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Sun, 29 Nov 2020
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2019 Ridgecrest earthquake reveals unusual surface movement

2019 Ridgecrest earthquake
© Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Location of the 2019 Ridgecrest earthquake, in the San Andreas Fault area of California.
SOEST Earth Sciences professor Bridget Smith-Konter and graduate student Lauren Ward co-authored a study published recently in Science that revealed unusual surface deformation associated with the 2019 Ridgecrest earthquake in the San Andreas Fault area of California.

Watch the video below.

The research team, led by scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, analyzed satellite data and discovered hundreds of previously unmapped fractures surrounding the 2019 Ridgecrest earthquake sequence.

Most deformation associated with an earthquake is, not surprisingly, in the same direction as the fault rupture. However, the researchers found areas of deformation associated with the 2019 event that moved in the opposite direction.


New England, US was hit by strongest earthquake in the region for decades

New England earthquake map
Southern New England was hit by the strongest earthquake in the region for decades. It rattled homes but did not cause any significant damage.

At 9am on Sunday, the area was hit by a 3.6 magnitude earthquake that was centered in Buzzards Bay, off the coast of New Bedford, Massachusetts, according to the US Geological Survey's National Earthquake (USGS) information centre.

The earthquake hit the area at a depth of around 9.3 miles and was felt in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and as far away as Long Island, New York.

It was the strongest to have hit the area since 1976, when a magnitude 3.5 earthquake was recorded, USGS geophysicist Paul Caruso told the Associated Press.

The agency's website recorded around 14,000 visitors in the hours after the earthquake, with people from 100 miles away reporting the incident.


M6.0 earthquake hits South Shetland Islands, Antarctica

Antarctica earthquake map
Date & time: 2020-11-06 11:49:20 UTC -
Local time at epicenter: Friday, 6 Nov 8.49 pm (GMT -3)
Magnitude: 6.0
Depth: 15.0 km
Epicenter latitude / longitude: 62.28°S / 58.26°W (Antarctica)
Nearest volcano: Penguin Island (19 km / 12 mi)


Shallow 6.0-magnitude earthquake hits off coast of Chile

© Associated Press
A 6.0-magnitude earthquake jolted off the coast of Aisen, Chile at 0240 GMT on Tuesday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The epicenter, with a depth of 10.0 km, was initially determined to be at 44.38 degrees south latitude and 79.3519 degrees west longitude.


Greece-Turkey earthquake: Huge 7.0-magnitude tremor felt across both countries - at least 92 killed (UPDATES)

The quake shook Izmir, on Turkey's Aegean Sea
© Mehmet Emin Menguarslan / Anadolu Agency
The quake shook Izmir, on Turkey's Aegean Sea coast.
A major 7.0-magnitude earthquake has rattled Greece's Dodecanese Islands, the US Geological Survey (USGC) has said, with the tremor felt miles away in the capital of Athens.

Initial estimates by the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) put the magnitude of the earthquake, which struck north of the eastern island of Samos at around 11:50 GMT, at 6.7.

There were no immediate reports of casualties on Friday but video footage on social media showed buildings in the Turkish city of İzmir had been seriously damaged.

Comment: Update: An AFP report carried by Channels Television on October 31 states:
Search and rescue teams search the rumble of a collapsed building for survivors on October 31, 2020, in Izmir, after a powerful earthquake struck Turkey’s western coast and parts of Greece.
Search and rescue teams search the rumble of a collapsed building for survivors on October 31, 2020, in Izmir, after a powerful earthquake struck Turkey’s western coast and parts of Greece.
26 Dead, Buildings Collapse As Major Earthquake Hits Turkey, Greece

Rescuers dug through heavy blocks of concrete with their bare hands Saturday in a desperate search for survivors from a powerful earthquake that leveled buildings across Greece and Turkey, killing at least 26 people.

The quake struck late Friday afternoon, causing a mini-tsunami on the Aegean island of Samos and a sea surge that turned streets into rushing rivers in a town on Turkey's west coast.

