Archive for the ‘Earthquakes’ Category

illkirch 1er forage de géothermie

Image credit: Jérôme Dorkel – Eurométropole de Strasbourg

Home owner insurance claims are pouring in. The local ‘net zero’ emissions plan is in serious trouble.
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A series of minor human-induced earthquakes in the area of Strasbourg, eastern France, last December has reminded local inhabitants about the safety of geothermal energy, highlighting the challenges faced by deep drilling technology, says Euractiv.

In December, the area around Strasbourg was shaken by several induced tremors, including one of 3.5 magnitude, after a geothermal company carrying out tests injected high-pressure water into the ground earlier in the autumn.

Induced earthquakes – those caused by human activity – had begun since tests started in the Alsace region in October at the geothermal plant operated by Fonroche, a French energy company.

The tremors were directly linked to the starting-up activities of the plant, said the French association of geothermal professionals, the AFPG.

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Lava fields of the Reykjanes Peninsula [image credit: Vincent van Zeijst @ Wikipedia]


24th February: ‘Southwestern Iceland was rocked by a series of earthquakes’, reported DW.com. ‘Experts say shocks from the quake, which registered 5.7 in magnitude, sparked increased volcanic activity, triggering a number of aftershocks registering over 4.0 for hours after the initial quake hit.

“It’s an intense activity zone, we are all well aware of that but I’ve never experienced or felt so many strong earthquakes in such a short period of time. It’s unusual,” as the Icelandic Meteorological Office’s (IMO) earthquake hazards coordinator Kristin Jonsdottir told Icelandic public broadcaster RUV.’

The article below appeared five days ago.
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“If an eruption occurs, it would likely mark the beginning of such a [volcanic] period – lasting a few centuries, I believe,” states Magnús Á. Sigurgeirsson, geologist at ÍSOR Iceland GeoSurvey – a consulting and research institute in the field of geothermal sciences and utilization.

“That’s at least how it has been the past three times, and even dating further back, but we don’t have as exact data available on that,” he tells Iceland Monitor.

He is referring to the uncertainty regarding whether an eruption can be expected soon on the Reykjanes peninsula, Southwest Iceland.

Magnús assembled data on the past three volcanic periods in the area. These were 3,000-3,500 years ago, 1,900-2,400 years ago, and finally between the years 800 and 1240 AD.

His information is based on geological maps of the Reykjanes peninsula and on a comprehensive book on volcanic eruptions in Iceland called Nátt­úru­vá á Íslandi, eld­gos og jarðskjálft­ar.

Research reveals that during the latter part of Holocene – a term used to describe a period that began about 11,700 years ago – the volcanic systems on the Reykjanes peninsula have erupted every 900 to 1100 years.

Less is known about the first part of Holocene.

Each eruption period appears to have lasted about 500 years, and during that time most of the volcanic systems appear to have been active, albeit generally not simultaneously. The volcanic activity is characterized by eruptions that each last a few decades. Lava flows from volcanic fissures that can be as long as 12 km (7.5 mi).

On the Reykjanes peninsula, there are six volcanic systems, lined up side by side, pointing from southwest to northeast. Farthest west is that of Reykjanes, then those of Svartsengi, Fagradalsfjall mountain, Krýsuvík, Brennisteinsfjöll mountains and, finally, Hengill mountain.

The last volcanic period began around the year 800 in Brennisteinsfjöll mountains and in the Krýsuvík system, creating the lava fields of Hvammahraun and Hrútafellshraun.

Full article here.
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Update: Lava eruption from long-dormant Icelandic volcano (MARCH 20, 2021) — close to Fagradalsfjall mountain

Geothermal Power Plant in Iceland [image credit: Wikipedia]


Tapping into geothermal energy always seems like one of those ideas that maybe works in a few local areas, but won’t make a massive difference on the global scale. There’s also its earthquake problem to dent the enthusiasm of climate-obsessed ‘green’ ideologists.
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Drilling holes into an extinct volcano might sound like an unusual start to an energy project, says BBC News.

But that’s what J Michael Palin, a senior lecturer at the University of Otago in New Zealand, is planning to do.

His project involves drilling two boreholes to a depth of 500m (1,600ft) and monitoring the rock to see if it is suitable to provide geothermal energy.

“It has been known for some time that the Dunedin region has surface heat flow about 30% higher than expected based on previous measurements,” says Dr Palin.

It is that free heat that Dr Palin is hoping to tap into.

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Solar flare erupting from a sunspot [image credit: space.com]


The idea being proposed is described as a reverse piezo-electrical effect.
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Ground-shaking earthquakes occur all across the globe. And according to a new study, many of them might be triggered by the Sun, says Astronomy.com.

Through decades of research, scientists have learned that large, powerful earthquakes commonly occur in groups, not in random patterns. But exactly why has so far remained a mystery.

Now, new research, published July 13 in Scientific Reviews, asserts the first strong — though still disputed — evidence that powerful eruptions on the Sun can trigger mass earthquake events on Earth.

