Worldwide EARTHQUAKE related news – Archive April - June 2012

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June 7, 2012

Japanese dock washed ashore in Newport, Oregon
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officers and volunteers were removing foreign marine organisms Thursday from a 66-foot-long dock that washed ashore on an Oregon beach after it was ripped from Japan in the 2011 tsunami. The dock, which is 7 feet tall and 19 feet wide, washed ashore at Agate Beach, 1 mile north of Newport early Tuesday morning, and the Japanese consulate in Portland confirmed it was debris from the tsunami. The dock is made of concrete and metal, but is clearly designed to float. $$$$$

May 25, 2012

New Zealand / Science / Faults
NEW Zealand's earthquake-prone landscape is being rattled by deep tremors lasting up to 30 minutes. Researchers have discovered New Zealand's is even more unstable than previously thought, recording deep tremors on its biggest fault line. Scientists measured the so-called "creeping earthquakes" when they investigated a puzzling lack of major seismic jolts along a section of the Alpine Fault, which runs the length of the South Island. The quakes, which caused no surface damage, occurred 20-45 kilometers beneath the Earth's crust and continued for as long as half an hour, much longer than ordinary earthquakes. $$$$

May 21, 2012

USA / Death Valley / subterranean waves from Mexico 7.4 earthquake
On March 20 a National Park Service biologist named Jeffrey Goldstein and I descended a rocky incline into the mouth of Devils Hole, a collapsed cave in the Nevada desert 40 miles south of the visitor’s center in Death Valley. Thirty feet down, an arm of water extends out from a deep pool to cover a rock shelf the size of a Ping-Pong table with up to two and a half feet of hot water. This shallow recess is home to 100 much-studied adult Devils Hole pupfish, or Cyprinodon diabolis. Living nowhere else on the planet, the pupfish receive protection from human harm by force of federal law and padlocked gates. Shortly after 11 A.M., Goldstein was imparting the 10,000-year history of Devils Hole and its piscine denizens to me when the water level began rising and sinking by quarter-inches, then inches, then feet. As we scrambled up the rocky incline, the pool was sucked out of the hole almost entirely with a giant gurgle. It rushed back in, dislodging a metal walkway over the shelf and climbing up the sides of the hole toward us. After a few more gargles and belches, the pool waters returned to a normal level. The rock shelf had been swept clean of vegetation and pupfish eggs. $$$$$

May 1, 2012

Utah / Brick houses retrofitting
It may have escaped your notice during this week’s Great Utah ShakeOut earthquake drill that you live in a house made of unreinforced brick. There are many such homes along the Wasatch Front, more than 30,000 of them in Salt Lake City alone. That simple fact could place your life at risk during a major earth tremor as your home collapses around you. Fortunately, there are things you can do to shore up your home. The Utah Seismic Safety Commission has assembled an information kit online at It’s titled, appropriately enough, "The Utah guide for the seismic improvement of unreinforced masonry dwellings." It includes a primer on the hows and whys of risk posed by these buildings during quakes, and what can be done to improve their safety. Most interesting is a series of six model houses in styles that you will readily recognize from the Salt Lake City area. If you live in a brick house, it probably will resemble one of these examples. $$$$$

April 28, 2012

Science / Early warning
Combining two data sources could bring better warning of earthquakes to millions of people in vulnerable areas of the western United States, researchers say. Scientists at the annual meeting of the Seismological Society of America in San Diego said combining information from GPS monitors to data recorded by a vast network of seismometers already dotting the western states could produce more accurate early warning of powerful earthquakes. The seismometers are currently the only source of information used to alert people in the moments before powerful temblors arrive, they said. $$$$

April 27, 2012

Indian Ocean / April 11 earthquake relation on 2004 tsunami fault
Jakarta Seismologists say last week's powerful earthquake off western Indonesia increased pressure on the source of the devastating 2004 tsunami: a fault that could unleash another monster wave sometime in the next few decades. "The spring was pushed a little bit tighter," said Kerry Sieh, director of the Earth Observatory of Singapore. The timing of another megathrust temblor, if it's on the way, "could have been advanced by a few years", he said. Last week's 8.6-magnitude earthquake also showed that tsunami-ravaged Aceh province, close to the epicentre, remains unprepared for the next major event. Though the quake caused little damage, the country's disaster-management chief acknowledged that evacuation efforts were "a big mess". $$$