The US Geological Survey said the 7.0 magnitude tremor hit 14 kilometres (nine miles) off the Greek town of Karlovasi on Samos.

Felt in both Istanbul and Athens, it also created a diplomatic opening for the two historic rivals, with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis placing a rare call to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to offer his condolences and support.

Hospital patients on the street

Much of the damage occurred in and around Turkey's Aegean resort city of Izmir, which has three million residents and is filled with high-rise apartment blocks.

Parts of entire apartments, including toys, pillows and shattered appliances, spilt out on the streets, where survivors huddled in tears, many too shocked to speak.

Aerial footage showed entire city blocks turned to rubble.

"I thought: Is it going to end? It felt like 10 minutes like it was never going to end," said Gokhan Kan, a 32-year-old courier.

"I was terrified not for myself in that moment but for my family, my wife and four-year-old son."

Izmir's mayor Tunc Soyer told CNN Turk that 20 buildings had collapsed, with officials focusing their rescue efforts on 17 of them.

Turkey's disaster relief agency reported 24 deaths and 800 injuries, while in Greece two teenagers died on their way home from school on Samos when a wall collapsed.

The scenes of devastation suggested the toll could rise.

One Izmir hospital rolled some of its patients — still strapped into their beds and hooked up to drips — out on the street as a precaution.

Turkey's religious affairs directorate opened its mosques to help shelter some of those left homeless by the disaster.

'Remain calm'

Images on social media showed water rushing through the streets of one of the towns near Izmir from an apparent sea surge.

Thick white plumes of smoke towered over various parts of the city where big buildings had collapsed.

Rescuers, helped by residents and sniffer dogs, used chainsaws to try to force their way through the rubble of one destroyed seven-floor building.

At another site, Agriculture Minister Bekir Pakdemirli managed to establish mobile phone contact with a girl buried under the debris.

"We ask you to remain calm," he told her in televised footage. "We will try to lift the concrete block and reach you."

NTV television said up to six people were trapped at the site, including the girl's cousin.

The region's governor said 70 people had been pulled out alive by Friday evening, although how many more were missing remained unknown by sunset.

Rescuers set up tents in a small park away from the cracked and damaged buildings for families to spend the night in safety and relative warmth.

"Because we live in Izmir, we have pretty warm weather, we can make it through today, we can make it through tomorrow," said Cemalettin Enginyurt, a retired soldier. "But we can't think of anything on the long term, we are helpless."

- 'Earthquake Diplomacy' -

On the Greek island of Samos, near the quake's epicentre, people rushed out into the streets in panic.

"It was chaos," said deputy mayor Giorgos Dionysiou. "We have never experienced anything like this."

The Greek civil protection agency told Samos residents in a text message to "stay out in the open and away from buildings".

Greece and Turkey are situated in one of the world's most active earthquake zones.

The two neighbours also suffer from historically poor relations despite both being members of the NATO military alliance.

But the quake saw a spurt of what pundits immediately termed "earthquake diplomacy", with calls exchanged by their foreign ministers and then, hours later, the Greek prime minister and Erdogan.

"Whatever our differences, these are times when our people need to stand together," Mitsotakis said on Twitter.

"Thank you, Mr Prime Minister," Erdogan tweeted in reply. "That two neighbours show solidarity in difficult times is more valuable than many things in life."

The US State Department said Washington was "heartened" by the newfound cooperation.

France, whose President Emmanuel Macron has sparred repeatedly with Erdogan in the past year, said it stood in "full solidarity" with the two countries.

In 1999, a 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck Turkey's northwest, killing more than 17,000 people, including 1,000 in Istanbul.

In Greece, the last deadly quake killed two people on the island of Kos, near Samos, in July 2017.
Update 2: AP reports on November 1:
70-year-old pulled out alive in Turkey as quake toll hits 60

Rescue workers extricated a 70-year-old man from a collapsed building in western Turkey on Sunday, some 34 hours after a strong earthquake in the Aegean Sea struck Turkey and Greece, killing at least 60 people and injuring more than 900.

