Saturday, December 31, 2011

Not soon enough -- Ohio injection earthquake

Wow, I had just barely issued my eulogy for Ohio earthquakes, and down comes this M4.0!  Talk about timing!  I think they must be connected to the reservoir now, or another injection site.  If it becomes conjugate faulting, as with Arkansas, then right now they are activating the thrust portion.  I'm surprised they haven't started the strike-slip to the NE.  Maybe that's the next quake!

In other words, I would be surprised to see earthquakes line up to the NW forever.  Could be the influence of the reservoir, but after this M4, I 'predict' an M4.5 starting along the NE line.  That would make me happy, not because of the earthquake, but because, then, all would be right with the mechanics.  :)


Minor brick damage, depth is now 5 km.  There were several other injection wells in the vicinity and these have been shut down.  Ohio has 170+ injection wells, and they claim they never triggered an earthquake, but we know better!  :)

OK lights up for injection earthquakes

As we say good-bye to Ohio, we are lucky to have OK to light up the map with festive red lights.  At this point I would have wanted some really good instrumentation right on top of those big deep quakes to the east.  For if they were seismic couplets (identical twins) we would have had hard proof for fluid effects, since these things have always been associated with injection.

I consider OK and Virginia to be identical mechanisms, but OK is probably injecting at 10 times the rate of VA (which is fed from a dam).  Thus, OK will be ahead of VA in growth.  They are activating the deeper regions, so there is a question of when they will break the record for an injection-triggered earthquake (if you don't include China's M8).  I foresee some more action at depth (and to the sides) before that happens.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Ohio finally calls it a day with injection earthquakes


To satirically paraphrase:  "We know it doesn't trigger earthquakes, but we can't take a chance on proving it actually does.  We've got thousands of these wells, and more are expected."

Oh well, I suppose the earthquakes will stop now, unless they have totally opened up the system, as with Arkansas.  Still Ohio is just one big injection zone, so we must expect future action.  I'll just have to place my faith in Texas and Oklahoma!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ottawa seismic capacity near zero


CBC is releasing this stuff in dribs and drabs.  Now it's east Ottawa.  So, the seismic capacity (to death) in Ottawa is near zero.  What are the odds?  Does anybody care?  :)

West Texas injection earthquakes move out

Every day I scan this map looking for new red spots.  This is the only one in the last few days, an M2.5.  The area is getting bigger, which would usually mean bigger earthquakes, but I wish I knew where the injection site (s) was.  The seismometer coverage is probably very poor, so we don't have accurate depths.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

CBC spouts alarmist Ottawa earthquake blurb


Wow, and they say I'm an alarmist!  They fail to mention the odds, and what people can do.  But the article is essentially true.  Still, I think the odds are the same for any earthquake city, including Toronto, Boston, New York, Montreal, etc.  These are all  the same odds as Christchurch! (before)

Nobody does anything, and after this article, they still won't do anything.  Have a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

XBMC Eden on Linux

A while ago I got a little Zotac for my network video player.  That's because I was forced to give up on the PS3 which was actively nannying me.  I loaded xbmc live and it worked fairly well for standard videos, but garbled on HD (720p max).  I donated $50 to speed them along.  Now, I've been rewarded with their new Eden version, and it zooms on any 720p movie.  Thanks be to the driver gods!

So now the video is on my Mediatomb server with the big disk drives, and the little thing sails over the regular wired ethernet.  As you know, these are all my own movies that I made, I have gigabytes of them....ahem... that's right Mr. Sopa!

Lego Star Wars Cruiser

Yeah!  The men of the family got a big gift.  The two sons took over, since I'm old, and I took the timelapse video.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

OK Christmas earthquake goes deep

In order to be very polite on Christmas Day, this M3.3 earthquake was on the deep end of the megathrust.  This is exactly like Virginia, with a deep outlier earthquake.  In both cases it indicates a desire to go bigger, but this may happen at a very low rate.  OK doesn't have a natural water source like Arkansas and Virginia, so the water comes from the 160  injection wells.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Ohio gets another injection earthquake for Christmas

We can safely make fun of these Christmas earthquakes.  Not like the tragedy on the other side of the world.  This probably means they are continuing to inject.  As with Arkansas, if they continue to bust the whole thing open, it can tap into the local water.  Ohio has a long history of injection earthquakes, but nobody calls them that, out of politeness.

