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Earthquakes Current Events

Congress and California State Legislature: Waiting for the Big Earthquake
April 21, 2014 | Los Angeles Times

Mexico has an early warning system that can detect earthquakes and notify people before vibrations arrive. During last week’s magnitude 7.2 earthquake along Mexico’s Pacific coast the system gave people in Mexico City about 60 seconds of warning before vibrations arrived. People in Acapulco had 27 seconds of warning. This gave them time to seek cover, turn off gas flames, stop surgeries, stop vehicles, protect children and more.

Mexico has been giving earthquake warnings for over 20 years and their systems have helped people avoid injury, property damage and possibly deaths. Japan has an earthquake warning system.

The United States has every ability to implement an earthquake warning system. We have the expertise and the technology. However, the United States Congress can’t decide to fund an earthquake warning system and lawmakers in California have ruled that state funds should not be used to pay for one there! The price tag on offering the service to the public for free is a tiny tiny tiny fraction of the guaranteed damage that will occur during the next large California earthquake.

Here’s a link to the LA Times article to send to your representatives…,0,163022.story

Contact information for California State Legislators

Contact information for the U.S. Senators and Representatives

Earthquake Swarm in Idaho
April 16, 2014 | Oregon Live

Numerous small earthquakes have occurred in central Idaho. Although no injuries or severe damage have been reported the events have caused concerns among the people who live there.

What is Causing the Oklahoma Earthquakes?
April 10, 2014 | ThinkProgress

During 2013 the state of Oklahoma experienced 109 earthquakes with a magnitude of 3 or higher. Already this year the state has equaled that number. Some people blame wastewater injection.

The Wichita Eagle reports that Kansas is also experiencing a number of earthquakes.

Volcano Report for Peru and Chile
April 6, 2014 | Eruptions Blog

Erik Klemetti posts an update on recent activity at Ubinas Volcano in Peru. In addition, some people have expressed concern about the recent magnitude 8.2 earthquake triggering an eruption at one of several nearby volcanos, Erik comments on these concerns plus, in another post, on the recent earthquake at Yellowstone.

Building Codes Saved Lives in Chile
April 6, 2014 | CNN

An article on the CNN website explains how building codes saved lives in the recent magnitude 8.2 earthquake in Chile.

Restricting the Right to Build?
April 3, 2014 | New York Times

An article in the New York Times explores the idea that governments should have the ability to restrict building construction in areas subject to geologic hazards.

M7.8 Onshore in Chile With Shake Map of IX
April 3, 2014 | USGS

USGS reports that a magnitude 7.8 earthquake has occurred onshore in Chile with a depth of only about 12 miles and about 14 miles from the population center of Iquique.

M8.2 Earthquake Off the Coast of Chile
April 1, 2014 | Los Angeles Times

A magnitude 8.2 earthquake struck off the Pacific coast of Chile at about 6:46 PM local time. An early report in the Los Angeles Times indicates building and highway damage. A tsunami warning was issued but waves observed were small. View USGS Data.

Ten Risky Cities
April 1, 2014 |

TheGuardian has an article that presents the earthquake, tsunami and severe storm hazards of ten risky cities.

Oso Landslide: Mechanisms of Movement
March 31, 2014 | The Landslide Blog

Dave Petley, author of The Landslide Blog comments on the mechanisms of movement and seismic data.

Geologic Hazards in Colorado
March 31, 2014 | Colorado Geological Survey

The Colorado Geological Survey has one of the best geology pages on the web. Their Geologic Hazards in Colorado page is so valuable because it has links to several excellent videos about the state’s important hazards.

You can watch some of the videos by using these links (you don’t have to live in Colorado to learn something important): Avalanche, Debris Flow, Earthquake, Hazardous Soils, Landslides, Mine Subsidence and Rock Fall.

Here’s a sample video….

The Puente Hills Fault
March 30, 2014 | Los Angeles Times

The Puente Hills Fault, which scientists believe could be responsible for Friday’s 5.1 earthquake in La Habra, is considered very dangerous.” Quoted from the Los Angeles Times article.

Magnitude 5.1: Los Angeles Area
March 29, 2014 | Los Angeles Times

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake occurred at about 9:09PM local time on Friday evening near La Habra, California. Minor injuries and numerous damaged buildings and vehicles have been reported. The Los Angeles Times has several articles.

The USGS reports:

– maximum observed instrumental intensity of VII at La Habra
– Did you feel it? Map reports of VII
– early warning of 4 seconds in Pasadena
– numerous aftershocks

Earthquake Warning System Worked
March 29, 2014 | Los Angeles Times

“A prototype earthquake early-warning system worked again Friday night, giving seismologists in Pasadena about a four-second heads-up before shaking was felt from the magnitude 5.1 quake that struck near La Habra.”

USGS: Washington Slide Not Triggered by an Earthquake
March 27, 2014 | Mashable

A very small, M1.1 earthquake occurred about two weeks before the recent large landslide near Oso, Washington. USGS does not believe that the earthquake and the landslide are associated.

The 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake
March 27, 2014 | Washington Post

Today is the 50th anniversary of the Great Alaska Earthquake and The Washington Post has an article titled: “Remembering the 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake, the largest in U.S. history“.

