Earth ChangesS

Bizarro Earth

Chinese expert says Chile quake part of new activity phase

An anecdote from the ancient Chinese book Liezi tells a story about a man from the state of Qi who was so obsessed with the thought that the sky might fall that he had no appetite for food nor could sleep well.

Recently some people have developed a similar anxiety over a hypothesis no less catastrophic to mankind. And the threat lies beneath our feet.

Xu Xiangyu, a 6-grader at Beijing No 2 Experimental Primary School, cried out "2012" when he first heard about the Chile earthquake, associating it at once with the Hollywood movie, which depicts a doomsday-like situation caused by strong earthquakes.

And his worry is by no means unfounded.

Extreme weather has been reported this winter in many places around the world: blizzards in Northern Europe, America and Asia, heat waves in South America and Australia, heavy snows in North China and severe droughts in the South. Now, Chile has been hit by a massive earthquake registered 8.8 on the Richter scale, less than two months after the devastating Haiti quake of 7.3 magnitude claimed nearly 290,000 lives.

Sun Shihong, a senior researcher with CEA China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC), said the world did look like it was entering a new phase of earthquake activity. The latest movements of the earth's crust undoubtedly demonstrated an "active state." "They are not abnormal, though. The earth has its life cycle, guided by it own rules," he said.

Bizarro Earth

Quake aftershocks trigger new terror in Chile

Talca - Three powerful aftershocks Friday spread new terror among weary Chileans traumatized by a huge quake and tsunami as UN chief Ban Ki-moon was due to arrive to assess the damage.

A first 6.2-magnitude quake jolted people awake at 6:20 am (0920 GMT), just six days after Saturday's record 8.8-quake and ensuing tsunami waves killed over 800 people and left some two million homeless.

That was then followed Friday by a 6.8-magnitude tremor -- one of the most powerful of more than 200 to rattle Chile since the weekend -- followed swiftly by another measuring 6.6.

Buildings in Concepcion, the country's second city, already damaged in the disaster collapsed, although the national emergency services said Friday's quakes caused no injuries or serious damage.


Study finds methane bubbling from Arctic

© iStockphoto
Large amounts methane are bubbling up from a long-frozen seabed north of Siberia, raising fears of far bigger leaks, say scientists.

But it is unclear if the emissions are new or have been going on unnoticed for centuries - since before the Industrial Revolution of the 18th century.

The study, which appears today in the journal Science, says about 8 million tonnes of methane a year, equivalent to the annual total previously estimated from all of the world's oceans, were seeping from vast stores long trapped under permafrost below the seabed north of Russia.

"Subsea permafrost is losing its ability to be an impermeable cap," says study co-author Dr Natalia Shakhova, a scientist at the University of Fairbanks, Alaska.

The experts measured levels of methane, a gas that can be released by rotting vegetation, in water and air at 5000 sites on the East Siberian Arctic Shelf from 2003 to 2008. In some places, methane was bubbling up from the seabed.

Bizarro Earth

6.5 Earthquake Hits Off Sumatran Coast

A 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck off the Indonesian island of Sumatra at 11:06 p.m. local time (16:06 GMT) yesterday but a widespread tsunami was not predicted.

The quake hit about 165 km west of Bengkulu, Sumatra at a depth of about 22 km, the US Geological Survey said.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said there was no widespread threat of a tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

But, it added, "there is a very small possibility of a local tsunami that could affect coasts located usually no more than a hundred kilometers from the earthquake epicentre.


Scientists probe cause of Taiwan quake

The Central Weather Bureau and local scholars are at odds over the cause of the earthquake that rattled southern Taiwan March 4.

Because the epicenter was 8 kilometers east of the Chaozhou fault near Jiaxian Township in Kaohsiung County, the CWB's preliminary analysis indicates the temblor was not directly related to that fault, and may have been caused by a blind fault, one that does not reach the surface, previously undetected by the Ministry of Economic Affairs' Central Geological Survey.

Chen Wen-shan, head of the Department of Geosciences at National Taiwan University, said the Qishan and Pingxi faults 20 kilometers north of the Chaozhou fault could have triggered the quake.

Chen said 7,000 years ago the Qishan fault broke through the earth's surface, and is believed to be similar to the Chelungpu fault, cause of the major earthquake of Sept. 21, 1999, in that both store up energy for long periods, which is then released in major temblors. In these terms, the 6.4-magnitude quake of March 4 can only be considered "a small release of energy," so that a major earthquake cannot be ruled out at any time.


Earthquake warning for Turkey

© AFPAn 8.8 earthquake in Chile last week killed at least 800 people and left many more homeless
A report released by the Turkish chamber of civil engineers has said that up to 150,000 people could be killed, and 300,000 buildings destroyed in an earthquake predicted to hit the city of Istanbul in the next 30 years.

The report, which was sent to parliament on Monday, reveals over half of construction projects approved by engineers of inspection companies are not earthquake proof.

The city boundary lies just 20 kilometres from a major fault line, leaving the sprawling metropolis of Istanbul at high risk of a major earthquake.

The results came after IMO, the engineering body that produced the report, inspected nine per cent of the 1,031 projects supposedly made earthquake-proof by inspection companies in 2008.

Cemal Gökçe, chairman of the Istanbul IMO branch, said inspection certificates can be authorised by any engineer with an engineering diploma, regardless of their area of expertise.

Bizarro Earth

Vanuatu - Earthquake Magnitude 6.4

Thursday, March 04, 2010 at 14:02:30 UTC

Friday, March 05, 2010 at 01:02:30 AM at epicenter

13.616°S, 167.135°E

200.2 km (124.4 miles)

210 km (130 miles) N of Luganville, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu

350 km (215 miles) SSE of Lata, Santa Cruz Islands, Solomon Isl.

475 km (295 miles) NNW of PORT-VILA, Efate, Vanuatu

2130 km (1320 miles) NE of BRISBANE, Queensland, Australia


12-year-old girl saved Chilean islanders from tsunami

© Unknown
A 12-year old girl has saved almost the entire population of Robinson Crusoe Island off the coast of Chile from a strong tsunami.

The inhabitants of the small island were asleep as a massive tsunami, initiated by the February 27 earthquake, was about to reach the coast.

According to reports in the Chilean media, Martina Maturana felt the first slight tremors whilst everyone was asleep on Robinson Crusoe Island, in the Archipelago of Juan Fernandez, 700 kilometers off the country's coast.

She warned her policeman father about what she felt. In a contact with relatives in Valparaiso in central Chile, they found out that a massive earthquake had struck the country just minutes before.


Taiwan in chaos after strong quake

© Unknown
Taiwan's National Fire Agency says at least 12 people have been injured after a strong earthquake jolted the southern part of the country.

The 6.4-magnitude quake shook Kaohsiung County early Thursday, but no tsunami alert was issued.

The incident disrupted transport and also caused at least one large fire.

Rail service in southern and central Taiwan was suspended, as was the state-of-the-art subway system in Kaohsiung city, Taiwan's second largest.

In Tainan, a fire broke out in a textile factory shortly after the quake hit, sending huge plumes of black smoke billowing into the air.

Power outages struck in the capital city of Taipei and at least one county to the south.


Video footage of Chile quake

Security camera footage captured the moment a magnitude 8.8 earthquake struck in a penitentiary in the Chilean capital of Santiago last Saturday. Inmates were seen quickly gathering in the prison's courtyard seconds after the shaking began.