Monday, June 30, 2014

[Geology2] New bridge design improves earthquake resistance, reduces damage and speeds construction

New bridge design improves earthquake resistance, reduces damage and speeds construction

Created on Monday, 30 June 2014
Written by Emil Venere

Seattle, Washington - Researchers have developed a new design for the framework of columns and beams that support bridges, called "bents," to improve performance for better resistance to earthquakes, less damage and faster on-site construction.

The faster construction is achieved by pre-fabricating the columns and beams off-site and shipping them to the site, where they are erected and connected quickly. 

"The design of reinforced concrete bridges in seismic regions has changed little since the mid-1970s," said John Stanton, a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Washington, Seattle, who developed the concept underlying the new design. The team members include professor Marc Eberhard and graduate research assistants Travis Thonstad and Olafur Haraldsson from the University of Washington; and professor David Sanders and graduate research assistant Islam Mantawy from the University of Nevada, Reno.

Research findings are included in a paper being presented during Quake Summit 2014, the annual meeting for the National Science Foundation's George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation, a shared network of laboratories based at Purdue University. This year's summit is part of the 10th U.S. National Conference on Earthquake Engineering on July 21-25 in Anchorage, Alaska.

Until now the majority of bridge bents have been made using concrete that is cast in place, but that approach means time is needed for the concrete to gain strength before the next piece can be added. Pre-fabricating the pieces ahead of time eliminates this requirement, speeding on-site construction and reducing traffic delays. 

"However, pre-fabricating means the pieces need to be connected on-site, and therein lies a major difficulty," Stanton said. "It is hard enough to design connections that can survive earthquake shaking, or to design them so that they can be easily assembled, but to do both at once is a real challenge."

Moreover, the researchers have achieved this goal using only common construction materials, which should smooth the way for owners and contractors to accept the new approach, he said.

An important feature of the new system is that the columns are pre-tensioned.

"A good analogy is to think of a series of a child's wooden building blocks, each with a hole through it," Stanton said. "Stack them on top of one another, put a rubber band through the central hole, stretch it tight and anchor it at each end. The rubber band keeps the blocks squeezed together.  Now stand the assembly of blocks up on its end and you have a pre-tensioned column. If the bottom of the column is attached to a foundation block, you can push the top sideways, as would an earthquake, but the rubber band just snaps the column back upright when you let go."

This "re-centering" action is important because it ensures that, directly after an earthquake, the bridge columns are vertical and not leaning over at an angle. This means that the bridge can be used by emergency vehicles in the critical moments immediately following the earthquake.

"Of course, the real bridge columns do not contain rubber bands, but very high-strength steel cables are used to achieve the same behavior," Stanton said.

To keep the site operations as simple as possible, those cables are stressed and embedded in the concrete at the plant where the columns are fabricated. The columns also contain some conventional rebar, which is also installed in the fabrication plant.

The technology was pioneered in the building industry in the 1990s but is now being adapted for use with bridges.

When the columns rock during an earthquake, they experience high local stresses at the points of contact, and without special measures the concrete there would crush. To counteract this possibility, the researchers protected the ends of the columns with short steel tubes, or "jackets," that confine the concrete, not unlike the hoops of a barrel, or the steel cap that ranchers use to protect the top of a fence-post while driving it into the ground.

"Cyclic tests of the critical connections have demonstrated that the system can deform during strong earthquakes and then bounce back to vertical with minimal damage," Stanton said.

Those tests were conducted on individual connections by graduate assistants Olafur Haraldsson, Jeffrey Schaefer and Bryan Kennedy. In July, the team will test a complete bridge built with the system. The test will be conducted at 25 percent of full-scale on the earthquake-shaking tables at a facility at the University of Nevada, Reno. The facility is part of NEES.

Travis Thonstad led the design and built the components for that test. The column and cap beam components were then shipped to the University of Nevada, Reno, where Islam Mantawy is leading the construction of the bridge. The team from Washington and Nevada will be processing the data from this project, and it will be archived and made available to the public through NEES. The team from Washington and Nevada will process the data from the project, which will be archived and made available to the public through the NEES Project Warehouse data repository at

The Quake Summit paper was authored jointly by the team. The research was supported by the NSF, the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research (PEER) Center and the Valle Foundation of the University of Washington.