Members of rescue services search in the debris of a collapsed building for survivors in Izmir, Turkey, early Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020.
© Darko Bandic
Members of rescue services search in the debris of a collapsed building for survivors in Izmir, Turkey, early Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020.
It was the latest series of remarkable rescues after the Friday afternoon earthquake, which was centered in the Aegean northeast of the Greek island of Samos. Search-and-rescue teams were working in nine toppled or damaged buildings in Izmir, Turkey's third-largest city, but appeared to be finding more bodies Sunday than survivors.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan raised the death toll Sunday in Izmir to 58. Two teenagers were killed Friday on Samos and at least 19 others were injured.

There was some debate over the magnitude of the earthquake. The U.S. Geological Survey rated it 7.0, while the Istanbul's Kandilli Institute put it at 6.9 and Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) said it measured 6.6.

Ahmet Citim, 70, was pulled out of the rubble in the middle of the night and was hospitalized. Health Minister Fahrettin Koca tweeted that Citim said: "I never lost hope." The minister visited the survivor and said he was doing well.

The quake triggered a small tsunami that hit Samos and the Seferihisar district of Izmir, drowning one elderly woman. The tremors were felt across western Turkey, including in Istanbul, as well as in the Greek capital of Athens. Hundreds of aftershocks followed. Turkey's disaster agency said 920 people were injured in Turkey alone.

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said 26 badly damaged buildings would be demolished.

"It's not the earthquake that kills but buildings," he added, repeating a common slogan.

Turkey has a mix of older buildings and cheap or illegal construction, which can lead to serious damage and deaths when earthquakes hit. Regulations have been tightened in light of earthquakes to strengthen or demolish buildings and urban renewal is underway in Turkish cities but it is not happening fast enough.

Two destroyed apartment buildings in Izmir where much of the rescues are taking place had received reports of "decay" in 2012 and 2018, according to the municipal agency in charge of such certificates. Turkish media including the Hurriyet newspaper said one of the buildings, which was built in 1993, was at risk of earthquake damage because of its low quality concrete and the lack of reinforcements. However, the building continued to be occupied.

Turkey's justice minister said prosecutors had begun investigating several collapsed buildings and promised legal repercussions if experts identified neglect.

AFAD said nearly 6,400 personnel had been activated for rescue work and hundreds of others for food distribution, emergency help and building damage control.

Turkey is criss-crossed by fault lines and is prone to earthquakes. In 1999, two powerful quakes killed some 18,000 people in northwestern Turkey. Earthquakes are frequent in Greece as well.

In a rare show of unity amid months of tense relations over energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean, Greek and Turkish government officials have issued mutual messages of solidarity over the quake toll.

The quake occurred as Turkey was already struggling with an economic downturn and the coronavirus pandemic. So far, Turkey has more than 10,000 confirmed virus deaths but some experts have accused the government of concealing the true impact of the virus with the way it counts infections.
Update3: Anadolu Agency reports on November 2:
Turkey: Death toll from earthquake rises to 92

In Aegean city of Izmir, 994 people injured in magnitude 6.6 quake, says country's disaster management authority

The death toll in Turkey from a powerful earthquake in the Aegean region has risen to 92, the country's disaster agency said Monday.

Some 1,323 aftershocks have hit the area since the Friday quake, with 43 of them above magnitude 4.0, the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said.

It added that 994 people were injured, with 847 of them discharged from hospitals and 147 still being treated.

Speaking at a news conference Monday in the Aegean Izmir province, Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum updated the number of heavily damaged and destroyed buildings to 58.

With quake victims facing cold weather, Kurum called on them to seek shelter at local guesthouses.

"We began the process for setting up a container city. We will establish a container city with a capacity to host 1,000 people on an area of 46,300 square meters [498,000 square feet] in the Bayrakli district," he added.

On Friday, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake hit Izmir, Turkey's third-largest city, with a population of some 4.37 million.

More aid coming

Family, Labor and Social Services Minister Zehra Zumrut Selcuk also urged quake victims to take shelter at public guesthouses, which she said have a capacity of 7,000, which can be increased if needed.