Update:  This article confirms it goes into the Precambrian and that's where all the water is being injected.  They have not plugged the bottom yet (which in my opinion renders the well useless), until they can get a new well.  So, they are still injecting, and we can expect bigger earthquakes.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Sleazy Seismic Retrofits


Interesting, the joke for me is that I'm not sure that even a 'good' retrofit is of any use when the house is 1920's brick, and on a swamp.  I don't think anybody can get killed in a brick house, unless they run outside in a panic.  So, the purpose is to up the seismic capacity for serious damage.  Obviously, when you pay a lot for a seismic retrofit, you expect the house to be essentially undamaged up to an appropriate PGV, perhaps 30 cm/s.  An old brick house is gone at 20 cm/s as shown in Churchill.  Decent buildings easily take 40 cm/s as shown in Chile.  Taiwan showed that serious damage for 'standard' modern construction starts at 50 cm/s.

Westinghouse AP1000 ready to build on top of faults


I soooo want this reactor for Ontario!  But, there will be nothing in my lifetime.  All the money has gone to building useless crumbly water tunnels.  So, the US will get them after they build huge reservoirs on top of faults.  Even with that, this reactor can take it, if it is built on rock, which is not guaranteed in the States.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christchurch Continues to Crumble - M5.8 Earthquake New Zealand

I knew this was going to go on for a long time.  That bizarre basin has to be maintained through earthquakes, and we are on a major crumble cycle.  Each earthquake knocks the basin down a bit.  When it goes through a full cycle it will be in a stress shadow for hundreds of years.

This is ever so on the Pacific Rim.  You can have a choice between a single massive earthquake, or a decade of terror.

Charleston Earthquake 1886 Revisited

Ok, you just go to the little search box on the right, type in Charleston, and you'll see I'm fascinated with this earthquake.

My main interest lies in the source zone, and the fact that it has shown a water dependence over the years.  Just now, there have been a couple of earthquakes there.

There is lots of water around, and I once had a fascinating tour of all the sand blows in the region.  I suspect we have a classic megathrust here, but this is really a case of earthquake blowout.  Did the 1886 earthquake create a stress shadow that has shut everything down for a long time?  It is possible.

Many of these small earthquake zones may have a 'maximum event' that shuts them down, but most of the smaller quakes just lead to larger ones in a classic fractal pattern.  Never fall for the gag that small earthquakes are 'relieving the stress' or some such thing.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Arkansas earthquakes now tapping into high reservoir

If I were to be scientific, I would put infinite qualifications and question marks.  But, what the hey, that's boring!  Arkansas continues to bubble away, even though they stopped injecting quite a while ago.  Now it is starting to look like Virginia, so I have great hope for another large earthquake!  (Is that goulish?).

This lake is very deep (Greers Ferry Dam)  well capable of inducing earthquakes.  Why hasn't it done anything until now, since the dam was built in 1960?  Once again, it is all rock mechanics, which is what I push on the deaf ears of seismology.

In order for water to start tickling a fault, you need permeability.  In other words, you could have very tight rock, and not a drop of water gets to the fault to start the process of stress corrosion.  These faults are at a very high stress, and not inclined to let water in.  As well, you could have a tight cap rock like shale protecting the fault.

All this goes away the moment you inject tons of water to 10,000 feet or more.  Every earthquake cracks more rock, and increases the permeability.  If you are pig-headed enough to keep injecting, you can crack the rock to the 'point of no return', that is, it starts to capture other water sources.

At the time of my first observations, I was not aware of this lake and thought the conjugate set of faults would shed all earthquakes after they stopped injecting.  Big Surprise!  There is no stopping this thing now.  It is like a big landslide, slowly gathering steam off the mountain.

