Category Archives: geophysics

Why does a compass point north? A mystery at the heart of the story of science (book review)

Strange as it might seem, I’m finding North Pole, South Pole, paleomagnetist Gillian Turner’s newly published account of “the epic quest to solve the great mystery of Earth’s magnetism”, a difficult book to review. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy … Continue reading

Categories: geophysics, palaeomagic, public science, reviews

Earthquake ‘precursors’ and the curse of the false positive

Whenever you read a story that describes some phenomenon that preceded a large earthquake, and dangles the carrot of true earthquake prediction, don’t just look at the headline event. Check for false positives. Continue reading

Categories: earthquakes, geohazards, geophysics

Aftershocks of the Sendai earthquake

On a map of global earthquake activity, Japan rather stands out right now: a pulsing boil of seismic activity that all but drowns out the shaking in the rest of the world. As of a few hours ago (5pm Central … Continue reading

Categories: basics, earthquakes, geophysics

Shaking in Christchurch boosted by seismic lensing?

Even taking into account how close the rupture point of Tuesday’s earthquake was to Christchurch, the intensity of the shaking – and the amount of damage that the city suffered as a consequence – seems to be very high for … Continue reading

Categories: earthquakes, geohazards, geophysics

Friday Focal Mechanism: Magnitude 7.2, Western Pakistan

Why are we getting an extensional earthquake at a convergent plate boundary? Continue reading

Categories: earthquakes, focal mechanisms, geophysics, tectonics