Friday, May 28, 2010

Chile Earthquake: NSF Research Grants

From the National Science Foundation, May 3, 2010:

In response to the magnitude 8.8 earthquake that occurred in Chile on February 27, 2010, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded three major Rapid Response Research (RAPID) grants to study how the quake happened, and learn from those findings for the future.

The Chile quake is the fifth largest earthquake ever recorded, and the second largest that has occurred since a modern suite of instruments was developed to collect data related to earthquakes.

"The new deployments will provide valuable data to help scientists understand earthquakes not only in Chile, but around the world," says Russ Kelz, program director in NSF's Division of Earth Sciences. "NSF is stimulating important advances in basic earthquake science, rapid-response geophysical and data communications technology, and international collaboration and data sharing."

Two NSF RAPID awards--made to a consortium of institutions including Ohio State University, California Institute of Technology, University of Hawaii, University of Memphis, and UNAVCO Inc., in Boulder, Colo.--provide for installation of 25 continuously operating global positioning system (CGPS) stations, as well as state-of-the-art satellite communications for data delivery.

Through another Chile quake RAPID award, 60 seismic stations arrived in Santiago, Chile, from the NSF-supported Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) Program for Array Seismic Studies of the Continental Lithosphere (PASSCAL) Instrument Center in Socorro, New Mexico.

With data from the instruments, scientists will obtain high-resolution locations of aftershocks, carry out research on Earth structure in and around the Chilean subduction zone, and study major cities for a detailed analysis of local response.

All data collected as part of the U.S. deployments will be open and freely available immediately after collection.

More information about these RAPID projects may be found in IRIS Community Instrument Deployment in Chile and Science Highlights 2010 - UNAVCO Event Response.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Berkeley blog - Mount St. Helens and earthquakes

Flying back from Germany a week ago Saturday, our plane was diverted over Iceland to get north of the ash cloud blowing from the Eyjafjallajökull volcano towards Spain. This caused a delay of two hours, not bad compared to what others have experienced, and I got to see the ash cloud from the south-facing windows. First time I have ever seen an erupting volcano. Pretty cool, even though it was a volcanic eruption. The dark cloud was nearly vertical, before it topped out, and then headed off towards Spain.

Anyway, it is now thirty years since the last large volcanic eruption in the conterminous United States at Mount St. Helens. The Berkeley Seismo Blog has a nice description of the harmonic tremors that reflected the magma moving within the volcano, and then the 5.1 magnitude earthquake that triggered slope failure of the mountain and the explosive volcanism.

Small earthquakes continue to occur. Check out the graphics and info at the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Congressional hearing on reducing earthquake risk

Congressional Briefing -- Citizen Science and Earthquakes: Reducing the Risk Through the Power of People

Released: 5/12/2010 1:19:54 PM
Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communication
119 National Center
Reston, VA 20192 Clarice Nassif Ransom 1-click interview
Phone: 703-648-4299
Clarice Ransom:

In the United States, 1 in 4 people live with the risk of earthquakes. The U.S. Geological Survey and its partners are designing innovative tools to better detect earthquakes and share critical information. The involvement of citizens is key, as decisions made before and immediately after an earthquake can save lives and protect property.

What: The USGS will host a congressional briefing on how innovative tools combined with citizen involvement can help save lives and minimize economic losses from earthquakes.

Who: Jack Hayes, Director, National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (emcee)
David Wald, U.S. Geological Survey
John Hooper, Director of Earthquake Engineering at Magnusson Klemencic Associates
Mark Benthien, Southern California Earthquake Center

Where: 1334 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C

When: Friday, May 21, 2010
10 a.m.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Question on Irish earthquake

A question was posted to an old post on the largest earthquake near Ireland, about where it was felt.

So, here is the map to answer that question, from the British Geological Survey:

Read about the European intensity scale numbers here.

Friday, May 7, 2010

LCSN web pages need updating

It's not easy to keep on top of our web pages, blogs, wikis, etc.

But the LCSN web pages (yes, the LCSN that this is related to) need to be updated.

There are broken links.

There are "current" web pages that are months or even years out of date.

There are a number of excellent pages that are automatically updated with data from the LCSN network, and from elsewhere.

