Archive for the ‘Earthquakes’ Category


From Buzzfeed

LOS ANGELES — A shallow magnitude-5.1 earthquake struck the Los Angeles area Friday night, causing minor damage and injuries, scattered power outages, and gas leaks.

The earthquake occurred at 9:09 p.m. at a depth of 4.6 miles and was centered near Brea in Orange County — about 20 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. It was immediately followed by dozens of aftershocks, including a 3.4 and 3.6 magnitude.


From the London Evening Standard:

Energy Minister Michael Fallon: The South East must accept fracking
Joe Murphy, Political Editor

nimbyThe South East must accept shale gas exploration for the sake of Britain’s economic future, Energy Minister Michael Fallon declared today.

He stepped after Surrey-based peer Lord Howell caused outrage by saying “desolate” areas of the North East should be targeted instead.

“It cannot be right to confine it to areas of the industrial North,” he told the Evening Standard.

“Shale exists under towns, villages and countryside. Shale gas is everywhere and could well be in quantity under attractive areas of the country as well as industrial areas.”

The Tory minister was cool about the remarks made by Lord Howell of Guildford, who is George Osborne’s father in law and a former Energy Secretary.

“He has apologised and it’s probably best left there,” he said. Lord Howell has been widely condemned by northern politicians and bishops for suggesting drilling should avoid the South.


It’s a big one. I hope the people there got clear of buldings in time. UPDATE from Reuters below the break.



Talkshop Regular Michele Casati noted this event in comments yesterday, saying:

A sad example…. Yesterday very low solar wind (250 Km/s.) Today geomagnetic disturbance
rog, I’ve had great fear …earthquake near Lucca(Tuscany) Italy
Magnitude 5.0 – NORTHERN ITALY

Lucca_01It’s also worth noting that as well as the low solar windspeed, last night was a full Moon, four days after Lunar Apogee. The 5.8 Earthquake which hit Northern Italy on May 20 last year occurred one day after Lunar Apogee and one day before the New Moon. These are direct alignments of Sun, Earth and Moon when the Moon is near a distance turning point.

The following info is reposted from Alex Roe’s excellent English language blog,  the ‘Italy Chronicles’

Earthquake near Lucca in Tuscany

JANUARY 25, 2013 BY  

The 4.8 magnitude tremor was felt in Florence and Milan

A few minutes ago via twitter I was told by one of my followers in Pistoia that Florence andPisa had been rattled by an earthquake. A quick search revealed that a magnitude 4.8 or so tremor hit at 15:48 Italian time.

The epicentre was some 13 miles (30 kilometres) north of seaside town Viareggio and not far from Lucca. A list of the places within the earthquake zone can be found on Il Post here: Terremoto tra Toscana ed Emilia


Here’s an entertaining and informative piece from the Register’s Andrew Orlowski on the new dash for shale gas:

Frack me! UK shale gas bonanza ‘bigger than North Sea oil’
Andrew Orlowski – Dec 14 2012

Blackpools-Shale-Gas-Dril-007The government has given the go-ahead for further exploration of the UK’s shale gas reserves. Independent surveys suggest these reserves may yield more energy for the nation than North Sea oil.

The shale gas will be collected using induced hydraulic fracturing, known as “fracking”, which splits rocks thousands of feet below ground using high-pressure liquid.

This is a defeat for environmentalist activists and the powerful renewables lobby – but they have a valuable consolation prize few have noticed. Under the proposed regulatory regime, during the fracking process any tremors that measure 0.5 or higher on the Richter scale may trigger an automatic halt to operations under a “traffic light” scheme outlined by the Lib Dem energy minister Ed Davey.

What does this mean? Well, tremors below magnitude 3.0 are considered to be barely noticeable, and bear in mind that the Richter scale is logarithmic: the energy released by a tremor of magnitude 0.5 is equivalent to the energy released by a large hand grenade.

But since the “epicentre” is thousands of feet below the surface, a 0.5 event escapes the detection of all but the most sensitive seismic monitoring equipment.

Yet one 0.5 event alone will be enough to halt fracking and it can only be restarted by the minister. Which, in practice, means it’s in the hand of the fanatically pro-wind Whitehall bureaucrats at the Department of Energy and Climate Change.


From the Guardian:

fracking-toonThe chancellor, George Osborne, announced last week that the coalition would offer tax breaks to fracking firms, and intended to set up a new regulator for “unconventional gas”.

