in order to understand what it is doing now, and better diagnose what may lie ahead.

It’s a mystery they’ve yet to solve.

Uturuncu is a nearly 20,000-foot-high (6,000 meters) volcano in southwest Bolivia. Scientists recently discovered the volcano is inflating with astonishing speed.

“I call this ‘volcano forensics,’ because we’re using so many different techniques to understand this phenomenon,” said Oregon State University professor Shan de Silva, a volcanologist on the research team.

Researchers realized about five years ago that the area below and around Uturuncu is steadily rising – blowing up like a giant balloon under a wide disc of land some 43 miles (70 kilometers) across. Satellite data revealed the region was inflating by 1 to 2 centimeters (less than an inch) per year and had been doing so for at least 20 years, when satellite observations began.

“It’s one of the fastest uplifting volcanic areas on Earth,” de Silva told OurAmazingPlanet.”What we’re trying to do is understand why there is this rapid inflation, and from there we’ll try to understand what it’s going to lead to.”

The peak is perched like a party hat at the center of the inflating area. “It’s very circular. It’s like a big bull’s-eye,” said Jonathan Perkins, a graduate student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who recently presented work on the mountain at this year’s Geological Society of America meeting in Minneapolis.

Scientists figured out from the inflation rate that the pocket of magma beneath the volcano was growing by about 27 cubic feet (1 cubic meter) per second.

“That’s about 10 times faster than the standard rate of magma chamber growth you see for large volcanic systems,” Perkins told OurAmazingPlanet.

However, no need to flee just yet, the scientists said.

“It’s not a volcano that we think is going to erupt at any moment, but it certainly is interesting, because the area was thought to be essentially dead,” de Silva said.

Uturuncu_1© Jonathan Perkins

Sunset at Uturuncu.

Uber-Uturuncu?

Uturuncu is surrounded by one of the most dense concentrations of supervolcanoes on the planet, all of which fell silent some 1 million years ago.

Supervolcanoes get their name because they erupt with such power that they typically spew out 1,000 times more material, in sheer volume, than a volcano like Mount St. Helens. Modern human civilization has never witnessed such an event. The planet’s most recent supervolcanic eruption happened about 74,000 years ago in Indonesia.

“These eruptions are thought to have not only a local and regional impact, but potentially a global impact,” de Silva said.

Uturuncu itself is in the same class as Mount St. Helens in Washington state, but its aggressive rise could indicate that a new supervolcano is on the way. Or not.

De Silva said it appears that local volcanoes hoard magma for about 300,000 years before they blow – and Uturuncu last erupted about 300,000 years ago.

“So that’s why it’s important to know how long this has been going on,” he said.

To find an answer, scientists needed data that stretch back thousands of years – but they had only 20 years of satellite data.

Uturuncu_2© Noah Finnegan

Jonathan Perkins, along with his advisor, Noah Finnegan (he’s behind the camera), conduct field work in the barren landscape surrounding the volcano.

Volcano rap sheet

“So that’s where we come in as geomorphologists – to look for clues in the landscape to learn about the long-term topographic evolution of the volcano,” Perkins said.

Perkins and colleagues used ancient lakes, now largely dry, along the volcano’s flanks to hunt for signs of rising action.

“Lakes are great, because waves from lakes will carve shorelines into bedrock, which make lines,” Perkins said.

If the angle of those lines shifted over thousands of years – if the summit of the mountain rose, it would gradually lift one side of the lake – it would indicate the peak had been rising for quite some time, or at least provide a better idea of when the movement began.

The local conditions, largely untouched by erosion or the reach of lush plant and animal life, lend themselves to geological detective work, Perkins noted.

“It’s a really sparse, otherworldly landscape,” Perkins said. “Everything is so well preserved. There’s no biology to get in the way of your observations.”

Perkins said that surveys conducted on the lakes last autumn didn’t indicate long-term inflation. However, tilting lakes are only one indicator of volcano growth, he said.

