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Plate Tectonics Current Events


The Contraction of Mercury
April 10, 2014 | Carnegie Institution for Science

“Unlike Earth, with its numerous tectonic plates, Mercury has a single rigid, top rocky layer. [...] New global imaging and topographic data from MESSENGER show that the innermost planet has contracted far more than previous estimates.” Quoted from the Carnegie Institution for Science press release.

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.

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.

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.

Land Below Sea Level
March 16, 2014 | Geology.com

Did you know that there are seven distinct depressions on Earth that are over 100 meters below sea level, and twenty-three that are over 10 meters below sea level and ten more that are at least two meters below sea level? We have a google map that points to ten of these depressions and a list of the remaining locations.

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.

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.

Northridge Earthquake Web Exhibit
January 14, 2014 | EarthquakeCountry.org

“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 EarthquakeCountry.org.

Most Popular Items for December
January 2, 2014 | Geology.com

The Saturn Hexagon?

The Utah Supervolcano

What is Ammolite?

Landslide on an Incredible Scale

Failure of the Midcontinent Rift

Zoom in on the San Andreas Fault

Price of Gold Falling

Size of the Yellowstone Magma Chamber Severely Underestimated?

Salaries and Employment of Recent Geoscience Graduates

The Largest Recorded Fault Slip

How Do They Steer the Horizontal Drill?

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.

A Hotspot Under Antarctica?
December 12, 2013 | Live Science

Researchers have discovered a slow velocity zone under the Marie Byrd Land area of Antarctica, which together with volcanoes above and below the ice suggest the presence of a hotspot.

Failure of the Midcontinent Rift
December 10, 2013 | Nature.com

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.

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.

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.

Deep Sea Internet Has Geological Applications
October 17, 2013 | University at Buffalo

“University at Buffalo researchers are developing a deep-sea Internet. The technological breakthrough could lead to improvements in tsunami detection, offshore oil and natural gas exploration, surveillance, pollution monitoring and other activities.” Quoted from the University at Buffalo press release.

Granitizers vs Magmatists
October 13, 2013 | Scientific American

A Scientific American article explores some of the early investigations into the origin of igneous rocks.

Related: What is Granite?

Understanding Deep Earthquakes
October 10, 2013 | Argonne National Laboratory

“Scientists broke new ground in the study of deep earthquakes, a poorly understood phenomenon that occurs where the oceanic lithosphere, driven by tectonics, plunges under continental plates – examples are off the coasts of the western United States, Russia and Japan.” Quoted from the Argonne National Laboratory press release.

Crustal Processes in the Himalaya
September 25, 2013 | Speaking of Geoscience Blog

The Speaking of Geoscience blog has an interesting article that explores crustal deformation in the Himalaya.

USGS Image
Magnitude 7.7 Earthquake Kills Over 200 in Pakistan
September 25, 2013 | The Weather Channel

At least 200 people were killed by a magnitude 7.7 earthquake in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province.

MUD VOLCANO?

There is a report that a mud volcano formed an island off the coast in the Arabian Sea at the same time that the earthquake was occurring. The Weather Channel video has comments on this from a USGS scientist.

The Largest Deep Earthquake Ever Recorded
September 22, 2013 | University of California Santa Cruz

“A magnitude 8.3 earthquake that struck deep beneath the Sea of Okhotsk on May 24, 2013, has left seismologists struggling to explain how it happened. At a depth of about 609 kilometers (378 miles), the intense pressure on the fault should inhibit the kind of rupture that took place.” Quoted from the University of California Santa Cruz press release.

Links Between Tectonics and Invasive Species
September 12, 2013 | Ohio University

A new study from Ohio University investigates links between Appalachian tectonics and how invasive species disrupted the Ordovician fossil record of what is now eastern North America.

Popular Stories for July 15 to July 31
August 3, 2013 | Geology.com

Sinkhole Photos – Wow!

Debris Flow in Southern Utah

The Strangest Volcanic Landscape

Thousands of Volcanoes in Arizona?

An Embryonic Subduction Zone in the Atlantic?

The Geologist Who Discovered Canadian Diamonds

Missing-Mantle Mystery

Top Diamond Producers

An Embryonic Subduction Zone in the Atlantic?
July 31, 2013 | Monash University

“A new subduction zone forming off the coast of Portugal heralds the beginning of a cycle that will see the Atlantic Ocean close as continental Europe moves closer to America.” Quoted from the Monash University press release.

Waste Injection Tremors Triggered by Distant Earthquakes?
July 17, 2013 | Columbia University

“Large earthquakes from distant parts of the globe are setting off tremors around waste-fluid injection wells in the central United States…” Quoted from the Columbia University press release.

Gemstones and Plate Tectonics
June 18, 2013 | Geology

A recent article in Geology explains how the global distributions of jadeite and ruby are strongly associated with certain types of plate boundaries.

Earthquake Acoustics and Tsunami Warnings
June 11, 2013 | Stanford University

“Stanford scientists have identified key acoustic characteristics of the 2011 Japan earthquake that indicated it would cause a large tsunami. The technique could be applied worldwide to create an early warning system for massive tsunamis.” Quoted from the Stanford University press release.

Most Popular May 16 to May 31
June 4, 2013 | Geology.com

When Did Plate Tectonics Begin?