April 26, 2012

Japan / potential destruction in Tokyo area
New estimates announced Wednesday by the Tokyo metropolitan government regarding a possible earthquake with its epicenter in northern Tokyo Bay have revealed that fire damage in areas dense with wooden houses would be twice that of previous estimates made in 2006. Overall predictions of damage from buildings that would collapse or burn down decreased from the previous estimates, thanks to quake-resistance measures taken for many houses and office buildings. However, damage in areas with many wooden residences was predicted to double because the northern Tokyo Bay earthquake was expected to involve greater intensities than previously thought. $$$$$

April 25, 2012

Thailand / Phuket Thalang earthquake / New seismographs
Three more seismographs have been installed in Phuket's Thalang district, the epicentre of recent quakes. The Earthquake Measuring and Research Centre set up the seismographs in tambon Sakhoo municipality, to cover the island's western beaches, tambon Si Sunthorn, which contains Bang Niao dam reservoir, and tambon Pa Khlok municipality. All three locations are on small branches of the Klong Marui fault line, according to Amnat Tantithamsophon, a geologist in Phuket. $$$ : It took the authorities many hours before they reported the earthquake. At the start the shaking was reported by the local press as caused by a M5.7 earthquake 1000 km from Phuket, a cause which we denied immediately. The additional seismographs are a welcome aid to collect data from the Klong Marui fault.
Read also our April 16 reporting here

Sri Lanka / Tsunami preparedness
Strong community awareness and preparedness are being cited for April 11 successful evacuation of more than one million Sri Lankans after a tsunami alert was triggered by an 8.6 magnitude earthquake off the west coast of Sumatra in Indonesia.
"People were well prepared on how to evacuate. Everyone knew what to do, what routes to take," Major General Gamini Hettiarchchi, the director general of Sri Lanka's Disaster Management Centre (DMC), On 11 April at 2:08 pm local time, less than an hour after the quake, Sri Lanka's Metrological Department issued the warning and a call to evacuate to higher ground. Two hours later a second warning was issued following an 8.2 aftershock. $$$$

April 20, 2012

Science / Relation between April 11 Sumatra earthquake and US and Mexico quakes
The 8.6-magnitude earthquake that hit off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia Wednesday was followed by several decent-size shakes along the west coast of North America, but researchers can't say for certain whether all the temblors were related. It's possible, geophysicists say, that quakes off the coast of Oregon, Michoacan, Mexico, and in the Gulf of California ranging from magnitudes 5.9 to 6.9 on the Richter Scale had something to do with the large earthquake that struck near Indonesia. But the West Coast quakes were fairly standard for their location. $$$$$

USA / California / San Jose / School closure
The Los Gatos School District cited unexpectedly stricter state demands for seismic safety when it voted suddenly Tuesday to close Lexington School and send its students from the Santa Cruz Mountains to a school in downtown Los Gatos. But the state agency that reviews school plans for geologic hazards said that it has not raised its standards nor is it saying the school site above Lexington reservoir is unusable. Instead, the agency wants the district to realistically assess the hazards -- and plan accordingly. "We don't have an earthquake police," said Don Drysdale, spokesman for the California Geological Survey. In fact, he said, "We do not have the ability to stop a project." $$$

April 18, 2012

China / building dams in earthquake zones
More than 130 large dams built, under construction, or proposed in western China's seismic hazard zones could trigger disastrous environmental consequences such as earthquakes and giant waves, finds a new report from the Canadian watchdog group Probe International. The report shows that 98.6 percent of the dams being constructed in western China are located in high to moderate seismic hazard zones. $$$$$

April 15, 2012

New Zealand / Canterbury earthquake cost
An updated valuation of estimated Canterbury earthquake costs - including $450 million relating to the quake on 23 December 2011 - are reflected in the Government's accounts for the eight months to 29 February. Combined with core Crown expenses remaining significantly below forecast, and core Crown tax revenue continuing to track below forecast, the extra earthquake costs left a $5.5 billion operating deficit before gains and losses in the eight months, Finance Minister Bill English says. $$$$