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This twitter video caught my eye last night, it was taken near Miami a few nights ago. It shows mysterious lights, confirmed from many sources and featured on national US TV channels where it’s reported answers are being demanded from the Pentagon.

Then today my physicist friend Mike McCulloch posted a tweet about some similar phenomena which have been observed for many years in Norway.

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[click on image to enlarge]


Fractals linked to earthquakes. Is that a first?

The timing of large, shallow earthquakes across the globe follows a mathematical pattern known as the devil’s staircase, according to a new study of seismic sequences.

Previously, scientists and their models have theorized that earthquake sequences happen periodically or quasi-periodically, following cycles of growing tension and release.

Researchers call it the elastic rebound model, says UPI.

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Mount Etna, Sicily


The article says: ‘Every 6.4 years, the axes line up and the wobble fades for a short time.’ This looks a lot like 5.4 Chandler wobbles (CW), so you would have 6.4 years minus 5.4 CW = 1 cycle, i.e. 32:27 ratio = 5 (32-27) cycles.
Much more analysis of this time period and related matters in this 2013 Talkshop post:
Ian Wilson: Solar System Timings Evolved Lunar Orbital Elements Linked to Earth’s Chandler Wobble
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New research suggests forces pulling on Earth’s surface as the planet spins may trigger earthquakes and eruptions at volcanoes, reports Phys.org.

Seismic activity and bursts of magma near Italy’s Mount Etna increased when Earth’s rotational axis was furthest from its geographic axis, according to a new study comparing changes in Earth’s rotation to activity at the well-known Italian volcano.

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1989 Loma Prieta earthquake damage [image credit: H.G. Wilshire, U.S. Geological Survey]


Smaller quakes seem to have taken over, for the time being at least. The Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989 in Northern California had a magnitude of 6.9 but was not considered to be ‘major’, despite some deaths and billions of dollars worth of damage.

There have been no major ground rupturing earthquakes along California’s three highest slip rate faults in the past 100 years, reports ScienceDaily.

A new study concludes that this current ‘hiatus’ has no precedent in the past 1000 years.

U.S. Geological Survey researchers Glenn Biasi and Kate Scharer analyzed long paleoseismic records from the San Andreas, San Jacinto and Hayward Faults for the past 1000 years, to determine how likely it might be to have a 100-year gap in earthquakes across the three faults.

They found that the gap was very unlikely — along the lines of a 0.3% chance of occurring, given the seismic record of the past 1000 years.

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National flag of South Korea

Is this the end for ‘enhanced’ geothermal technology? Note this quake was 1,000 times stronger than the next one of similar causes.

The nation’s energy ministry expressed ‘deep regret’, and said it would dismantle the experimental plant, as Nature News reports.

A South Korean government panel has concluded that a magnitude-5.4 earthquake that struck the city of Pohang on 15 November 2017 was probably caused by an experimental geothermal power plant.

The panel was convened under presidential orders and released its findings on 20 March.

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The ability to recognize patterns in Earth’s behaviour by sifting through masses of geological data could be programmed into machines.

Scientists seeking to understand Earth’s inner clockwork have deployed armies of sensors listening for signs of slips, rumbles, exhales and other disturbances emanating from the planet’s deepest faults to its tallest volcanoes.

“We measure the motion of the ground continuously, typically collecting 100 samples per second at hundreds to thousands of instruments,” said Stanford geophysicist Gregory Beroza. “It’s just a huge flux of data.”

Yet scientists’ ability to extract meaning from this information has not kept pace, reports Phys.org.

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Ring of Fire earthquake zone [image credit: BBC]


The understanding of the processes may be lacking, but the evidence is there according to researchers.

New research shows that a big earthquake can not only cause other quakes, but large ones, and on the opposite side of the Earth, reports ScienceDaily.

The findings, published today in Scientific Reports, are an important step toward improved short-term earthquake forecasting and risk assessment.

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Nepal Earthquake [image credit: BBC]


Back to the drawing board for earthquake forecasting, by the sound of it.

A new study questions previous findings about the value of foreshocks as warning signs that a big earthquake is coming, instead showing them to be indistinguishable from ordinary earthquakes, reports Science Daily.

No one can predict when or where an earthquake will strike, but in 2011 scientists thought they had evidence that tiny underground tremors called foreshocks could provide important clues. If true, it suggested seismologists could one day warn people of impending temblors.

But a new study published in the online June 4 issue of Nature Geoscience by scientists at Stanford University and Bogaziçi University in Turkey has cast doubt on those earlier findings and on the predictive value of foreshocks.

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Earthquake zones in Chile [image credit: lahistoriaconmapas.com]


One finding was that ‘giant earthquakes (like the one in 1960) re-occur every 292 ±93 years’. Coincidentally or not, these numbers seem to align with lunar apsidal cycles (33 ±10.5).

By analyzing sediment cores from Chilean lakes, an international team of scientists discovered that giant earthquakes reoccur with relatively regular intervals, reports Phys.org.

When also taking into account smaller earthquakes, the repeat interval becomes increasingly more irregular to a level where earthquakes happen randomly in time.

