June 29, 2013

Alaska Hit By Earthquake and Tsunami Warning Issued

The USGS is reporting that a magnitude 7.1 earthquake has hit Alaska along the Aleutian Islands chain of islands and lists the exact location as having these coordinates: 51.807°N, 171.477°W.


Tsunami Warning Issued

A tsunami warning has been issued by the NOAA National Weather Service West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center, which can be found here (PDF).

Alaska Earthquake - Magnitude 7.1

Alaska Earthquake - Magnitude 7.1

Estimated arrival times of the tsunami are listed here(Text File).

This area is very remote and the earthquake hit 125 miles from the nearest populated area, but a tsunami could possibly cause flooding in the area, or in other coastal areas of the Pacific Ocean.

Map of Earthquake Location


View Larger Map

Oil Drilling and Pipeline Damage

There are no reports of any damage to oil or natural gas drilling operations or the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, but such damage could prove to be a major ecological disaster if the pipeline was ruptured or if a drilling platform was damaged and spilled any oil.

Offshore oil drilling and exploration, as well as in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), is currently banned under a moratorium, so the potential for an earthquake or tsunami to damage oil and gas production infrastructure is mitigated by this factor, somewhat.

Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant Earthquake Safety

“After the serious amount of damage caused to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Japan opened the world’s eyes to the serious threat that nuclear power can have on our safety, professionals in the United States have turned their attention towards the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in California.


Located near the beautiful town of San Luis Obispo, the plant was built over forty years ago by PG&E. Two fault lines, the Hosgri and Shoreline, sit dangerously close to the aged plant, creating a potentially serious issue in the event of a quake. Referred to as a “”Hot potato issue”" by U.S. Geological Survey scientist Sam Johnson, U.S. Seismologists and government officials are beginning to speculate whether the two fault lines could cause an earthquake strong enough to harm the plant and endanger nearby residents and college students.

PG&E’s previous assessment of the fault lines claims that the length of the faults is too short to cause any serious damage, but various officials have begun releasing calculations that could put the faults at over double the length they were previously recorded. Thought to only reach a length of 105 miles, the new scenario presented at the USGS headquarters in Menlo Park by Sam Johnson claims that the Hosgri fault might stretch over 250 miles all the way to Bolinas, a town just north of San Francisco.

If these calculations were to be correct, the fault lines would have the potential to generate an 8.0 earthquake, a force far too powerful for the power plant to hope to withstand. Information is being derived California Seafloor Mapping Program, but Johnson was sure to clarify that the faults have not been officially noted to run that far but the USGS.

PG&E has noted that the plant was designed and tested with quake safety in mind, but the four decades of time between it’s construction and present day leaves many to wonder just how secure the plant really is. The Shoreline fault was recently discovered in 2008, and PG&E released a 500-page report that predicted a length of only 15 miles long and a potential of a 7.5 magnitude earthquake.

Some predictions have been established that both faults might be able to work in unison to create an earthquake that was too powerful for the plant to withstand, but PG&E denied the possibility of the Hosgri fault working together with the newly discovered Shoreline fault that lays only a few hundred feet from the power plant itself.”

San Francisco Chronicle

Mothers Against The Diablo Canyon Reactor

Diablo Canyon Power Plant

Fukushima, Japan, At Diablo Canyon

Japan’s Woes Shine Light On U.S. Nuke Plants Near Fault Lines

USGS To Test Fayetteville Water

“Today’s THV, in Little Rock, Arkansas, reported July 7 about the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) tests in Van Buren County to determine if gas drilling in the area is having any effect on the area’s drinking water.


USGS To Test Fayetteville Water

The area is part of the Fayetteville Shale territory where natural gas is extracted by a technique called hydraulic fracturing. Commonly called “”fracking,”" hydraulic fracturing involves blasting water, sand and chemicals into shale rock formations at high pressure to release the gases. Although the technique has been around for over 60 years, recent advancements in drilling technology has made fracking more profitable and common.

The concern from environmentalists, as well as some residents near fracking operations, is that the chemicals used in the process could seep into their drinking water. Tom Kimmons, a resident of Shirley, in Van Buren County, said that after fracking operations began around his home his water became cloudy and he is now afraid to drink it.