De Silva said the geological detective team is working to combine data from a number of sources – seismic data, GPS data, even minute variations in gravity – to pin down when and why the mountain awoke from its 300,000-year-long slumber, and better predict its next big move.

source: ouramazingplanet
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Swarm of quakes around Mount Rainier

19/10/2011
via AP – SEATTLE
Scientists in Washington state say there has been a spate of earthquakes around Mount Rainier in recent weeks but that it isn’t a concern.Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network’s Bill Steele says the activity is normal. But he says scientists are watching the volcano a closer because of two quakes recorded Friday. The first was a 3.4 magnitude quake that struck west of the mountain near Ashford. It was followed about an hour later with a 2.9 magnitude quake under the volcano.University of Washington emeritus professor Steve Malone says data shows at least seven earthquakes in two weeks. He says there are frequently earthquakes around Rainier, averaging several each month, and that recent activity shouldn’t cause alarm.

INFORMATION ON MOUNT RAINIER

Mount Rainier is a massive stratovolcano located 54 miles (87 km) southeast of Seattle in the state of Washington, United States. It is the most topographically prominent mountain in the contiguous United States and the Cascade Volcanic Arc, with a summit elevation of 14,411 feet (4,392 m).Mt. Rainier is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world, and it is on the Decade Volcano list. Because of its large amount of glacial ice, Mt. Rainier could potentially produce massive lahars that would threaten the whole Puyallup River valley.

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NOAA Report on Solar Geomagnetic Storm that Partially Hit Earth – Coinciding with Earthquake & Volcano Activity

27/09/2011

The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration has been reporting on high solar activity for the past while.  Here is the news for the past 3 days, updated today.  It is important to note that the September 26th report emphasizes that “aurora watchers in Asia and Europe will be favourably positioned” and we now have had reports of much earthquake and volcanic activity, most notably the swarms in Spain (see El Hierro Volcano Article), Greece and Turkey, as well as the ones around the Aleutian Islands in Alaska, (see Cleveland Volcano Article) as well as the 5.3 MAG that hit the North West Territories (see 4 Significant Quakes/NWT Article). There are many more places that have been affected – all along the Pacific Ring of Fire.  Drop in news of earthquake drills and we have a bit of a rocky road perhaps ahead (see Earthquake Drill in US, NZ, BC Article)? (Hey, I’m just saying, but what do I know?)

If you would like to see what an Aurora looks like from space, here is a video take from the International Space Station around September 19th 2011 and its quite spectacular to see.  The path taken here is eastwardly from Madagascar along to northeast Australia, hence the term ‘aurora australis’. Aurora borealis north & aurora australis south hemisphere.

REPORTS FROM NOAA – PAST 3 DAYS

2011-09-27 17:33   Update on the September 26/27 Geomagnetic Storm

The Geomagnetic Storm that began yesterday is quieting down, though we aren’t quite back to quiet conditions yet.  High speed solar wind is coming in behind the Coronal Mass Ejection and these winds are keeping things slightly active on the space weather front.  The region on the Sun that produced this activity is in a favorable position to cause further problems, but it is starting to weaken.  It remains a threat, though diminishing.  Yesterday, there would have been problems with high accuracy GPS and there was a noted issue with the FAA’s Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), where the Vertical Error Limit was exceeded.  WAAS is used to provide high accuracy GPS in the areas around airports.  Much more information about this storm is available on the SWPC Facebook page.

2011-09-26 19:00   

The fast Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) that erupted from NOAA Active Region 1302 arrived this morning at 1237Z (8:37am Eastern Time).  It has kicked off moderate (G2) geomagnetic storms for low latitudes, but high latitudes are seeing severe (G4) levels of activity.  Aurora watchers in Asia and Europe are most favorably positioned for this event, though it may persist long enough for viewers in North America.  The bulk of the CME missed the Earth, meaning the storm intensity and duration are less than what they would have been in the case of a direct hit.  We are posting frequent updates on the SWPC Facebook page, which you can follow (here).

2011-09-24 22:00   

NOAA Region 1302 remains impressive and active as it continues its transit across the visible disc.  As shown in the GOES X-ray plot below, 1302 produced an R3 (Strong) and multiple R2 (Moderate) flares today.  Intermittent degradation to High Frequency communications occurs on the daylight side of the Earth during each respective flare.  Also, the slow rise of energetic protons near Earth has flattened out and we are hovering right around the S1 threshold (NOAA Solar Radiation Storm Scales).  A fairly fast Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) associated with the long duration R2 flare is partially directed at Earth (long duration meaning long-lasting in time and wider in the graph below, as opposed to the impulsive flares that spike quickly).  We won?t see the bulk of this CME, but a glancing blow is predicted for late evening Eastern Time on the 25th (or right around start of day GMT on the 26th).  Geomagnetic Storm levels reaching the G1 (Minor) level are likely with isolated G2 (Moderate) possible, particularly at high latitudes.  1302 remains active so stay tuned for further updates.

source: NOAA

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As Evacuees Go Home, Seismic Activity Continues – Canary Islands Raises El Hierro Volcano Risk Level

26/09/2011

SEPT 30th UPDATE:  Spanish papers are reporting that the island of El Hierro, Thursday at 09.12 hours, had an earthquake of 3.8 magnitude on the Richter scale with the figure recorded until 14.00 hours and raises the total to 69 earthquakes, according to data from the Geographic Nacional (IGN).