Los Angeles Responds to Earthquake
March 24, 2014 | Los Angeles Times

Last week’s magnitude 4.4 earthquake centered on Encino, a neighborhood in the Los Angeles area, has governments, businesses and citizens thinking more about earthquake preparation (and how they will have problems paying for it).

March 20, 2014 | BBC

A journalist and programmer for the Los Angeles Times created a computer program named “Quakebot” that – as soon as an earthquake occurs – automatically grabs public domain data from USGS, plugs it into a template, and sends the article to website publication.

M9.2: The Great Alaska Earthquake
March 20, 2014 | USGS on YouTube

March 27 is the 50th anniversary of The Great Alaska Earthquake – America’s largest recorded earthquake. Geological information about the earthquake is presented in this eleven minute video.

Earthquakes Cause ODNR to Halt Drilling
March 16, 2014 | Columbus Dispatch

On Monday, March 10th two small earthquakes in eastern Ohio (M2.6 and M3.0) prompted the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to halt operations at seven nearby gas wells. Industry responded that hundreds of wells have been drilled in the Utica Shale using hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling without incident.

Related: Utica Shale well density

Magnitude 6.9 Earthquake Off the California Coast
March 11, 2014 | San Jose Mercury News

A magnitude 6.9 earthquake occurred off the coast of California. Fortunately it was about 50 miles from land, which reduced the impact on coastline communities.

Human Induced Earthquakes Triggering Even Larger Quakes?
March 9, 2014 | USGS

“Scientists observed that a human-induced magnitude 5.0 earthquake near Prague, Oklahoma in November 2011 may have triggered the larger M5.7 earthquake less than a day later. This research suggests that the M5.7 quake was the largest human-caused earthquake associated with wastewater injection.”

What Your Homeowner’s Insurance Does Not Cover
March 4, 2014 |

Most homeowners insurance policies have exclusions that make them worthless when the home is damaged by common geologic problems such as floods, earthquakes, landslides, mine subsidence, cavern collapse and expansive soils. When a home is damaged the homeowner often is surprised that his “all perils” policy has these exclusions.

Oklahoma Earthquake Time-Lapse Map
February 23, 2014 |

This animated map of Oklahoma Earthquakes between 2004 and present shows an increase in size and frequency starting in late 2009.

No Earthquake Deaths in Alaska Since 1964
February 23, 2014 | Anchorage Daily News

The last deadly earthquake in Alaska occurred in 1964. It killed 131 people in Alaska and 16 more by tsunamis in Oregon and California. In the last 50 years there have been no earthquake deaths in Alaska even though several large earthquakes have occurred. Has that been luck?

Reviewing the New Madrid Earthquakes
February 4, 2014 |

An article on the website looks back at the New Madrid, Missouri earthquakes of 1811 and 1812 (the strongest earthquakes in the recorded history of the conterminous 48 states) and looks forward to the possibility that similar events might occur in the future.

Natural Hazards of 2013
February 2, 2014 | USGS

USGS has a short review of how a variety of natural hazards influenced the United States during calendar year 2013.

New Madrid is not Slowing Down
January 30, 2014 | USGS

Earthquake activity in the New Madrid Seismic Zone in the central United States does not seem to be slowing down.

USGS investigates whether current quakes in the region could be aftershocks of large earthquakes that occurred 200 years earlier.” Quoted from the USGS press release.

Protecting Holy Land Sites from Earthquakes
January 23, 2014 | The Washington Post

The Washington Post has an article that explains how the Holy Land is vulnerable to powerful earthquakes and efforts that might help protect historical structures.

The Largest US Earthquake
January 21, 2014 | USGS on YouTube

USGS has released a new video that looks back at the Magnitude 9.2 event now known as “The 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake and Tsunami”. This event changed scientific understanding of earthquakes because it was the first major earthquake that was studied from a plate tectonics perspective.

How Hard Will Vancouver Shake?
January 21, 2014 | The Vancouver Sun

“New research is shaking up the entire notion of what could happen to the Vancouver area during an earthquake, indicating bridges and tall buildings would rattle and sway a whole lot more than previously thought.” Quoted from The Vancouver Sun article.

Ice Quake in Wisconsin?
January 14, 2014 | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Check out this photo of a Wisconsin resident measuring a 100-foot-long “fault” caused by an “ice quake”.

Another article with a video here. Lots of news accounts here.

Northridge Earthquake Web Exhibit
January 14, 2014 |

“The Northridge 20 Virtual Exhibit website presents teachable moments – to learn and reflect, to share and to act. Teeming with content, graphics and video recounting the events of January 1994, this exhibit seeks to empower and motivate us to make ourselves safer in future earthquakes.” Quoted from

Mapping the Hollywood Fault
January 9, 2014 | Los Angeles Times

The California Geological Survey has released new maps that show the Hollywood Fault trending under sites where major developments are planned. Read the article here and see the maps here.