This fault system will now start to grow into another New Madrid.

So now we have:

West Texas -  M4 in the new year, for sure.  They will never stop pumping.

Virginia - Had their M6, a long time for the M7

Ohio - they stopped pumping, probably dead.

Monday, December 19, 2011

New Round of Windows Mail Viruses

Lately I've been hit by people sending a legit-looking email, wanting to click on something.  Since I have a fairly well hardened Linux machine, I clicked on them.  They want your MS net password.  Contacting these people, I find they clicked on something, and all those emails were sent out.

I know these people are using plain vanilla MS outlook and ie.  I'm assuming these worms are using a new trick, so maybe any ms system can't resist.

I've told these people to consider using something else, but I know it is hopeless.  Just be on the alert for these things.  :)

US Nuclear Waste Hunt Turns to Granite


But the Sandia study lists factors like geological stability and low permeability pointing to granite deposits in the East and Midwest as possible sites for long-term nuclear waste disposal.

They have high expectations of granite.  I was looking at this 'forever' and it has a lot of problems.  Nevertheless, the only acceptable site is one in the granitic gneiss, between the megathrusts, and under unbroken shale.  This is what we have a Port Hope!

The joke is that any state chosen may pull all the Harry Reid tricks and stop the effort in its tracks.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Another injection earthquake for W Texas

Looks like my predictions are holding -- they'll keep injecting until the cows come in!  Another M3.2!  This is an unusual pattern, and we can play "Guess the injection site"  from this.  I am guessing it is starting another conjugate set like Arkansas, and that the site is on the little NW trending zone at the top.  As they continue, the earthquakes should go down to Snyder.  In Arkansas, the NE extended both top and bottom, but this may be only a bottom.  They should break M4 in another few weeks!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Radioactive Waste - If Wishes Were Fishes


Reasonable article.  So much unrealistic garbage is attached to nuclear waste disposal, I find it hard to believe we will get there.  Similar to new nuclear power in Ontario, we will only go to a forced conclusion when we are desperate, since it is all tied up in politics.

There are always 2 ways to go with this -- one is to pick reasonable geology and name a place.  This is always followed by a massive uproar, and heart-rendering stories about losers who moved there to get away from anything modern.  The 2nd is to allow everybody and their dog to request a dump, even though the geology is horrible.  This is what we are facing now.

Those towns around Bruce were quickly shut up by money and force.   Any screaming on their part will expose the existing Bruce waste disposal efforts.  I suspect we won't hear from them again.  :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Happy 200th New Madrid Earthquake!


That's a wonderful birthday for thinking.  Actually, I don't even want to think about it!

US approves AP1000 nuclear plant despite bullying


Toshiba Corp. (6502)’s Westinghouse Electric won majority support for the design of its AP1000 reactor from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, even as the members were feuding publicly over the panel’s leadership.

The situation at the US NRC is hilarious, but they did manage to approve this plant.  I consider this plant the most seismically rugged nuclear plant out there, although I am sure they can botch things up in the installation, like "Let's dam a huge lake right on top of a fault."

When Ontario starts freezing in the dark, these are great plants to put on the Wesleyville site.  But we won't expect any rationality for a while now, or until Pickering folds up.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

No Alberta Nuclear Plant -- Bruce gives up on another phony plan


Ontario's Bruce Power announced it will no longer advance the option for a new nuclear plant in Alberta that has been under consideration by the company since 2007.

This is actually a great Christmas story.

Once upon a time, Santa Bruce decided to give a gift to a poor shivering orphan - AECL.  Said sb:  "You are dying and nobody wants you.  We may have need of you in the future, and don't want you to go to a miserable death.  We will make up all sorts of plans for new nuclear plants on the worst sites so that Sugar Daddy Harper continues to pump you full of money.