The movement of the largest bridges in the last hours, was detected at 09.12 hours at a depth of about ten miles southwest of the town of La Frontera. This is eight earthquakes that have overcome the barrier of 3 degrees of magnitude.

The first recorded movement was detected at 00.35 hours and reached 3.6 degrees. We recorded about 16 km depth southwest of the municipality of La Frontera. Behind him, there were at 04.21 hours another of magnitude 3.1, at 04.28 hours a scale of magnitude 3, at 04.31, a magnitude 3.1, at 04.43, another 3.5 degrees to of 04.45, one of 3.1 degrees, and 04.56, an earthquake of 3.2 degrees. Until now the last detected is located 14 kilometers deep and reached 2.5 degrees of intensity.

Spanish Papers are also reporting that Authorities have allowed more than half the evacuees to return home.  This decision was made during the meeting of the Steering Committee for Specific Plan for Civil Protection and Emergency PEVOLCA Volcanic Risk, which also involved the president of the Cabildo, Alpidio Armas. After reviewing the latest scientific data, seismic-volcanic phenomenon remains stationary and appears to be moving towards the Sea of Calm.

The Roquille Tunnel remains closed until further notice.

SEPT 29TH: NOTE: [Cleveland Volcano Aleutian Islands Status on Orange – Alaska Observatory Reports]

EL HIERRO UPDATE: Schools on El Hierro, home to 10,000 people, have been closed and a tunnel linking its two main towns has been shut.

Volcano expert Juan Carlos Carrecedo said: “There is a ball of magma rising to the surface producing a series of ruptures which generate seismic activity.” He warned that an eruption was possible “in days, weeks or months”.

SEPT 28th: TOURISTS EVACUATED FROM EL HIERRO REGION for VOLCANO THREAT

URGENT UPDATE: SWARMS of EARTHQUAKES hitting the Canary Islands Region (along with Greece & Turkey), today, September 27, 2011, visit the European Mediterranean Seismic Centre here for information.

El Hierro (circled) in The Canary Islands. Google Earth

El Hierro (circled) in The Canary Islands. Google Earth

The Canary Islands Government has raised the alert level for the El Hierro volcano in the Canary Islands (Spain) to ‘Yellow’, the highest alert status since an unprecedented earthquake swarm commenced in mid-July.

Spanish seismologists, accompanied by the President of the Cabildo de El Hierro and the Minister of Security and Emergency Area, held a press conference on Sunday to reassure the 10,000 residents of the smallest of the Canary Islands that the raising of the alert level does not indicate that an eruption is imminent. They indicated, however, that the number of volcanic earthquakes detected beneath El Hierro continues to increase.

Hierro, a shield volcano, has had a single historic eruption from the Volcan de Lomo Negro vent in 1793. The eruption lasted approximately one month and produced lava flows.

The Canary Islands Government commenced an in-depth geological survey of El Hierro earlier this month in an effort to determine the source of an earthquake swarm.

The unprecedented seismic activity commenced on 19 July. In excess of 6,750 earthquakes have been recorded up to Monday, 26 September 2011. More than 50 earthquakes were recorded between midnight and 6:00 a.m. GMT on Monday alone.  The earth tremors have ranged between 1 and 3 magnitude, the National Geographic Institute (IGN) reported.

The vast majority of the tremors have been recorded in the northwest of the 278.5-square-kilometre island at El Golfo, the location of a massive landslide that created a 100-metre high tsunami almost 50,000 years ago.

Speaking to the El Pais newspaper during the weekend, volcanologist Juan Carlos Carracedo suggested that an eruption on El Hierro would “not be a major surprise”.

He explained: “It is the youngest of the Canary Islands. There is a ball of magma which is rising to the surface and it is stationed at the limit of the earth’s crust. At the moment we do not know if that ball of magna will break the crust and cause an eruption.”