She added that 5 million Turkish liras (some $595,000) in additional aid is being added to 5 million Turkish liras sent to the region on Friday by her ministry.

So far, 1,864 tents have been installed, with 2,038 currently being set up.

Temporary accommodations have been established to meet the urgent need for shelter in the city, with over 3,500 tents, some 24,400 blankets, 13,300 beds, 5,500 sleeping sets, 2,600 kitchen sets, and four showers and toilet containers shipped to the area, the disaster agency said.

So far, over 105 people have been pulled from the debris as search and rescue efforts continue.

Elif Perincek, a three-year-old girl, was pulled from debris in Bayrakli on Monday nearly 65 hours after the quake.

Idil Sirin, a 14-year-old girl, was also recovered from the rubble 58 hours after the tremor and taken to a local hospital.

Turkey, situated on several active fault lines, is among the world's most seismically active zones. It has suffered devastating earthquakes in previous years, including the 1999 Marmara quake.


Dumfries, Scotland hit by shallow earthquake as locals describe 'rumbling and shaking'

Dumfries was hit by the quake
© Dumfries and Galloway Standard
Dumfries was hit by the quake
Parts of Scotland were hit by an earthquake yesterday.

The 2.0-magnitude earthquake was felt in parts of the borders of the country.

The British Geological Survey (BGS) said people reported a 'low rumbling' in Dumfries at around 1pm.

A statement describing the quake from the group read: "Felt by a few people in Dumfries, Kirkpatrick Durham and Thornhill. Reports described, "a low rumbling" and "weak shaking"."

Initial data from the BGS suggested the quake's depth was six miles and its epicentre was around five miles west of the town.

Comment: Recently Perthshire, Scotland was struck by its ninth earthquake in just over a month.


6.1-magnitude earthquake hits off Tonga

© Associated Press
An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.1 jolted 85 km NE of Hihifo, Tonga at 11:47:37 GMT on Sunday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The epicenter, with a depth of 44.4 km, was initially determined to be at 15.317 degrees south latitude and 173.348 degrees west longitude.


'Lost' tectonic plate discovered under the Pacific

Mantle tomography image
© University of Houston
A 3D block diagram across North America showing a mantle tomography image reveals the Slab Unfolding method used to flatten the Farallon tectonic plate. By doing this, Fuston and Wu were able to locate the lost Resurrection plate.
Scientists have reconstructed a long-lost tectonic plate that may have given rise to an arc of volcanoes in the Pacific Ocean 60 million years ago.

The plate, dubbed Resurrection, has long been controversial among geophysicists, as some believe it never existed. But the new reconstruction puts the edge of the rocky plate along a line of known ancient volcanoes, suggesting that it was once part of the crust (Earth's top layer) in what is today northern Canada.

"Volcanoes form at plate boundaries, and the more plates you have, the more volcanoes you have," Jonny Wu, a geologist at the University of Houston, said in a statement. "Volcanoes also affect climate change. So, when you are trying to model the Earth and understand how climate has changed ... you really want to know how many volcanoes there have been on Earth."

Wu and his co-author, University of Houston geology doctoral candidate Spencer Fuston, used a computer model of Earth's crust to "unfold" the movement of tectonic plates since the early Cenozoic, the geological era that began 66 million years ago. Geophysicists already knew that there were two plates in the Pacific at that time, the Kula plate and the Farallon plate.


6.1-magnitude earthquake hits south of the Fiji Islands

© Associated Press
An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.1 jolted south of the Fiji Islands at 07:04:32 GMT on Friday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The epicenter, with a depth of 463.9 km, was initially determined to be at 25.6127 degrees south latitude and 179.9645 degrees west longitude.

Comment: About 5 hours earlier and also in the Pacific Ocean: Shallow 6.0-magnitude earthquake hits West Chile Rise


Shallow 6.0-magnitude earthquake hits West Chile Rise

earthquake graph
© Phil McCarten / Reuters
An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.0 jolted West Chile Rise at 0146 GMT on Friday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The epicenter, with a depth of 10.0 km, was initially determined to be at 36.4011 degrees south latitude and 97.1352 degrees west longitude.