First we will propose a plant up in Bruce on land we don't own.  What a hoot!   Then we'll go down to Lake Erie and propose a plant on a lake that totally freezes up for the half the year.  Everybody will be stunned!  Finally, off to Alberta and propose a plant with no water, on a mountain fault zone.  Those Albertans will be knocked off their cows!"

Little AECL looked up with her seal-baby eyes:  "But Geofish will figure out everything instantly."  sb:  "Nobody listens to him!"

Needless to say AECL passed on and lost the ACR baby.  All of the nuclear plans were returned.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Standard observations cause Kashmir earthquake panic


This has been quite interesting -- a large number of sensational articles (from India) scaring everybody to death.  Much worse than me about Toronto!

And the whole thing was just an arcane discussion on the maximum magnitude for the region.  Is it an 8 or a 9?  Probably makes no diff whatsoever for anybody living there.  These things do make a difference for tsunami height, but not much on local effects.  It's just that the damage zone is so much bigger.  Doesn't even change the odds that it will happen tomorrow.

Bruce area wants permanent nuclear waste


Most interesting.  I have railed so much against the 'low level' deep repository that it appears they have completely stopped.  Now, the local communities are so enthusiastic that they want the permanent site!

I've got a great idea!  Put in a deep fracking injection borehole.  Inject tons of water, which is the equivalent groundwater disturbance of a deep facility.  Let cook.  Feel the big earthquake, and you know the Grenville Front is not happy.

We need to put this at Port Hope!  Now, that's rock!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

M6.7 Mexico Earthquake

I just post this for the nice picture.  Such a lovely subduction zone!  This one is fairly deep, so unless it gets the Mexico City basin ringing, I don't expect much.

Update:  Reports confirm slight damage.

Virginia earthquakes slide down the megathrust

I'm having more confidence in their depth calculations, since they must have some decent seismometers by now.  They have just had an earthquake that is 16 km deep, which is very unusual for a small earthquake, since this won't be felt, and is difficult to detect.

This has happened way down on the gently dipping megathrust.  If there were to be more of these, I would say it is setting up for an M7.  The lake water cannot be turned off, and continues the stress corrosion of the silicates.

As for timing, who knows?  Probably not for Christmas.....

Friday, December 9, 2011

Favourite injection site in Texas gets M3.4 earthquake

I have 'predicted' that the site near Lubbock Texas will be the centre of our next 'interesting' injection earthquake.  Of course, to be interesting, it has to be over M5.5 or there about.

Now this site just had an M3.4.  The locals will just grit their teeth and bear it, not like Ohio whiners!  This gives a great chance that they will just carry on with massive deep injection, and not just curl up and shut it down.  :)

So, let's all guess how big we can get for New Years!

Injection earthquake relationship


“If you inject about 10,000 cubic metres, then the maximum sized earthquake would be about a magnitude 3.3,” says McGarr. Every time the volume of water doubles, the maximum magnitude of any quake rises by roughly 0.4. “The earthquakes may end up being much smaller, but you want to be prepared for the worst-case scenario,” says McGarr. The relationship is straightforward, but it is the first time that anyone has quantified it, he adds.

Ah, if you dig at the toe of a mountain slope, the maximum landslide is the same size as the road cut.  This would be a good rule most of the time.  Lots of people have died because you can trigger an absolutely monstrous landslide.  I have no more comments on this.

Heavy rain may trigger earthquakes


I like the observation, but their physics is off.  In any case, these are very active zones, and the rains probably only bring the earthquakes forward by less than half a year.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Canada's red hot housing bubble


I've only put this in because one of my first few posts in 2007 stated that the condo bubble was about to burst!  Ha, that's about the same quality as earthquake prediction!   foolish me.

Nuclear plants: Backups to Backups Never Work


Magee pointed out that the system is a backup that is needed only if the plant's other shutdown modes can't be used.
"We take their assessment of plant performance very seriously," Magee said. "This facility has never been needed in the 38 years of Oconee's operation."

I had this problem when installing seismic instrumentation -- if the system is regarded as useless by the operators, it will never work.  Operators have very short vision, usually just to the end of their nose.  The management consists of former operators.  A long time ago some designer thought to make things safer by putting in a backup to the backup system.  Bad mistake!