But for the site as a whole to be effective for public outreach, it needs to be better maintained.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Some earthquake software

While I was preparing the last entry, I came across some software available through the USGS web pages.

Note that FORTRAN lives!

These are:
  1. 3D Focal Mechanisms - a tool for viewing earthquake focal mechanism symbols three dimensionally
  2. 3D velocity modeling
  3. Cleanstrain - a program to process strainmeter data.
  4. CLUSTER2000 - recognizes clusters in space-time in an earthquake catalog
  5. Coulomb 3 - designed to investigate Coulomb stress changes on mapped faults and earthquake nodal planes
  6. FPFIT - a Fortran program that computes double-couple fault plane solutions from P-wave first motion data
  7. Ground Motion Parameter Calculator
  8. HASH - a Fortran 77 code that computes double-couple earthquake focal mechanisms from P-wave first motion polarity observations
  9. HypoDD - a Fortran computer program package for relocating earthquakes with the double-difference (DD) algorithm
  10. HYPOINVERSE2000 - determines earthquake locations and magnitudes from seismic network data like first-arrival P and S arrival times, amplitudes and coda durations
  11. MacR1D - a one-dimensional seismic travel-time calculator for Macintosh
  12. MacRay - a general purpose two-dimensional seismic ray-tracer for Macintosh
  13. OpenSHA - an effort to develop object-oriented, web- & GUI-enabled, open-source, and freely available code for conducting Seismic Hazard Analyses
  14. PQLX - open-source software system for evaluating seismic station performance and data quality
  15. Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Calculation Software
  16. Quake Data Distribution System (QDDS) - provides a method for distributing earthquake data over the Internet in near-real time
  17. The Quake Data Merge Real Time Merged Catalog (QDM) software
  18. SATSI (Spatial And Temporal Stress Inversion) - inverts focal mechanism data for a spatially and/or temporally varying stress field
  19. ShakeCast - delivers maps of areas affected by an earthquake
  20. Slick Package - uses fault slip data (either field observations or from focal mechanism) to find the stress tensor that best explains the observations
  21. Slope Performance During an Earthquake

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Funding for earthquake monitoring

Released: 5/3/2010 10:53:30 AM
Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communication

More than $7 million in cooperative agreements will be awarded for earthquake monitoring by the U.S Geological Survey in 2010. This funding will contribute to the development and operation of the USGS Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS).

“Earthquake monitoring is absolutely critical to providing fast information to emergency-response personnel in areas affected by earthquakes, so by building and repairing those monitoring systems, these cooperative agreements literally save lives and property,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.

As part of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program, the ANSS provides continuous, real-time monitoring of earthquake activity and collects critical information about how earthquake shaking affects buildings and structures. Funds are also being provided for the operation of geodetic monitoring networks, which detect minute changes in the earth’s crust caused by faulting in earthquake-prone regions.

“The ultimate goal of earthquake monitoring is to save lives, ensure public safety, and reduce economic losses,” said Bill Leith, a USGS scientist and coordinator of the ANSS. “Rapid, accurate information about earthquake location and shaking has greatly improved the response time of emergency managers following an earthquake.”

Nationwide, 39 states are considered to be at moderate-to-high risk of a damaging earthquake. Although the frequency of earthquakes on the West Coast is higher than other areas of the United States, many eastern cities are also at risk, including St. Louis, Mo., Memphis, Tenn., New York, N.Y., Boston, Mass., and many others.

A complete list of funded projects and reports can be found on the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program website.

Grants for the Northeast include:

Laurence Becker, Northeast States Emergency Consortium
Utilizing the Surficial Geology of the Northeast United States to Improve NEHRP Site Effect Classifications in HAZUS-MH
$14,908; January 2010 through December 2010

Eric Calais, Purdue University
Intraplate strain and stress in the North American plate interior: Collaborative Research with Purdue University and University of Wisconsin
$140,323; January 2010 through December 2011

Dennis DeMets, University of WIsconsin, Madison
Intraplate Strain and Stress in the North American Plate Interior: Collaborative Research with Purdue University and University of Wisconsin
$26,092; January 2010 through December 2011

John Ebel, Boston College
Analysis of Aftershock Sequences for Use in Predicting Aftershock Probabilities Immediately Following Strong Earthquakes
$42,867; January 2010 through December 2010