Large Impact on the Moon

Mount St. Helens – 33 Years

Popocatepetl Eruption

History of the Prime Meridian

The Orphan Tsunami of 1700

Magnitude 7 Earthquake Happening Now Under New Zealand
June 3, 2013 | GeoNet.org.nz

“To the west of Wellington, the equivalent of a magnitude 7 earthquake is happening right now, 40 km below ground. This would be Wellington’s largest earthquake in 150 years, yet nothing is felt at the surface.” Quoted from the GeoNet press release.

New Roadside Geology of Georgia
May 30, 2013 | Geology.com Store

Pamela Gore and William Witherspoon have recently published “Roadside Geology of Georgia“, a new guidebook in the Mountain Press Roadside Geology Series.

This is a field guidebook for the state of Georgia with road logs and maps that describe the physical and historical geology.

When Did Plate Tectonics Begin?
May 27, 2013 | Speaking of Geoscience

An interesting essay titled: “When did Plate Tectonics begin on Earth, and what came before?” by Robert J. Stern has been posted on the Speaking of Geoscience blog.

The Orphan Tsunami of 1700
May 20, 2013 | Smithsonian.com

Smithsonian.com has an article about Japan’s Orphan Tsunami (“orphan” because it was then unlinked to any earthquake) and how it was connected to an earthquake on the Cascadia Subduction Zone.

The Erosion and Tectonics Project
April 12, 2013 | American Museum of Natural History

The Erosion and Tectonics Project team is working to document “one paradox of geology – that weathering a mountain down can actually make it rise higher.”

Aerial Views of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge
March 28, 2013 | The Landslide Blog

Dave Petley shares some aerial photographs of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge taken from a helicopter over Iceland.

The Lubricant for Tectonic Plates?
March 20, 2013 | Scripps News

“Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have found a layer of liquefied molten rock in Earth’s mantle that may be acting as a lubricant for the sliding motions of the planet’s massive tectonic plates.” Quoted from the Scripps press release.

Mount Cleveland: One of the Most Active Volcanoes in the Aleutian Arc
March 6, 2013 | Geology.com

Mount Cleveland is an active stratovolcano in a remote part of the Aleutian Islands. Eruptions there can produce ash plumes that are a threat to air traffic.

Faces of Earth Videos
March 3, 2013 | American Geosciences Institute

The American Geosciences Institute has posted four “Faces of Earth” videos on their YouTube channel.

Check them out!

February: Most Popular News Items
March 1, 2013 | Geology.com

The India-Asia Collision (MIT News)

Earth Flyby Reality Check (NASA)

68,000-Year Record of Greenhouse Gases (NSF)

Meteoroid Explodes Over Russia – Hundreds Injured (CNN)

What is Killing the Coral? (NSF)

Underwater Logging (Takepart.com)

Ancient Eruptions and Global Warming (Climate Central)

Topographic Relief in the Southern Appalachians
February 21, 2013 | GSA Today

The new featured article in GSA Today: Miocene rejuvenation of topographic relief in the southern Appalachians.

The India-Asia Collision
February 12, 2013 | MIT News

“India came running full speed at Asia and boom, they collided,” says Jagoutz, an author of the paper.

“But we actually don’t think it was one collision … this changes dramatically the way we think the India/Asia collision works.”

Quoted from the MIT press release.

How Deep Does Magma Form?
January 15, 2013 | National Science Foundation

“Magma forms far deeper than geologists previously thought. [...] A study simulating pressures in the mantle beneath the ocean floor shows that rocks can melt at depths up to 250 kilometers.” Quoted from the NSF press release.

M6.1 Earthquake on the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge
January 15, 2013 | USGS Earthquake Hazards Program

Earthquakes stronger than M6.0 are unusual on a mid-ocean ridge.

USGS reports that a M6.1 earthquake occurred on the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge today at about 11:00 AM local time.

Creeping Fault Research
January 13, 2013 | Caltech

“New Caltech research suggests creeping faults can turn destructive which could explain the unexpectedly large 2011 earthquake in Japan and give new insight on potential future quakes along the San Andreas Fault. In contrast to some current theories, the research suggests that earthquake ruptures might not stop at creeping fault segments—which are considered stable—instead activating the supposedly stable segments and triggering a bigger quake with more destructive power across a large area.” Quoted from a Caltech media release.

We are constantly looking for interesting items related to geology and general science. When we find something interesting we share it here. Bookmark this page and visit often. You can also receive our news for free by RSS feed or email. We publish updates three or four days per week.





Homeowners InsuranceHomeowners Insurance usually does not cover damage caused by floods, landslides, earthquakes and other geohazards.
frac sandFrac Sand is a high-purity silica sand used in hydraulic fracturing to enhance the flow of oil and gas from tight rock units.
Diamond formationDiamonds from Coal? Diamonds form under a variety of conditions that rarely involve coal as a source of carbon.
fluorescent mineralsFluorescent Minerals glow with spectacular colors when illuminated in the dark with an ultraviolet lamp.
Uses of heliumHelium is a byproduct of the natural gas industry. Its most important use is in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines.
Canada diamond minesCanada Diamond Mines: Canada is the third largest producer of gem-quality diamonds in the world.
Utica shaleUtica Shale: New wells in eastern Ohio prove that the Utica Shale will be a major source of natural gas and natural gas liquids.
Green River fossilsSpectacular Fossils of the Green River Formation. Some of the world's best-preserved fossil fish from an intermountain lake.
OpalOpals: Gem quality opal is one of the most spectacular gemstones. A single stone can flash with every color of the spectrum.
NovaruptaMost Powerful Eruption of the 20th Century: People in Juneau heard the volcanic blast - over one hour after it occurred.


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