The USGS tests being conducted this week in Van Buren County is a first for a local USGS office. The tests will check for the presence of chlorides, a chemical in frack fluid, found in high concentrations when the fluid comes back to the surface.

The USGS is conducting these tests first in Van Buren County, with plans to test in Faulkner County by August. The agency said they may possibly hit Conway County after that.

The tests in Arkansas are being watched by other areas of the country were fracking operations are common. USGS offices in Pennsylvania, Texas, and New York are closely monitoring how the tests are conducted in an effort to learn how to implement them in their areas.

Testing in each county is expected to take two or three weeks, with the samples sent off to the University of Arkansas and Duke University. Results are expected in one or two months.”

Hydraulic fracturing – Wikipedia

Union Drilling Signs Multi-Year Contracts For Two New Rigs

Shale gas in the United States – Wikipedia

Shale Goes Global – Slate Magazine

USGS Study on Arctic Drilling Safety

The L.A. Times recently reported on the scientific uncertainties surrounding oil exploration off the shorelines of Alaska, spotlighting a 292-page report released by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGA) at the end of June.

USGS Study on Arctic Drilling Safety

The USGA’s report highlights the uncertainties of recent climate change, the impact on the area’s ecosystem and the long-term impact of Arctic development in the area. The report did not include many answers, according to the Times, but was seen as a way to jump-start the conversation with the parties involved in Arctic drilling. The oil industry released its own report in 2010, with Shell Alaska providing an assessment based on their own experiences in the area. In March of 2011, environmental groups released their own report, questioning the gaps in knowledge about Arctic drilling.|

Earthquake in Turkey Kills At Least 2

The Kutahya province of Turkey was hit with a 5.9 magnitude earthquake on Thursday killing at least 2 people and injuring over 70 more.

The USGS Report rates the earthquake at a magnitude 5.8, but media sources differ on this point.  Europe’s earthquake tracking center, the European-Mediterranean Seismological Center (CSEM-ESMC) also rates this earthquake a 5.8.

Earthquake in Kutahya Province of Turkey

Map of 5.9 Magnitude Earthquake in Kutahya Province of Turkey

There have been reports of significant damage, as can be seen in the Associated Press video posted on YouTube.

Over 50 aftershocks to the main earthquake have been reported.

Turkey is in a very earthquake prone part of the world, and regularly experiences earthquakes like these, or much stronger.

Resources and Links

USGS Earthquake Report

European-Mediterranean Seismological Center (CSEM-ESMC) Earthquake Report

BBC Report

Associated Press Video

Did You Feel It?

Did you feel the earthquake?  Were you there?  Do you have loved-ones in the area that you want to contact there?  Tell your story in the comment section below.

2 Earthquakes Hit Lorca Spain, Killing at Least 7

BBC News and other media sources are reporting that 2 earthquakes have hit Lorca Spain, killing at least 7 people and injuring many more.

Lorca is in the Murcia region of Spain, and while the most damage was centered in Lorca, effects were felt throughout the Murcia region.

BBC News is also hosting dramatic footage of the magnitude 5.3 earthquake that their field reporters captured.

Lorca is on the southern coast of Spain on the Mediterranean Sea.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) which monitors earthquake activity world-wide rates the Lorca earthquake at 5.1 magnitude.

Magnitude 5.4 Earthquake in Lorca Spain

Magnitude 5.4 Earthquake in Lorca Spain

The second earthquake was rated a 4.4 magnitude earthquake – and the two earthquakes happened within one hour of each other.

The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC/CEMS) is reporting the two earthquakes at 5.2 magnitude and 4.5 magnitude.

No word on whether a tsunami warning for Spain or any other parts of the Mediterranean has been issued.

BBC News Report

USGS Earthquake Report

EMSC/CEMS

7.4 Magnitude Earthquake ‘Aftershock’ Hits Japan

A magnitude 7.4 ‘aftershock’ earthquake hits Japan on April 7, 2011 and was detected by the USGS and is being widely reported by Japanese and worldwide news media.