Posted by: Lin Kerns <>


[Geology2] Volcano News 06/30/2014

Volcano scoring system updated

Last updated 18:47 30/06/2014

A new scoring system will make it easier to keep tabs on New Zealand's volcanic activity from tomorrow. 

The Volcanic Alert Level system, used by GNS Science and GeoNet to communicate volcanic activity, has been simplified to provide better guidance in the event of volcanic unrest, GNS Science said.

"The old system was used successfully through many eruptions, but user groups told us that it was too complex," GNS volcano information specialist Brad Scott said. 

The six-stage system was changing to better align with the needs of organisations such as the civil defence and emergency management sector, tourism operators, and civil aviation, as well as the public and the media, he said.

The new system was developed as part of a PhD research project at Massey University, with input from the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management and other user groups. 

GNS social science researcher Sally Potter said it would improve communication of scientific information. 

"During my research the people who use the alert level system told me that having a simple volcanic alert level system is really important to them," she said.

"So we combined the two existing systems into one new system for all of New Zealand's volcanoes, and simplified the wording.

"We also included information on the most likely hazards that will be seen at each alert level. This is important information for our emergency management partners and communities affected by the volcanoes."   

She said the former system was too complex, plus developments in volcano monitoring over the past 20 years created an opportunity for a more accurate alerting system, especially in defining lower levels of activity. 

The overall number of levels in the new system would remain unchanged, from 0 (no volcanic unrest) to 5 (major volcanic eruption). No changes have been made to the international aviation colour code system. 

Volcanologists first developed the alert system in 1994. It was revised before the Ruapehu eruptions in 1995 and this is its third update. 


White Island - January 2014

Papakura Geyser - October 2013

Mt Tongariro - August 2013

Ruapehu - May 2013


Powerful Savo volcano could be solution to electricity demands of Solomon Islands capital Honiara

By Pacific correspondent Sean Dorney

Updated Mon 30 Jun 2014, 

An Australian company is hoping it can use thermal power from a Solomon Islands volcano to provide electricity to the country's capital, Honiara.

Savo Island's volcano last erupted more than 100 years ago but steam escaping from its vents can often be seen from Honiara, on the much larger island of Guadalcanal where blackouts are not uncommon.

If the project works out then power would be delivered to Honiara via an undersea cable that would run for the 14 kilometres between the two islands.

Map: Power would be delivered via a 14km cable between Honiara and Savo

The Brisbane based Geodynamics Limited and its joint venture partner Kentor Energy Pty Ltd (a subsidiary of Kentor Gold) told the Australian Stock Exchange the granting of development consent by the Solomon Islands Government follows a review of both their Environmental and Social Impact Assessment and their Environmental Management Plan.

"The next key step for us is to undertake exploration drilling on the island to prove the existence of a geothermal reserve capable of supporting the project," Geodynamic's chief executive officer Geoff Ward said.

"But also, as a key prerequisite to that, we are negotiating a power purchasing agreement to know that there will be a market for the power should we be successful with our exploration."

Those negotiations are with the Solomon Islands Electricity Authority and government.

"Our initial exploration studies have identified a resource in excess of 30 megawatts potential on Savo Island," Mr Ward said.

"That would be enough to supply all of Honiara's demand and a significant part of its future demand."

If it proceeds to development, Mr Ward says the electricity would be generated in a power station which would be built on Savo.

"In geothermal power we're looking to identify and exploit geothermal heat which is trapped in a reservoir deep under the ground typically located at a depth of 1,500 to 2,000 metres," he said.

"So on Savo Island there is a heat source where tectonic and volcanic activity has brought it up close to the surface.

"We hope to find a reservoir trapped in fractured rock with a cap that we can drill through using specially designed and constructed equipment that can safely manage the temperature and pressure of the fluids down there.

"We'll bring the fluids to the surface through a production well, extract the heat from those fluids to drive a steam turbine and then we re-inject the brine or condensed steam back into the reservoir it came from creating a balanced and closed system."

At the moment most of Honiara's power comes from diesel generators, and fuel imports make up about 20 per cent of the Solomon Islands' total import bill.