April 14, 2012

New Zealand / big earthquake interval occurrence
A recent study by GNS scientists, Otago University's geology department and American researchers has found ruptures along the Alpine Fault seem to have occurred between 450 and 480 years apart. The research looks at the last three major earthquakes that occurred as far back as 750 AD. $$$$$

Japan / March 11 earthquake and tsunami impact on travel and tourism
A report commissioned by the WTTC says that the immediate impacts of the earthquake and tsunami on Japan’s Travel & Tourism were extremely stark as international arrivals were down 50% in March and then 62% in April. But it is clear that Travel & Tourism demand fully recovered in late 2011, ahead of activity in the wider economy and despite recent disruptions - boosted in no small part by the strength of the yen. Travel & Tourism is clearly set to make an increasing contribution to the wider economy in 2012. $$$$$

April 11, 2012

USA / UTAH / Salt Lake City / Upgrading housing to become earthquake resistant
If an earthquake were to strike the Wasatch Front, it could kill as many as 2,300 and injure more than 30,000, officials say, but much of this could be prevented if Utahns retrofitted their homes for seismic safety. The last earthquake of magnitude 5.5 or higher in Salt Lake City was in 1910, and Barry Welliver, a structural engineer, said he feels like "chicken little" warning people the sky is falling when he talks about the possibility of earthquakes in the state. $$$$$

April 10, 2012

Worldwide twitter earthquake alerts
The best of 4 worlds combined in 1 twitter account can be found @quakemail. At we decided to create an ultrafast twitter service sending alerts from earthquakes with a Magnitude 3.5 or higher and coming from USGS, EMSC, GFZ and GEONET. The main reason for this service is "speed". Every service is absolutely great but depending on the area in the world where the earthquake strikes, one service is mostly faster than another one. The best accuracy of major earthquakes can be obtained by combining different alerts. And .. of course also this twitter account will receive notifications of the many in-depth articles we are writing.
@quakemail is the twitter account to follow.
Other twitter accounts from :
@OnlyQuakeNews : Get all the headlines of our articles + regular updates on ongoing events
@QuakeSOS : news + automatic earthquake notifications of USGS earthquakes of M 4.0 or higher with emphasis to earthquakes in the America’s and the Pacific Ocean sphere (4 and up) and a lot of the rest of the world (5 and up). This account was created for our QuakeSOS and QuakeSOS+ iPhone applications
@ShakingEarth : news + automatic earthquake notifications of EMSC earthquakes of M 4.0 or higher with emphasis to earthquakes in European and Asian / Middle East sphere (4 and up) and a lot of the rest of the world (5 and up). This account was originally created to stimulate our Facebook account


Preparedness / Early alert systems
The opinion : NO, they are not, but ... with a proper use of the alert, many things can be done. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people are doing exactly the opposite of what they should do in such an event. After every major earthquake there is hype for "earthquake early warning systems" like smartphone apps, computer tools, etc. $$$$$

April 9, 2012

USA / Inland / Industrial generated earthquakes
A U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) team has found that a sharp jump in earthquakes in America’s heartland appears to be linked to oil and natural gas drilling operations. As hydraulic fracturing has exploded onto the scene, it has increasingly been connected to earthquakes. Some quakes may be caused by the original fracking — that is, by injecting a fluid mixture into the earth to release natural gas (or oil). More appear to be caused by re-injecting the resulting brine deep underground. $$$$$

April 8, 2012

Italy / l'Aquila 2009 earthquake
In the early morning of April 6, 2009 a 20 seconds lasting earthquake with magnitude 6,9 (followed later by weaker aftershocks) occurred near the city of L´Aquila (Abruzzo, Italy). More than 45 towns were affected, 308 people killed, 1.600 injured and more then 65.000 inhabitants were forced to leave their homes. Italy has a long and tragic history of earthquakes. The position between two large continental plates (the European and African) and various micro-plates of the Mediterranean Sea results in highly active seismicity all over the peninsula. $$$$$

