Category Archives: earthquakes

The Napa Valley quake, and why California is (geologically) not part of America at all.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, the Napa Valley region north of San Francisco was shaken by a magnitude 6 earthquake, the largest to hit this region since the magnitude 6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. An earthquake in … Continue reading

Categories: earthquakes, tectonics

Puerto Rico sends the Caribbean a sobering seismic anniversary present

Four years ago on Sunday, Haiti, and particularly its capital, Port-au-Prince, was devastated by a shallow magnitude 7.0 earthquake, which killed many tens, and possibly hundreds of thousands of people*, and left more than a million people homeless. Even today, … Continue reading

Categories: earthquakes, focal mechanisms, geohazards, society

No. Whatever it is this time, it really can’t predict earthquakes.

One of the courses I’m teaching each semester here in Kent is called ‘Earth Dynamics': an introductory-level geology course aimed at the broader undergraduate population. With that in mind, I try to identify and highlight areas where the topic at … Continue reading

Categories: earthquakes, geohazards, public science, ranting, society, teaching

In large earthquakes, the Earth moves for almost everyone

The Global Positioning System has completely revolutionised how geologists study the deformation of the Earth. If you leave a GPS receiver in a fixed location for days, months and years, it is precise enough to measure motions on the millimetre … Continue reading

Categories: earthquakes, paper reviews, tectonics

The dimensions of natural disasters

“If you’re not on a fault zone, a volcanically active zone, or a tsunami zone, you’re probably in a valley that’s prone to flooding or having things tumble down the hills towards you.” So opines risk consultant Tony Taig in … Continue reading

Categories: earthquakes, geohazards, public science