Mr Ward says the company believes it would need at least an initial 10 MW power station to justify the costs of exploration and building the infrastructure.

"We're very confident that it will be cheaper than diesel," he said.

"We anticipate that the cost of diesel will keep going up and the cost of geothermal would remain flat over the life of the project."

Mr Ward says the switch from imported fossil fuel based energy to indigenous renewable energy should free up foreign reserves currently used to pay for diesel imports and so help it will improve the Solomon Islands Balance of Trade.

However, that is still a few years away.

"If we commence exploration later this year we would hope to be in production in 2018," he said.

Geodynamics is working on a similar thermal-power exploration project on Efate Island in Vanuatu.


Stromboli volcano (Eolian Islands, Italy): intense activity and lava flows

Monday Jun 30, 2014  | BY: T

Webcam images of the lava flow on Stromboli's Sciara del Fuoco this night and morning
Webcam images of the lava flow on Stromboli's Sciara del Fuoco this night and morning
The first 3 lava flows yesterday: the first (below) as intracrater lava flow from S2 (northeast hornito) vent, the second flow as short-lived flow from a new vent on the outer NW slope beneath the crater rim (top r), and the third flow, again an intracrater flow from S2 in the evening.
The first 3 lava flows yesterday: the first (below) as intracrater lava flow from S2 (northeast hornito) vent, the second flow as short-lived flow from a new vent on the outer NW slope beneath the crater rim (top r), and the third flow, again an intracrater flow from S2 in the evening.
Beginning of the second intra-crater lava flow from the S2 vent last night
Beginning of the second intra-crater lava flow from the S2 vent last night
Activity at the volcano increased further and produced several lava overflows both inside the crater and on the upper Sciara del Fuoco. At the moment, the latter one is still active and has a length of approx. 200 m.
Following intense phases of continuous spattering (or small lava fountaining) from the central and other vents, accompanied by increasing tremor, a first intra-crater lava flow started around 08:30 local time from the NE hornito (S2).
Shortly after, starting from 11:18 an effusive vent starts to open up on the outer northwestern slope of the crater terrace, some ten meters beneath the NW vent complex (vent S3), and issue a lava flow directly onto the Sciara.
Both lava flows were relatively short-lived, while strombolian and spattering activity continued intense at the various vents.
A third lava flow occurred again from the NE hornito at 19:30 inside the crater terrace.
A 4th lava flow, and the most vigorous one so far, and the one still active, began around 20:30 last night as overflow from the same NE hornito (S2) and has been traveling down the upper Sciara del Fuoco. Whether it will reach the sea will mainly depend on how stable the current magma supply rate is.

Video of Pizzo webcam during last night:



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[californiadisasters] Wildfire - Santa Clara Co. - San Jose - Curie Incident


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[californiadisasters] North San Luis Obispo County CERT Earthquake Drill


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[californiadisasters] North Ops News & Notes Update (6/30/14-11:38AM)

News and Notes

National Weather Service - Eureka has a Fire Weather Watch in effect from Tuesday afternoon through Tuesday evening for dry thunderstorms for fire weather zone 283 - the Western portion of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Miles N Weaverville CA&product1=Fire+Weather+Watch&lat=40.85526&lon=-122.94288


National Weather Service - Sacramento has a Fire Weather Watch in effect from Tuesday afternoon through Tuesday evening for isolated dry thunderstorms in fire weather zones 213, 263 and 279. weather watch


National Weather Service - Reno has issued a Red Flag Warning in effect for Tuesday (1300-2100) for thunderstorms and strong outflow winds for the Eastern Sierra and Western Nevada Sierra Front. flag warning

The National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) has designated the week of June 30th through July 6th as "A Week to Remember, Reflect, and Learn", to commemorate the 20-year anniversary of the South Canyon fire accident and the one-year anniversary of the Yarnell Hill fire accident, to honor the memories of all fallen wildland firefighters, and to reflect on lessons learned from different types of wildland fire accidents.