April 7, 2012

Japan tsunami ghost ship gunned to the Pacific Ocean floor
A U.S. Coast Guard cutter unleashed cannon fire on the abandoned 164-foot Ryou-Un Maru on Thursday, ending a journey that began when last year's tsunami dislodged it and set it adrift across the Pacific Ocean. It sank into waters more than 9,000 feet deep in the Gulf of Alaska, more than 150 miles from land.The crew pummeled the ghost ship with high explosive ammunition and, soon after, began to take on water and list, officials said. A huge column of smoke could be seen over the gulf. comment : We think that there were other solutions than sinking the ship. The army must have been able to tow the ship into an Alaska harbor and let it be investigated by scientists. A big fishing vessel having drifted such a long time (more than 1 year) in the Pacific must have got an impressive load of valuable data on board. This treasure has been gunned to the ocean floor. We respect the safety reasons (no light at night), but another final destiny would have been far better and more respectful.

Indonesia / Sumatra / preparedness drills
I'm thinking we can handle the next tsunami that comes to us from far away. It could be bigger than what hit on March 11, 2011, and there's a good chance it won't strike at low tide. But if we have five or more hours of warning, and continue to hold drills, test the systems, and educate people to stay out of the tsunami zone, we should do OK. I'm worried about the earthquake that happens right here and the tsunami surges that arrive as little as 10 minutes later. $$$$

April 6, 2012

Chile-Japan / cooperation on major natural disasters
Visiting Chilean President Sebastian Pinera told The Yomiuri Shimbun this week that the country will actively cooperate with Japan to prepare for natural disasters, as both countries have experienced earthquakes and tsunami. "Japan and Chile share the history of adversity...We are very interested in cooperating with [Japan] on how to face natural disasters, like earthquakes and tsunami," Pinera said during an exclusive interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun on Wednesday. $$$$$

April 5, 2012

Pacific Midway Islands / Japan March 2011 tsunami / damage to ecosystem
Even though Midway Atoll is about 2,400 miles away from Japan, the tsunami waves that hit the three small islands just five hours after the 9.0 earthquake on March 10, 2011 caused an incredible amount of death and damage for the wildlife. While every person on the islands was safe, waiting for morning on the third floor of Charlie Hotel, one thought weighed heavily: what was going on outside? Everyone spent the next two days working to save any birds that were still alive, whether they were buried in debris or exhausted and floating in the water of the lagoon and harbor. $$$$

April 4, 2012

Japan / Kyushu / Potential tsunami risk
A 34-meter tsunami could hit the Japanese coast in the wake of a massive earthquake, an expert panel said after revising its worst case scenario projections following last year’s disaster. If a 9.0-magnitude quake struck in the Nankai Trough off central to western Japan, huge swathes of the Pacific coastline could be inundated, with 20-meter-plus waves hitting areas from Tokyo down to the southwestern island of Kyushu. $$$$$

April 3, 2012

Central America / New seismic hazard map
A new study evaluates the seismic hazards for the entire Central America, including specific assessments for six capital cities, with the greatest hazard expected for Guatemala City and San Salvador, followed by Managua and San José, and notably lower in Tegucigalpa and Panamá City. The study, published in the April issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (BSSA), included input from seismic hazard experts from Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Panama, Norway and Spain. All seismic experts from Central American countries, except Belize, agree with the study assessments. $$$$$

April 2, 2012

Map courtesy

USA / California / San Andres Fault / San Jacinto Fault
The San Jacinto Fault (SJF) Zone is a seismically active, major component of the overall southern San Andreas Fault system. Researchers from San Diego State University (SDSU) and U.S. Geological Survey have mapped evidence of past ruptures consistent with very large earthquakes along the Clark Fault, an individual strand associated with the SJF. $$$

Mexico / Earthquake insurance
Last week's earthquake in Mexico destroyed 800 homes and caused over $ 100 million in insured damages and far more in uninsured losses. Insurer Mexpro reminds those who own Homes and Condos in Mexico to purchase earthquake insurance. With hundreds of thousands of Americans, Canadians, and Europeans owning Homes and Condos in Mexico, international insurance provider Mexpro reminds these property owners that having earthquake coverage is extremely important in Mexico. $$$$