That's why nuclear plants do very badly in an earthquake.  The plant is full of these people who say "We haven't had an earthquake in 38 years, why bother?"

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

New nuclear plant is not happy


The Southern Co. continues to face "significant challenges" building the country's first brand-new nuclear plant on time and without exceeding its share of the roughly $6 billion budget, a state watchdog said in a report released Monday.

Interesting for Ontario.  The AP1000 is my choice for Ontario, although we may be stuck with a Canadian hamster wheel.  6 billion is extremely low, hope they can keep it to 12 billion.  Still, the earnings vs price will be infinitely greater than the collapsing Niagara Tunnel!

I hope this thing in Georgia is on hard rock.  Even the AP1000 wouldn't have a good seismic capacity on soft gunk.

Ohio on top of earthquake injection zone


This zone has completely turned off.  I always wonder about the relationship with injection rate, and/or total injection volume.  Still, I don't think they should have these things right downtown.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Niagara Tunnel still clearing collapse zone

On July 2nd, a "fall of ground" took place at 6,050 meters, effectively cutting the tunnel into two sections: the outlet and the inlet.

Work has continued unabated to repair the area of the fall of ground. It has been taking place within each section of the tunnel simultaneously. By luck, a crew bus was stranded in the intake section of the tunnel behind the TBM, allowing crews to be shuttled the nearly 4 kilometers to the rock fall zone. Unfortunately, the crew bus on the intake side became totally disabled. This caused Strabag a major logistical problem. It needed a replacement bus however the remainder of the main-beam and cutterhead of the TBM at the mouth of the intake side of the tunnel precluded the ability to just lower another mini sized crew bus into the intake channel floor and be driving directly into the tunnel unobstructed.

Using perhaps modern engineering adaptation at its best, Strabag did what one could consider most unorthodox but quite unique and innovative. During the week of November 14th, they took a replacement crew bus and cut the roof off the bus. The bus was now in two pieces. The chassis portion of the bus was lowered to the bottom of the intake channel. Now with sufficient clearance the bus chassis was driven underneath the existing cutterhead and main-beam. Once inside the tunnel, the bus chassis and roof were again welded together. A crew bus is again in service on the intake side of the Niagara Tunnel.   

This is interesting.  I always wish we knew more about this collapse, but that would be 'airing your dirty laundry in public', and that sort of thing isn't done in Canada.  Last time they had a collapse, they used the phony excuse of a single ungrouted borehole.  They didn't bother 'excusing' this time, must have a lot of confidence.

Obviously, the rock continues it's massive squeezing pressure.  The longer they are delayed in placing the final massive lining, the more chance of added collapses.  Still, more convergence puts less pressure on the final lining.  How long will that liner last?  One only has to look at the old Toronto Power wheel-pit to see.

Despite this collapse, the budget remains rock-solid :)   Really????

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Rogers vs Mastercard

This is a work of fiction, so those two ugly monopolies don't hammer me.  (Remember people, hammering backfires, ask CarrierIQ)

So, suddenly the son can't top up the minutes on his Rogers phone.  Turns out they are having an epic battle with Mastercard, and won't allow secondaries to charge their minutes.  The son, like every other student, and generally fun-employed house-warmer out there, just has a named card under their mother's name.

So naturally, it is time for us to call Rogers.  What a load of horse hockey we got from them!  Do not use them!  HA HA you have to use them!  They have a monopoly!!!  Stinky cows.  Off to another monopoly.

This week has 22 earthquakes

Canadians will get the joke.

Activity continues in Oklahoma and Virginia.  OK is probably still pumping and VA has that giant dam.  The VA nuclear plant is at full steam, with nothing changed.  Such happiness!

A big red dot extends the N Carolina trend which follows one of the megathrusts.  These are unusual events, up in the highlands, so the water source seems uncertain.  Must have extra permeability.