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[californiadisasters] On This Date In California Weather History (June 30)

2013: A heat wave on the order of a 20 year event enveloped the west and Southern California from 6/28 to 6/30.
Death Valley hit the highest U.S. June temperature ever recorded: 129
° F on 6/30.
On this day Palm Springs and Thermal reached 122° F, which tied or set new June records and came within one degree of the all-time highest temperature on record.
In Borrego Springs it was 120° F, two degrees off the highest all-time.

The rainfall season ended on this day as the driest on record for many locations of Orange County, the Inland Empire, and the San Bernardino Mountains.
In Santa Ana only 2.22° fell, in Riverside 1.71", and in Big Bear Lake 4.09°.
In Thermal only 0.17° fell, the lowest season on record (since 1950).

2001: The Martis Fire began and ultimately burned over 14,000 acres along the Carson Range.

1994: China Lake NAS reached a sweltering 118° F for a high temperature, highest ever in June.

1985: A heat wave started on this day and continued until 7.3.
It was 100° F or higher in parts of the city of San Diego.
A fire broke out in Normal Heights.

1982: Numerous reports of funnel clouds over Clovis.
One touched down near Fresno State University damaging some sprinklers.
Thunderstorms also caused street flooding in Farmersville and also flooded some homes in other parts of the Valley. 1.62" of rain reported at Dinuba.

1980: 80 fell in '80!
0.80" of rain fell in Palm Springs, the greatest daily rainfall amount on record for June.

1972: Mount Hamilton had a high of 94° F.

1972: It was 99° F in Palomar Mountain, the highest temperature on record for June.
This also occurred the previous day on 6.29.

1891: Fresno set an all-time record high for June, 112° F (tied on June 25, 1925).

Source: NWS San Francisco/Monterey, Hanford, Reno, & San Diego



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[Geology2] Three Ancient Volcanoes Discovered in Australia

Three Ancient Volcanoes Discovered in Australia

Jun 28, 2014 by

Scientists at Monash University have announced the discovery of three previously unrecorded ancient volcanoes in the Hamilton area of the Newer Volcanics Province, Victoria, Australia.

The newly discovered volcanic complex Cas Maar: upper - the wide asymmetrical maar, about 900 m across; middle - the eastern maar-rim sequence showing two layers of spattery lava; bottom - lower sequence of spattery lavas (left) and upper sequence of spattery lavas and scoriaceous tuff showing sharp contact between the two materials (right). Image credit: J. A. Boyce et al.

The newly discovered volcanic complex Cas Maar: upper – the wide asymmetrical maar, about 900 m across; middle – the eastern maar-rim sequence showing two layers of spattery lava; bottom – lower sequence of spattery lavas (left) and upper sequence of spattery lavas and scoriaceous tuff showing sharp contact between the two materials (right). Image credit: J. A. Boyce et al.

The Newer Volcanics Province constitutes the most recent phase of volcanic activity in Australia, with eruptions spanning from largely 4.5 million to 5,000 years ago.

It covers an area of nearly 19,000 km2 in Victoria and South Australia, and, with over 400 volcanoes, features the youngest volcanoes in Australia including Mount Schank and Mount Gambier.

"Victoria's latest episode of volcanism began about 8 million years ago, and has helped to shape the landscape. The volcanic deposits, including basalt, are among the youngest rocks in Victoria but most people know little about them," explained Julie Boyce, a researcher with the Monash University's School of Geosciences and the lead author of a paper published in the Australian Journal of Earth Sciences.

"Though it's been more than 5,000 years since the last volcanic eruption in Australia, it's important that we understand where, when and how these volcanoes erupted. The province is still active, so there may be future eruptions."

The largest unrecorded volcano, named Cas Maar, is a substantial maar-cone volcanic complex identified 37 km east of Hamilton. It features a broad, low relief volcanic crater up to 0.9 km wide with a rim 30 m above the surrounding plains.

"The discoveries were made possible only by analyzing a combination of satellite photographs, detailed NASA models of the topography of the area and the distribution of magnetic minerals in the rocks, alongside site visits to build a detailed picture of the Hamilton region of the Newer Volcanics Province," Boyce said.

"Traditionally, volcanic sites are analyzed by one or two of these techniques. This is the first time that this multifaceted approach has been applied to the Newer Volcanics Province and potentially it could be used to study other volcanic provinces worldwide," she said.