Related: Google Map of the San Andreas Fault

What Causes Earthquake Lights?
January 7, 2014 |

“A new catalogue of earthquake lights — mysterious glows sometimes reported before or during seismic shaking — finds that they happen most often in geological rift environments, where the ground is pulling apart.” Quoted from the Nature article.

Hear Earthquakes Triggered by the Bingham Canyon Mine Landslide
January 7, 2014 | The University of Utah

“Last year’s gigantic landslide at a Utah copper mine probably was the biggest nonvolcanic slide in North America’s modern history, and included two rock avalanches that happened 90 minutes apart and surprisingly triggered 16 small earthquakes.” Quoted from The University of Utah press release.

The story is accompanied by a sound file that allows you to hear the second rock avalanche followed by three earthquakes.

Successfully Forecasting the Size and Location of an Earthquake?
January 1, 2014 | Georgia Tech

“Scientists using GPS to study changes in the Earth’s shape accurately forecasted the size and location of the magnitude 7.6 Nicoya earthquake that occurred in 2012 in Costa Rica.” Quoted from the Georgia Tech press release.

Dissipation of Energy by Deep Earthquakes
December 29, 2013 | NBC News

“An investigation of the most powerful earthquake ever recorded deep within the Earth suggests deep quakes may be better at dissipating pent-up energy than similar quakes near the surface.” Quoted from the NBC News story.

Seattle Buildings at Risk of Landslides
December 22, 2013 | University of Washington

“The next big earthquake on the Seattle fault could trigger destructive landslides in the city, potentially affecting a much larger area than previously thought, and in areas outside those currently considered to be landslide prone.” Quoted from the University of Washington press release.

NASA Hazard Warning Systems
December 12, 2013 | NASA

“Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have enhanced existing GPS technologies to develop new systems for California and elsewhere to warn of hazards from earthquakes, tsunamis and extreme weather events.” Quoted from the NASA press release.

Failure of the Midcontinent Rift
December 10, 2013 |

Researchers are working to determine the cause of The Midcontinent Rift that began to tear what is now North America apart about one billion years ago and then failed.

Can CO2 Injection Trigger Earthquakes?
December 8, 2013 | The University of Texas at Austin

“A new study correlates a series of small earthquakes near Snyder, Texas between 2006 and 2011 with the underground injection of large volumes of gas, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2) — a finding that is relevant to the process of capturing and storing CO2 underground.” Quoted from the Jackson School of Geosciences press release.

The Largest Recorded Fault Slip
December 8, 2013 | National Geographic

The 2011 earthquake that produced the tsunami that devastated parts of Japan was the largest slip ever recorded and occurred on a fault that was lubricated with clay.

Zoom in on the San Andreas Fault
December 5, 2013 |

After being down for a couple of days for a software update, our interactive San Andreas Fault map is back in action. You can use it to follow the approximate trace of the fault from the Salton Sea in Southern California to near Shelter Cove, north of San Francisco. For more information about the San Andreas Fault visit, a website by Dr. David Lynch, who provided data used to make the interactive map.

USGS image
M7.8 Earthquake in the Scotia Sea
November 17, 2013 | USGS

“The November 17, 2013 earthquake in the Scotia Sea, to the northwest of the South Orkney Islands, occurred as the result of either left-lateral strike slip faulting on an east-west oriented plane, or right-lateral faulting on a north-south plane. [...] The November 17 earthquake is the latest in a series of moderate-to-large earthquakes to strike the same region over the past several days.” Quoted from the USGS earthquake summary. No tsunami advisories were issued.

Quarry Blast Triggered Release of Tectonic Strain?
November 17, 2013 | ABC Local

On November 4 people throughout the Chicago area were frightened by ground motion that was thought to have been a powerful blast at a quarry south of the city. Now, USGS believes that a small blast at the quarry may have triggered an earthquake about seven seconds later.

Earthquake BOOMS in Oklahoma
November 5, 2013 |

Many residents of Oklahoma are reporting that events in the earthquake swarm occurring there produce large noises that sound like thunder. An Oklahoma Geological Survey staff member addresses the noise in this article.

(Since January 2009, more than 200 magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes have rattled Central Oklahoma. See the USGS report here.)

Quarry Blast Frightens Chicago?
November 5, 2013 | Chicago Tribune

At shortly after noon today, people throughout the Chicago area were frightened because they thought that an earthquake was occurring. A USGS scientist reported that it appeared to be an unusually strong quarry blast south of Chicago. A portion of the USGS “Did you feel it?” map is shown below with more USGS data here. People as far away as Wisconsin and Indiana claimed that they felt the shaking.

Gas Injection Triggering Small Earthquakes?
November 4, 2013 | The University of Texas at Austin

“A new study correlates a series of small earthquakes near Snyder, Texas between 2006 and 2011 with the underground injection of large volumes of gas, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2) — a finding that is relevant to the process of capturing and storing CO2 underground.” Quoted from the University of Texas at Austin press release.

Hazard: Landslides Triggered by Earthquakes in Seattle
October 23, 2013 | University of Washington

“The next big earthquake on the Seattle Fault could trigger destructive landslides in the city, potentially affecting a much larger area than previously thought, and in areas outside those currently considered to be landslide prone.” Quoted from the University of Washington press release.

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