“In 1960, South-Central Chile was hit by the largest known quake on Earth with a magnitude of 9.5. Its tsunami was so massive that –in addition to inundating the Chilean coastline– it travelled across the Pacific Ocean and even killed about 200 persons in Japan,” says Jasper Moernaut, an assistant professor at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, and lead author of the study. “Understanding when and where such devastating giant earthquakes may occur in the future is a crucial task for the geoscientific community”.

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Flooding in New Zealand, 2017 [image credit: BBC]


The role of social media in mitigating the human cost of natural disasters may also have been significant.

About 30,000 people die from natural disasters per year. This year, the number was closer to 6,000, writes Seth Borenstein in the Toronto Star.

North America couldn’t catch a break in 2017. Parts of the United States were on fire, underwater or lashed by hurricane winds. Mexico shook with back-to-back earthquakes. The Caribbean got hit with a string of hurricanes.

The rest of the world, however, was spared more than usual from the drumbeat of natural catastrophes. Preliminary research shows there were fewer disasters and deaths this year than on average, but economic damages were much higher.

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Sun at solar system barycentre 1990 [via Arnholm’s solar simulator]


H/T Michele Casati

INFLUENCE OF SOLAR RETROGRADE MOTION ON TERRESTRIAL PROCESSES
N.S.Sidorenkov, Ian Wilson

ABSTRACT. The influence of solar retrograde motion on secular minima of solar activity, volcanic eruptions, climate changes, and other terrestrial processes is investigated. Most collected data suggest that secular minima of solar activity, powerful volcanic eruptions, significant climate changes, and catastrophic earthquakes occur around events of solar retrograde motion.

Keywords: barycentric motion of the sun; secular minima of solar activity, volcanic eruptions, climate changes; the historical process of humankind.

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Nepal Earthquake [image credit: BBC]


The research suggests that both magnitude and frequency of earthquakes are related to plate collision speed.

Earthquakes that happen in densely populated mountainous regions, such as the Himalaya, spell bigger earthquakes because of a fast tectonic-plate collision, according to a new study reported at Phys.org.

Researchers from Geophysical Fluid Dynamics – ETH Zürich in Switzerland, say their findings give people a more complete view of the risk of earthquakes in mountainous regions.

The new study shows that the frequency and magnitude of large earthquakes in the densely populated regions close to mountain chains – such as the Alps, Apennines, Himalaya and Zagros – depend on the collision rate of the smaller tectonic plates.

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Damage on a farm caused by the Kekerengu fault [image credit: GNS Science]


One scientist said of the Papatea fault: “You can call it bonkers; it’s certainly a real puzzle.”

The big earthquake that struck New Zealand last year may have been the most complex ever, say scientists.

November’s Magnitude 7.8 event ruptured a near-200km-long swathe of territory, shifting parts of NZ’s South Island 5m closer to North Island, reports BBC News.

Whole blocks of ground were buckled and lifted upwards, in places by up to 8m. Subsequent investigations have found that at least 12 separate faults broke during the quake, including some that had not previously been mapped.

Writing up its findings in the journal Science, an international team says the Kaikoura event, as it has become known, should prompt a rethink about how earthquakes are expected to behave in high-risk regions such as New Zealand.
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New Zealand quake ruptured 6 faults

Posted: November 19, 2016 by oldbrew in Earthquakes, Geology

Region of most recent New Zealand earthquakes [credit: BBC]

Region of most recent New Zealand earthquakes [credit: BBC]


It seems the earthquake has reduced stress in some areas, but other parts may well have more than before. One expert said “The whole coast appears to have been uplifted”. LiveScience reporting.

The magnitude-7.8 quake that rattled New Zealand, killing at least two people and stranding thousands of people, completely transformed the underlying faults in the region. Six major faults ruptured as a result of the New Zealand quake, a new map reveals.

The Kaikoura earthquake struck the South Island of New Zealand early in the morning on Nov. 14 local time, triggering landslides, tsunamis and hundreds of aftershocks. And thousands of people were stranded when earthquake detritus dammed a river. During the quake, bystanders captured images of mysterious earthquake lights painting the sky in eerie blue and green.

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Italian earthquake series continues [image credit: Fox News]

Italian earthquake series continues [image credit: Fox News]

The latest Italian earthquake fortunately seems to have killed no-one but at magnitude 6.6 was a strong one. In Rome ‘The metro was halted for hours and the Colosseum was being checked for damage.’

What next? The Daily Telegraph consults an expert.

The earthquakes that have buffeted central Italy over the last two months could continue in a devastating domino effect with one large quake leading to another along the central Apennine fault system, a leading seismologist has warned.

The latest earthquake on Sunday morning caused no known casualties but was the strongest to hit Italy, one of the world’s most seismically active countries, since 1980.

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Tim writes,

Image

Figure 1, plot from http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/communities/space-weather-enthusiasts

Earthquake at 01:36 UT

Once again the spectre of space weather correlation with earthquakes turns up.

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