The Newer Volcanics Province is considered active, as carbon dioxide is released from the Earth's mantle in several areas, where there is a large heat anomaly at depth. With an eruption frequency of one volcano every 10,800 years or less, future eruptions may yet occur.

"It's hoped that this multifaceted approach will lead to a better understanding of the distribution and nature of volcanism, allowing for more accurate hazard analysis and risk estimates for future eruptions."


J. A. Boyce et al. Eruption centres of the Hamilton area of the Newer Volcanics Province, Victoria, Australia: pinpointing volcanoes from a multifaceted approach to landform mapping. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, published online June 16, 2014; doi: 10.1080/08120099.2014.923508


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[Geology2] Volcanic activity worldwide 29 Jun 2014

Volcanic activity worldwide 29 Jun 2014: Stromboli, Kilauea, Sakurajima

Sunday Jun 29, 2014

Eruption at Stromboli this morning (INGV Pizzo webcam)
Eruption at Stromboli this morning (INGV Pizzo webcam)
Ash plume hovering over the southeastern sector of Sakurajima this morning (Tarumizu webcam)
Ash plume hovering over the southeastern sector of Sakurajima this morning (Tarumizu webcam)
The new lava flow seen yesterday (USGS)
The new lava flow seen yesterday (USGS)
Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): Activity remains elevated. A high level of magma causes continuous spattering and many strombolian eruptions from several vents on the crater terrace:

Frequent rockfalls are occurring on the Sciara del Fuoco, but (so far at least) no new lava overflows.

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): A stronger phase of activity is occurring at the volcano. During the past 24 hours, 4 vulcanian-type explosions were registered, ejecting ash plumes to up to 13,000 ft (4.2 km) altitude.
In addition, the volcano has continuous phases of ash emissions following the explosions. Ash plumes, some of them relatively thick have been drifting S, SE and E.
Compared to last year, the volcano has been less active, however. So far, there have been approx. 240 recorded eruptions (explosions), while this number last year at the same time was already almost double (435).

Kilauea (Hawai'i): (29 Jun) A new lava breakout occurred Friday early morning (local time) from a new vent on the outer northern flank of Pu'u 'O'o crater. It feeds a new lava flow with several branches headed to the north and northeast. The most advanced of the them traveled to the NW and had quickly reached a length of approx 1 km yesterday, but has not advanced much since.
The event was marked by a sudden deflation of the cone, indicating that magma drained from underneath the Pu'u 'O'o crater terrace and moved to the new vent. This rapid drop in magma level under the crater terrace resulted in the collapse of several of the spatter cones. Until yesterday, these had been the site of frequent overflows and were feeding the Kahaual'a2 flow field.
Overall, activity at the volcano has been relatively stable over the past months, with good magma supply to both the summit lava lake in Halema'uma'u and the Pu'u 'O'o vents on the eastern rift zone in 10 km distance. The new vent at Pu'u 'O'o is simply a change in the surface configuration of vents for Kilauea's continued magma supply.

Volcano Activity Summary for 29 Jun 2014:

Currently erupting:

Ambrym (Vanuatu): active lava lakes in several craters (updated 14 Aug 2013)
Bagana (Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea): ash explosions (updated 27 May 2014)
Barren Island (Indian Ocean): intermittent activity, likely strombolian-type and/or lava flows (updated 4 Feb 2014)
Batu Tara (Sunda Islands, Indonesia): strombolian explosions, ash plumes up to 500 m, extrusion of a small lava dome with rockfalls (updated 16 Jun 2014)
Colima (Western Mexico): extrusion of lava flow from summit, intermittent explosions (updated 10 Apr 2014)
Dukono (Halmahera): thermal anomaly, probably small explosive activity in summit crater (updated 28 Jun 2014)
Erebus (Antarctica): active lava lake in summit crater (updated 21 Jan 2012)
Erta Ale (Ethiopia): active lava lake in northern pit crater, active hornito with intermittend flow in southern crater (updated 11 Jan 2013)
Fuego (Guatemala): strombolian explosions from summit crater, intermittent lava flows (updated 28 Jun 2014)
Ibu (Halmahera, Indonesia): growing lava dome, occasional ash emissions (updated 30 Mar 2014)
Karymsky (Kamchatka): occasional small explosions, thermal anomaly (updated 13 Apr 2014)
Kilauea (Hawai'i): lava lakes in Halemau'uma'u and Pu'u 'O'o, lava flows on coastal flat and weakly active ocean entries (updated 13 Aug 2013)
Lokon-Empung (North Sulawesi, Indonesia): small explosions, lava flow? (updated 25 Jul 2013)
Manam (Papua New Guinea): degassing, occasional ash venting (updated 28 Aug 2013)
Marapi (Western Sumatra, Indonesia): sporadic explosions (updated 27 Mar 2014)
Nishino-shima (Volcano Islands): lava effusion enlarging the new island (updated 19 Jun 2014)
Nyiragongo (DRCongo): active lava lake in summit crater (updated 26 Feb 2014)
Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania): effusion of natrocarbonatite lava inside the crater (updated 8 Jul 2013)
Reventador (Ecuador): intermittent explosions, lava fountaining and lava flow emission on 23-24 April (updated 19 Jun 2014)
Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): ash venting, intermittent explosions (updated 29 Jun 2014)
Sangeang Api (Indonesia): growing lava dome & lava flow (updated 23 Jun 2014)
Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): generation of hot lahars (updated 19 Jun 2014)
Semeru (East Java, Indonesia): growing lava dome, ash venting and small to moderate explosions (updated 25 Jul 2012)
Shiveluch (Kamchatka): growing lava dome, incandescent avalanches, occasional explosions (updated 16 Jun 2014)
Sinabung (Sumatra, Indonesia): effusion of viscous lava, steaming, ash emissions (updated 27 May 2014)
Slamet (Central Java): strombolian explosions from central crater (updated 30 Apr 2014)
Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): intense strombolian eruptions, spattering and occasional small lava overflows from several vents (updated 29 Jun 2014)
Suwanose-jima (Ryukyu Islands): strombolian activity in summit crater (updated 19 Jun 2014)
Ubinas (Peru): degassing, sporadic small explosions and ash venting (updated 26 Jun 2014)
Yasur (Tanna Island, Vanuatu): ash emissions, weak strombolian explosions (updated 14 Aug 2013)
Zhupanovsky (Kamchatka, Russia): ash emissions (updated 19 Jun 2014)

Eruption warning / minor activity:

Bezymianny (Central Kamchatka Depression): steaming, degassing (updated 18 Jun 2014)
Chirpoi (Kurile Islands, Russia): hot spot visible on satellite imagery (updated 1 May 2014)
Etna (Sicily, Italy): continuing weak strombolian activity from NSEC (updated 19 Apr 2014)
Heard (Australia, Southern Indian Ocean): possibly lava lake in summit crater (updated 27 May 2014)
Kavachi (Solomon Islands): no eruption since 2007 (updated 16 Jun 2014)
Kelud (East Java): steaming, activity at crater unknown (updated 2 Mar 2014)
Kerinci (Sumatra): seismic unrest (updated 5 Jun 2013)
Krakatau (Sunda Strait, Indonesia): degassing (updated 31 Mar 2014)
Medvezhia (Kurile Islands, Russia): strong steaming, thermal anomaly (updated 17 Jan 2013)
Nyamuragira (DRCongo): increased seismic activity (updated 13 Apr 2014)
Papandayan (West Java): strong hydrothermal activity, increased seismicity (updated 6 May 2013)
Piton de la Fournaise (La Réunion): short-lived eruption during 21-22 June (updated 23 Jun 2014)
Poas (Costa Rica): occasional small phreatic explosions, intense degassing (updated 23 Jun 2014)
Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): degassing, sporadic explosions, slowly growing lava dome (updated 19 Jun 2014)
Rabaul (Tavurvur) (New Britain, Papua New Guinea): weak ash explosions (updated 26 Aug 2013)
Rasshua (Central Kuriles)
Raung (East Java): strombolian activity in summit crater (updated 5 Aug 2013)
Rincón de la Vieja (Costa Rica): small phreatic eruption on 11 April (updated 6 Oct 2012)
Sacabaya (Northern Chile, Bolivia and Argentina)
San Cristobal (Nicaragua): possible ash emission on 11 April (updated 12 Apr 2014)
San Miguel (El Salvador): gas and ash emissions (updated 28 Jun 2014)
Sangay (Ecuador): degassing (updated 24 May 2013)
Shishaldin (United States, Aleutian Islands): possibly lava fountaining episodes in summit crater (updated 19 Jun 2014)
Soputan (North Sulawesi, Indonesia): degassing, seismic crisis, eruption warning (updated 1 May 2014)
Ulawun (New Britain, Papua New Guinea): degassing, ash venting (updated 5 Aug 2013)