The energy secretary, Ed Davey, is shortly expected to lift restrictions on fracking at a site in Lancashire.

But Leinan, a member of the German SPD, spoke of the European parliament‘s growing concern over large-scale fracking, adding that it would pass new regulations to “manage, to discipline” the sector. He said: “There are basically only two countries where the government is behind using it. It is Poland and it is Great Britain, and Poland has not gone very fast. Then in Great Britain they give green light for industrial exploitation but they have to know what they are doing.

I don’t know if they can be so sure and clear about what they are doing.

He said.


My thanks to Hans Jelbring, who has sent me a copy of a paper by Nils Axel Morner. The paper introduces the concept of ‘Neotectonics’ and defines the epoch as beginning around 3M years ago, when we entered the current run of glacial interglacial cycles. Nils proposes the hypothesis that movements of the tectonic plates, especially in the uplift of mountainous plateaux and the closing of the strait between South america and Antarctica, amplified the effects of Milankovitch orbital cycles and resulted in a fall in Earth’s average surface temperature. I’ve provided a few excerpts here, but be sure to download and read the whole paper, it reads easily and isn’t too long.

Neotectonics, the new global tectonic regime during the last 3 ma and the initiation of ice ages

Paleogeophysics & Geodynamics, S-10691 Stockholm, Sweden

It recently became evident that the globe experienced a significantly changed tectonic
regiment from about 3.0 Ma onwards. This puts the term “neotectonics” in quite a new
perspective. We are now able to identify the last 3 Ma as characterized by generally
intensified tectonic activity. This period may hence be looked upon as a special
“neotectonic period”. Large areas were rapidly uplifted between 3.0 and 2.5 Ma. This led
to a seemingly more general lowering of the ocean floor due to an adjustment of the
geoid-oceanoid level. The tectonic reorganization 3.0-2.5 Ma ago led to the initiation of
global ice ages, the first one of which occurred at about 2.3 Ma.



My thanks to Doug Cotton, who has flagged up this paper offering a good overview of the Earth’s solar system environment, and how it is affected by it. Brent Walker is an actuary who is interested in assessing risk posed by nature. He has pulled together much f the material which interests us here at the talkshop into a single, very readable paper, which I recommend. Here’s one of the key figures from the text, to whet the appetite:

The first graph above shows the global mean thermosphere density at 400 km altitude, obtained from satellite orbital parameters over four solar cycles. Blue: 81-day centered running mean. Black: annual average. Green dotted lines: envelope of expected decrease due to increasing CO2 levels, in the range of 2% to 5% per decade, starting with the 1976 annual average. This effectively rules out changing levels of carbon dioxide as the cause of the decrease in temperature recently witnessed.

The second graph shows the Global mean thermosphere density annual average plotted as a function of the 26-34 nm solar EUV irradiance annual average measured by the SEM for the ascending (red) and descending (blue) phases of solar cycle 23. Both of these graphs were obtained from the paper: Solomon et al “Anomalously low solar extreme-ultraviolet irradiance and thermosphere density during solar minimum”. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 37, 2010


Giant Earthquake causes rise in world seismic action

Posted: October 28, 2012 by Rog Tallbloke in Earthquakes, Forecasting

With news just in of the 7.7 quake off Canada, I thought I’d draw attention to this article from

An extraordinary number of earthquakes of M4.5 and greater were triggered worldwide in the six days after the M8.6 East Indian Ocean earthquake in April 2012. These large and potentially damaging quakes, occurring as far away as Mexico and Japan, were triggered within days of the passage of seismic waves from the main shock that generated stresses in Earth’s crust.

The East Indian Ocean event was the largest — by a factor of 10 — strike-slip earthquake ever recorded (the San Andreas is perhaps the most famous strike-slip fault). “Most great earthquakes occur along subduction zones and involve large vertical motions. No other recorded earthquake triggered as many large earthquakes elsewhere around the world as this one,” said Pollitz, “probably because strike-slip faults around the globe were more responsive to the seismic waves produced by a giant strike-slip temblor.”



h/t to commenter Mark at WUWT who gave a link to a fascimile of the official report into the Fukishima nuclear accident.

[update] Users are having trouble accessing the report. On digging I discover the Japanese government complex at has a site wholly dedicated to the investigation. As of today only the executive summary and appendix are available.

English language site


Link to report at slideshare (opens in new window)