Two events on Lake Ontario that caused a bit of a stir.  Arkansas continues to have activity, the injection must have opened up the system to groundwater.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Just having generators in the basement caused Japan disaster


This report seems to contradict other reports which showed significant events after the shaking and before the tsunami.  But the level of shaking was very low, about 20 cm/s and should not have caused damage to the heavy safety systems.  Doesn't mean other systems didn't get bunged up.  I would love to see the ground motion records, but being Japan -- not in my lifetime.

Somehow this is important for the nuclear industry, and this is being touted all over the place.  Having the backup generators in the basement is great for seismic shaking, but unfortunately not all places conform to this wonderful layout.  :)

When I was with some mythical power company, seems like a dream, nobody cared about the seismic capacity of the electrical systems - weren't safety systems.  Now I wonder....

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Nuclear plant earthquake concern - Pt. Lepreau


This was interesting.  The 'powers' dragged in poor John Adams from the Feds, who just said it wasn't a plate margin and couldn't generate an M9.  The other guys actually brought in Ken Burke, who is not worse than me.  (said to avoid lawsuits).  He said an M6 could happen there any minute, and I agree.

Nowhere do they mention the seismic capacity of this decrepit old plant.  Is it as bad as Pickering?  Who knows?  An M6 will knock out power, and bring it to a 1 in 100 chance of core melt, due to possible backup problems.  These odds have been stated in risk studies, that power outage is the greatest risk.

Low seismic capacity starts to close buildings


The past few large earthquakes have taught the intelligent people of the world (not here!), that earthquakes happen everywhere at the 1 in 1000 level, and that there should be a minimum seismic capacity for all structures, no matter what the Jaws-like denying officials think.

I divide the world into 3 seismic capacity levels

Level 1 - Smooth Runnings - seismic capacity, expressed by PGV, where there should be no damage, and the place 'rides out' the storm.  Nuclear power plants, hospitals, etc should have a high value.

Level 2 - Incapacity - the building is 'taken out', non operational.  Very bad for Canada in the winter.  Power systems are very low for this.

Level 3 - Pancaking - This won't really happen for Canada, although I do see those cheap condos tipping over.

Earthquake engineers on the hotseat


Two engineers testified this week about their inspections of the Pyne Gould building at an ongoing probe into building failures during the Feb. 22 Christchurch earthquake, which killed 182 people. The engineers acknowledged that during their inspections, they never looked at building plans or a report that detailed the structure’s vulnerability.

It turns out this building had the seismic capacity of Christmas tinsel, but that wasn't their job.  They were just looking for structural weakening.  If you know that a building is going to pancake at 30 cm/s, what do you do?  Nobody has ever red-tagged a building, based on seismic capacity alone.  It is always mucked up with 'living history' observations, such as we get for Toronto -  "We don't get no stinkin' earthquakes!".

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Oklahoma continues to fish for earthquakes


I'm pretty sure that OK will continue its deep injection for earthquakes.  They aren't going to let a mere M5.6 slow them down!  But really, I have no idea what the following 'act' may be.  This not an conjugate set of faults like Arkansas, so maybe the M5.6 is the limit for this area.  Still, if they continue to inject, we must expect M3's and 4's along the edges.

OPG Nuclear and Drugs


Just threw this in because of old links, not nearly exciting as earthquakes!  I just think they should dole out lots of Cipralex, because it is the most depressing place in the world!  Lots of times we all wished we could mainline straight Morphine at our cubicles, just like terminal cancer patients.

I retired early, and it took years to stop the nightmares.  I wish everybody there lots of love.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Burlington, Ontario earthquake

Yeah!  An earthquake in my backyard!  Didn't feel it.

Good thing nobody's injecting here, or we would have had a big earthquake by now.  Just these little ones, they don't mean a thing.....


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Site of next injection earthquake?