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[Geology2] Mayon Volcano spews white smoke

Mayon Volcano spews white smoke

 Jun 29, 2014

White smoke is seen coming out of Mayon Volcano in Albay at around 11 a.m. on June 29. However, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology science research analyst Alex Baloloy said the volcano remains at Alert Level 1.



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[Geology2] Geologist: History shows Oklahoma earthquakes not new phenomenon

Friday, June 27, 2014

Geologist: History shows Oklahoma earthquakes not new phenomenon

By Jay F. Marks

Glen Brown is passionate about geology.

So passionate that he started poring over U.S. Geological Service earthquake data while he was on vacation in Florida six months ago.

Brown's studies yielded what he called some surprising information.

Brown, who is vice president of geology at Continental Resources Inc., said he discovered evidence that Oklahoma's rising number of earthquakes isn't as unprecedented as most people believe.

Brown found a similar earthquake outbreak in the 1950s, when Oklahoma did not have equipment to properly measure seismic activity.

He also said those quakes may have been related to activity around the world, noting a similar spike in massive earthquakes worldwide since 2002.

Brown's theory isn't new to Austin Holland, a research seismologist with the Oklahoma Geological Survey, who has been studying Oklahoma's earthquake swarm.

"I have heard similar arguments," he said. "When I say unprecedented, I mean never observed before by humans in an intraplate setting world-wide. That doesn't mean that in the geologic past sequences like this have not occurred.

"There are number of times in the historic past before we had seismic monitoring that we had seismicity clusters, but none of these upticks in seismic activity even come close to comparing to what we see today.

"I respect the work they are doing, but certainly feel that it is not the whole story."

Some researchers have linked earthquakes in oil and natural gas-producing states to wastewater disposal wells, leading many central Oklahoma residents at a town hall meeting in Edmond on Thursday to call for a moratorium on them.

Regulators said such unilateral action is not allowed under state law, while researchers like Holland contend additional data from operating injection wells will help provide answers about Oklahoma's earthquakes.

New rules also will allow the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to prevent operators from setting up disposal wells near faults that have produced earthquakes.

Global swarm

Brown said the increasing number of earthquakes rattling Oklahoma coincides with higher activity worldwide, as it has in the past. He also noted much of Oklahoma's earthquake activity has been in different areas than where companies have drilled for oil and natural gas.

His research shows Oklahoma has experienced 18 earthquakes with a magnitude of 4 of higher since 2002, while the world has seen a marked rise in major quakes. That includes the 9.0 quake in Japan that spawned a massive tsunami in 2011.

Brown said a similar Oklahoma earthquake swarm came and went in the 1950s.

There were 30 earthquakes reported over just more than a decade at a time when such records were compiled based on what people felt because there wasn't enough equipment to measure seismic activity, he said.

Brown said Oklahoma didn't get its first seismograph until 1961. Before then, the closest one was near St. Louis, so only the quakes that were large enough cause some damage were recorded.

He found newspaper reports from 1952 comparing an earthquake near El Reno to a bomb blast.

The range of people who felt that that 5.5 earthquake is roughly the same as the Nov. 7, 2011, quake centered on Prague, Brown said. That 5.7 temblor remains the largest in state history.

Brown said there have been similar earthquakes recently in Virginia and South Carolina, where there is no oil and gas exploration, while seismic activity seems to be increasing in Mexico, as well.

He said the Naica region in central Mexico has experienced more earthquakes than Oklahoma, with no more explanation.

"That's geology," Brown said. "You have about 10 percent of the data set to figure out what you know."

He said Oklahoma's earthquake swarm in the '50s eventually petered out, so he expects the same thing to happen again.


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