April 1, 2012

USA / Virginia / earthquake insurance
State officials are reminding homeowners to review their insurance policies to see if they have earthquake insurance ahead of a new law that will require better disclosure if policies exclude such coverage. The State Corporation Commission's Bureau of Insurance says damage from earthquakes is excluded under homeowners policies unless the coverage is purchased as an addition to the policy. $$$$

Armenia / Preparedness / Building code
The level of seismic activeness in our country was reviewed twice in the period of independence in 1994 and 2006, which resulted in the change of the standards of construction. Specialists say the newly constructed buildings in Armenia are ideal from the point of view of seismic resistance. As for the Soviet-era buildings, their fortification is economically impossible. $$$$$

March 31, 2012

Japan / Fukushima Nuclear plant / evacuated areas
The government said Friday it will reclassify three partially evacuated municipalities near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in April to facilitate the return of their residents, officials said. The municipalities will be newly designated using three categories, depending on local levels of radiation. In areas where levels of 20 millisieverts or less per year are recorded, preparations will be made for evacuation orders to be lifted. The government's current threshold for issuing mandatory evacuation directives is 20 millisieverts a year. $$$$$

Earthquake housing damage / earthquake resistant rebuilding
When a major earthquake strikes, workers with the American non-profit Build Change arrive in the damaged area when the emergency relief phase is over to investigate damaged and destroyed buildings. "We start out with a forensic engineering study to understand why houses collapsed in the earthquake and why they didn't," said Elizabeth Hausler, the group's founder and CEO who is also a brick, block and stone mason with a doctorate in civil engineering. $$$$$

March 30, 2012

Japan / Tohoku earthquake and tsunami / Nuclear power plants
Assurances of the absolute safety of Japanese nuclear plants lulled the public and government into a false sense of security that was shattered a year ago when an earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, causing the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. $$$$$

March 29, 2012

United Arab Emirates / seismological equipment
The Azerbaijani National Seismological Center (NSC) under the National Academy of Sciences in Azerbaijan has installed telemetry seismic stations in the UAE, the NSC said on Tuesday. The work was carried out under an agreement with U.S. Kinemetrics company, which is a supplier of seismic equipment. $$$$

March 28, 2012

USA / Wisconsin / Clintonville
The mystery shaking at Clintonville has finally been solved. A swarm of minor earthquakes caused the shaking.

Earthquake resistant warehouse racks
Storax mobile racking systems have always had a reputation for strength and reliability. This was put to the ultimate test two years ago in South America when the country suffered a massive earthquake. Storax’s mobile racking equipment remained largely undamaged despite the devastating force of the quake.Two years later, Storax is now completing a second installation for the same client in Chillan with the provision of a new mobile racking system capable of storing and handling 7,850 pallets. $$$$

March 26, 2012

USA / Wisconsin shaking
The mystery behind four days of unexplained shaking and odd sounds rattling Clintonville, Wisconsin, has been solved. The cause? A "swarm" of minor earthquakes amplified by the unique bedrock beneath the state of Wisconsin. $$$$

Image courtesy NRC

USA / Virginia earthquake / Nuclear plants / NRC
The earthquake that forced the emergency closure of Dominion Virginia Power’s North Anna nuclear plant made the Union of Concerned Scientists’ “near-miss” list for 2011. The 5.8-magnitude temblor struck Aug. 23, about 12 miles from North Anna. TheU.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commissiondispatched inspectors to the site and found that no radioactive material beyond what’s normal was released during the event. But they found that 25 of the 27 casks that store spent nuclear fuel moved 1/2 inch to a 4 1/2 inches during the quake, the union report says. They also determined that instruments designed to detect earthquake activity did not work properly, according to the report. $$$$$

March 25, 2012

Japan : Tsunami / Pacific Ocean / lost ship / drifting
The Pacific Ocean currents needed exactly 1 year and 14 days to float a 54 meter Hokkaido fishing ship, swept into the ocean on March 11 2011, to arrive 140 NM (Nautical miles) from the Southern tip of Haida Gwaii.
The ship could miraculously stay afloat (it survived storms without any people on board) . This will certainly be a tremendous study object for scientists.
It is believed that as many as 5 million tonnes of debris were swept into the ocean during the Japan Tohoku tsunami. Based on what we see now, Canada may expect to harvest some of it !