I have some hope for this site in Texas (with the fresh red earthquake).  It's just down the megathrust from OK, so it's a good site.  People don't realize that it is a risky thing to drill an injection well when you don't know a thing about the Precambrian basement.  Between the megathrusts you have very high stresses (like the Niagara Tunnel!), and you can't inject a drop.  Many such wells have been abandoned.  But if you hit the active hanging wall of the megathrust, water goes in like a sieve.  Soon, many more injection wells are joining you for the party.

Just like Arkansas, OK and the rest, I have great faith that they will continue to inject until they get a big earthquake.  Since this is in the middle of nowhere, I hope they break the record!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Seismic renovation of schools


I'm not that fond of saving the exterior wall.  Multi-story brick walls cannot be saved!  You have to use 'invisible' bolts to secure the brick, and they pull out like soft cheese.

I'm glad nobody listens to me, since it makes everybody so much happier to save the walls.  When it's all done, make sure nobody runs out right away in an earthquake!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Italy earthquake trial - Sitting on a bomb


Nice article.  Lots of places in the world are 'sitting on a bomb' at 1 in 1000 odds.  Look at Toronto!  It is the nature of officials to ignore this.  And probably, you'll have a thousand earthquake clusters before one is  significant.  Still, there seems to be mixed opinions on this trial.

I think in reality it happened this way:  The scientists hemmed and hawed, using countless qualifications, so that they were not understandable.   The public officials then stated that there was nothing to worry about, and that all those earthquakes 'were relieving the stress', or some such babble.  The scientists, in their ivory tower, did nothing.  Like Christchurch, and a zillion other places, nobody bothered to mention everybody was in a seismic death trap, since everybody knew, but chose to ignore it.  As with Toronto, it's not really a scientific issue.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Japan Nuclear Plants - Too Big to Fail


A nice story, suitable for bedtime reading.  They use the same fallacy as everybody else uses:  We can't do anything about nuclear plants, because if we shut them all down, we die.  This prevents them from doing anything,

If I were a lot smarter, I'd feel like that scientist.  :)

Niagara Tunnel Reports

This is an interesting read for the serious students of the tunnel.

It basically states that with all the things that went wrong, that the cost will remain at 1.6 billion.  It also states that there is a significant increase in total electricity production.  It clarifies the financing, and mentions that it has spent 1 billion up to now.

So I'm completely wrong!  Can they actually keep it to 1.6 billion?  Will the liner survive the rock squeeze?  I'm so depressed....

Friday, November 18, 2011

Earthquake in Virginia - New Seismometers in Georgia


Somehow Georgia has got a sneak preview of USarray instruments that might eventually make it east.

Yeah!  We continue the wonderful balkanization of US seismology.  But soon the USarray will come in.  What are they studying?  Is it just the deep crust?  I remain hopeful.  (not really...)

Massive Permian CO2 spill exactly the same as today


In the Permian, we had true global warming.  But it was many, many times of what we have today.

I'm trying to work up an 'old ladies' talk.  What started me going was the classic dinosaur timeline.  They had their main fun during the middle of their reign and were declining before the 'whatever' hit.  Really, had just two dinos survived, and conditions were still right, they'd still be eating us for dinner!

But conditions weren't right, and it has to do with plate tectonics, and simple physics (something alien to geologists!).  The plates open and close like toilet seats.  

Now, all our earthquakes in eastern NA have their origins in the Precambrian plate closure, when the super continent Rodinia was formed.  I love thinking about that, when there were huge mountain ranges over Toronto.  Then we'd have some skiing!

But they split, and nothing much happened until they started to join up again before the Permian.  It was a time of joy for the early forms of what would eventually become mammals.

But in the Permian, everything joined up to become one big super continent, and here's where the physics comes in.  You'll never see this anywhere, but continent was a giant thermal blanket.  No spreading ridges between the land masses!  Think of all those wet, oceanic subducted plates just baking!  The big surprise is that it wasn't the CO2 that turned the whole place into a dinosaur's dreamland, it was the water vapour, which is many times more potent as a greenhouse gas.  Can't get volcanic CO2 injection without water vapour, kiddies!