Earthquake Swarms

Earthquake swarms are events where a local area experiences sequences of many earthquakes striking in a relatively short period of time. The length of time used to define the swarm itself varies, but the United States Geological Survey (USGS) points out that an event may last for days, weeks, or months.

Latest seismic activity on El Hierro

4-D Plot Of El Hierro Earthquakes July-September 2011

El Hierro’s Volcanic/Seismic Past

El Hierro is situated in the most southwestern extreme of the Canaries.  The  island was formed after three successive eruptions, and consequent accumulations, the island emerged from the ocean as an imposing triangular pyramid crowned by a volcano more than 2,000 metres high.

The volcanic activity, principally at the convergence of the three ridges, resulted in the continual expansion of the island. A mere 50,000 years ago, as a result of seismic tremors which produced massive landslides, a giant piece of the island cracked off, crashed down into the ocean and scattered along the seabed. This landslide of more than 300km3 gave rise to the impressive amphitheatre of the El Golfo valley and at the same time caused a tsunami that most likely rose over 100 metres high and probably reached as far as the American coast.

According to the Global Volcanism Program, the massive Hierro shield volcano is truncated by a large NW-facing escarpment, seen here from the east, which formed as a result of gravitational collapse of the volcano. The steep-sided 1500-m-high scarp towers above a low lava platform bordering 12-km-wide El Golfo Bay, which is barely visible at the extreme left. Holocene cones and flows are found both on the outer flanks and in the El Golfo depression. The last eruption, during the 18th century, produced a lava flow from a cinder cone on the NW side of El Golfo.

El Golfo, El Hierro, The Canary Islands (Spain)

El Golfo, El Hierro, The Canary Islands (Spain)

According to ElHierro.com: “Although over 200 years have elapsed since the last eruption, El Hierro has the largest number of volcanoes in the Canaries with over 500 open sky cones, another 300 covered by the most recent outflows, and some 70 caves and volcanic galleries, notably the Don Justo cave whose collection of channels surpasses 6km in length.”

El Hierro is located south of Isla de la Palma (population 86,000), currently the most volcanically active of the Canary Islands.  About a half a million years ago, the volcano, Taburiente, collapsed with a giant landslide, forming the Caldera de Taburiente. Since the Spanish occupation, there have been seven eruptions.

Taburiente, La Palma, marked on Google Earth

Taburiente, La Palma, marked on Google Earth

Caldera de Taburiente. Image wiki

Caldera de Taburiente. Image wiki

In a BBC Horizon programme broadcast on October 12, 2000, two geologists (Day and McGuire)  hypothesised that during a future eruption, the western flank of the Cumbre Vieja, with a mass of approximately 1.5 x1015 kg, could slide into the ocean. This could then potentially generate a giant wave which they termed a “megatsunami” around 650–900 m high in the region of the islands. The wave would radiate out across the Atlantic and inundate the eastern seaboard of North America including the American, the Caribbean and northern coasts of South America some six to eight hours later. They estimate that the tsunami will have waves possibly 160 ft (49 m) or more high causing massive devastation along the coastlines. Modelling suggests that the tsunami could inundate up to 25 km (16 mi) inland – depending upon topography.

souce: irishweatheronline

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4 Significant Quakes Since September Started as Rare Earthquake Hits North West Territories, Canada

26/09/2011

UPDATE 5:50 pm EST – A 3.0 Magnitude earthquake has hit the Southern Yukon Territories of Canada. Click for USGS report.

A rare earthquake struck the Northwest Territories region of Canada late on Sunday confirmed by Natural Resources Canada (Details Here)

There have been 4 significant seismic events reported by Natural Resources Canada since September 2011 started, all above 4.1 in Magnitude – Natural Resources Canada.

The 5.3 magnitude earthquake, the strongest recorded in the province this year, struck at 7:02:57 PM local time (2:02:57 AM GMT Monday). The epicentre was located 137 km (85 miles) W of Wrigley, 205 km (127 miles) S of Norman Wells, and 617 km (383 miles) WNW of the provincial capital Yellowknife.

While seismic activity is not uncommon in the Northwest Territories, earthquakes exceeding 5 magnitude on the Richter Scale are rare.

It is very important to note for the past month at least, the west coast, especially BC (and California) have been suffering from swarms of quakes.  See here for details about BC area.

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