USA / California / Tsunami preparedness
Today begins tsunami preparedness week in California. For the next week I am updating the series of My Word articles I wrote last year to discuss the lessons learned in the year since the Japan tsunami -- noting what went right and underscoring what didn't, and discussing what everyone should know to make ourselves safe from the next inevitable tsunami -- whether it comes from across the Pacific or our own backyard. $$$$$

March 24, 2012

Japan / Helicopter acquired for FDMA
Since the major earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on 11th March last year, various public sectors in Japan have been boosting their rotary-wing aircraft fleet, seeing the benefits of helicopters in times of large-scale disasters. Besides being able to carry out relief efforts safely and efficiently, helicopters also proved to be the fastest and safest mode of transport, as public transportation systems were badly affected. $$$

March 23, 2012

Japan / Historic tsunami advise and response
In late May, I was following the usual research routine of interviewing individuals involved at the various stages of the disaster response, and particularly those involved in the distribution of critical supplies as part of the relief effort. In a refugee centre on Miyatojima, at the entrance to Matsushima Bay, I stumbled on a story that taught me something unexpected: Collective memory, as much as science and engineering, may save your life. After a long day of field work, my colleagues and I were chatting with a community leader, Koutaro Ogata. He told us that he and his neighbours were aware that a large earthquake would generate tsunami and they knew what to do because “a thousand years ago” a massive earthquake and tsunami had wiped out Murohama. $$$$$

March 22, 2012

World / Economic disruption supply chain after an earthquake
With the one year anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake upon us, the wide scale destabilization caused by the tragic event has prompted extensive discussion about supply chain resilience. Following their annual survey, the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) followed up with those companies who had reported disruption to their supply chains, examining what the long term effects have been and as a result, what changes they will be making to their overall strategy. $$$

March 21, 2012

USA / California / San Diego / Nuclear Plant seismic studies
Starting work on new seismic studies for San Onofre began to get much more attention from the public after a massive 9.0 earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, led to an eventual triple meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Japan. $$$$

Canada / USA / Western states / Tsunami debris
As the massive field of lumber, refrigerators, fishing boats and other wreckage from last year’s Japanese tsunami drifts across the Pacific Ocean, state and provincial governments along coastal North America are planning what to do when pieces of the devastation arrive on their shores. $$$$$

March 19, 2012

USA / Earthquake Research Projects
The U.S. Geological Survey will award up to $7 million in grants and cooperative agreements for earthquake research in 2013. "These grants have a distinguished history of having supported excellent projects and people as an investment into reducing earthquake hazards," said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. "Some of our current USGS operational products began as earthquake research grants that were then handed over to the agency for long-term implementation." $$$$$

QuakeSOS+ and QuakeSOS free are iPhone applications developed by Armand Vervaeck, the founder of Earthquake Report. The Application simplifies immediate group communication to friends and family members (with your exact GPS location) and is feeding the users with Earthquake Report news. The 0.99 US$ QuakeSOS+ version will support the activities of SOS Earthquakes.

a headlines on twitter
@OnlyQuakeNews : Get all the headlines of our articles + regular updates on ongoing events
@QuakeSOS : news + automatic earthquake notifications of USGS earthquakes of M 4.0 or higher with emphasis to earthquakes in the America's and the Pacific Ocean sphere (4 and up) and a lot of the rest of the world (5 and up). This account was created for our QuakeSOS and QuakeSOS+ iPhone applications
@ShakingEarth : news + automatic earthquake notifications of EMSC earthquakes of M 4.0 or higher with emphasis to earthquakes in European and Asian / Middle East sphere (4 and up) and a lot of the rest of the world (5 and up). This account was originally created to stimulate our Facebook account
@QuakeMaps : news with mapping notifications of ALL earthquakes M 3.0 and higher from all over the world via EMSC and USGS. This account was created for our website