Click here for the USGS earthquake report.

Japan Aftershock - Powerful 7.4 Magnitude Earthquake Hits April 7, 2011

A powerful 7.4 magnitude earthquake aftershock hits Japan on April 7, 2011.

While this is a significantly powerful earthquake in its own right, this is considered to be an aftershock of the powerful Japan earthquake that hit the previous month (See this post about the March 11 Earthquake in Japan).

Bloomberg is reporting that there have been no reports to Japanese nuclear plants, but that a tsunami warning has been issued for Japan.  The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has issued a bulletin on the aftershock but advises that a tsunami is not expected to reach Hawaii.

The Japan Meteorological Agency issued the following info about the earthquake, measuring it at 7.4 magnitude:

******* Earthquake Information ********
Occurred at 23:32 JST 07 Apr 2011
Region name MIYAGI-KEN OKI
Latitude 38.2N
Longitude 142.0E
Depth about 40 km
Magnitude 7.4

The USGS released the following report on the earthquake, measuring it at a 7.1 magnitude:

Magnitude 7.1
Date-Time Thursday, April 07, 2011 at 14:32:41 UTC
Thursday, April 07, 2011 at 11:32:41 PM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location 38.253¡N, 141.640¡E
Depth 49 km (30.4 miles)
Region NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
Distances 66 km (41 miles) E ofÊSendai, Honshu, Japan
114 km (70 miles) E ofÊYamagata, Honshu, Japan
116 km (72 miles) ENE ofÊFukushima, Honshu, Japan
330 km (205 miles) NNE ofÊTOKYO, Japan
Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 13.1 km (8.1 miles); depth +/- 7.2 km (4.5 miles)
Parameters NST=426, Nph=427, Dmin=358.4 km, Rmss=0.75 sec, Gp= 32¡,
M-type=regional moment magnitude (Mw), Version=B
Source USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
Event ID usc0002ksa

UPDATE – Tsunami warning for Japan has been lifted.

Available Online USGS Map: How To Use The USGS National

USGS is a government survey agency which surveys and maps the geological formation of the country. By the use of various grids, signs, symbols and colors one can learn the topography of the earth, where the earthquake faults are and many other things. There are 56,000 usgs map reproductions which are available to view.

usgs

Thanks to modern technology, anyone who has a computer has access to these maps. By going to the USGS store on the Web, it is very simple to copy any map and print it out on a home printer. The beauty of this arrangement is that a whole map or a specific section can be selected and printed. Pre-printed maps are also available for purchase on this site.

These maps give a person access to learn everything and anything about the country. From mountains to underground water, all the information is available at the click of a mouse. This has been found to be an excellent source of information for many people, including scientific and history buffs. Students, especially, have found this site an excellent source of information for their studies.

Hikers, backpackers, campers, fishermen and many others have been able to use these maps to plan their trips with ease. They can find which roads to travel, which areas have deep canyons, where the best fishing is and many other things. This makes an excursion much easier to map out and avoid any obstacles along the way.

Using the map database is very easy and, once on site, very simple directions lead the viewer on the way. In addition to free maps, there are free analytical tools available. The vivid colors clearly indicate various things, such as blue for water, green for vegetation, red for roads and so forth. Symbols are explained and appear clearly on the map. Everything, including railroads and buildings are indicated, depending on which map one is looking at.

It is possible to concentrate on one particular area with one particular interest. For example, if one were interested in earthquake faults in California it would simply be a matter of looking up ‘earthquake maps’. These maps will not only show where the earthquakes are most likely to appear but will provide history of past and possible future quakes as well.

States and the government have found this site particularly important regarding building codes. There is a National Code as well as state codes regarding where buildings can be built without danger of, for instance, earthquakes. This has proved invaluable, in protecting property as well as human life. The database also makes it simple for a prospective project developer to determine where it is feasible to build.

This Government Survey Agency, as well as members of the NEHRP (National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program and other agencies, have done wonders in presenting a clear and concise picture of the land that lies above and below the countryside. Having these watchdogs on the scene has enabled many mishaps to be avoided by their monitoring and predicting future occurrences.

Read more: http://www.usgs.gov/