Eventually, the continents split up again, and we got the cold, modern world.  Even if you raised a Jurassic dinosaur, you'd have a tough time keeping it alive.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

French Reactors are Cheesy


(Reuters) - France needs to upgrade the protection of vital functions in all its nuclear reactors to avoid a disaster in the event of a natural calamity, the head of its nuclear safety agency said, adding there was no need to close any plants.

Ok, let's not pick on poor old France, but this article does show the need to lower the odds for earthquake scenarios.  As well, they have to take a realistic attitude to field observations on how things actually perform during earthquakes.

Anyone who reads this knows one of my major pet peeves is the massive physics disconnect between field observations (experience data), and engineering design (seismic).  They are two different worlds!  Engineering design is defended using the words 'traditional' and 'conservative'.  Pah!

So, along come some earthquakes and blow this complacent attitude away.  Now we have reports.  It is funny that nothing will change in Canada and the US, because of entrenched interests, and the fact that the regulators don't have a speck of seismic expertise.  Being familiar with Canada, I can assure you that the regulator wouldn't hire an earthquake specialist, if one splattered on their windshield!  We leave it as an exercise to think of what the utilities will say.....

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Deep injection earthquakes Avoca, NY


Interesting article.  They only got up to an M3.2 before they turned it off.  It takes magnificent 'Jaws-like' pigheadedness to get higher.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Soft-story glass-walled condos


As we are aware, the seismic capacity of a soft-story condo approaches that of old brick in Christchurch.  From the Chile earthquake, the condos permanently tilt (must be abandoned) at 30-40 cm/s.  But Chile didn't have glass-walled condos!  Perhaps they are too smart.

With gw condos, we no longer have a nice brick or concrete infill.  Now, all the lateral stiffness must rely on the spidery columns.  And guess what?  They are useless!  What is the seismic capacity of such a beast?  Let's say 20 cm/s.  I believe this was easily hit by the Virginia earthquake on soft ground, as we would experience near the lake.  I can now update my earthquake scenario, in that these things will lose all their glass.  As we know, nothing will bother bank towers, since they pour the money into those things.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Virginia earthquake reactor good to go


Ah, but did Homer learn anything?  Nope.

This puts an end to the Virginia earthquake saga.  I'm pretty convinced the big dam induced the earthquake, but I was expecting more clues from the aftershock sequence.  Could have just gone on its own.

I expect more of these things, since everybody and their dog is injecting fluids.  Apparently the alternative is to just put that water into the sewer system....

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Turkey Earthquake - Reduction of Seismic Capacity


It seems that a hotel which survived the big earthquake, came down on a smaller quake.  This is the same as Christchurch, and results from either the smaller quake being closer and having a higher peak ground velocity (PGV), or the building has had its seismic capacity (in terms of PGV) greatly reduced by the first quake.

In Christchurch it was a combination of both.  Here, the hotel was badly cracked in the first quake, and still they jammed it with aid workers.  Thus arises the contentious issue of the role of ground motion duration in determining damage.  The issue is confused by the fact that nearly all earthquakes are over in a couple of cycles, but on soil basins the cycle (sinusoidal motions) can go on for 30 seconds or more.  Yet the soil greatly amplifies the PGV.  So, can duration override the PGV in determining structural damage?  My head hurts at the complications....

We do know that the first few cycles can damage the structure.  At this point, the building becomes softer and can gather energy at the lower frequencies.  As well, the relative-displacement-sensitive points have moved.  This can be the pull on rebars, or the way the floor hangs on untied lips.  Thus, buildings can survive in this state, and only need a puff to knock them over.

An engineer evaluating this building is left to hang in the breeze.  Unless he knows exactly how crappy the building is (made of sand with no steel) he cannot determine the critical displacement to collapse.  A good, ductile building can easily take cracks.  There is tremendous political pressure not to red-tag every building in sight.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Good-bye Oklahoma

Well, another induced earthquake has passed us by, and we have learned nothing.  Nobody can do the simplest thing such as a flow rate vs seismic activity plot.  And maybe the next earthquake will have decent depth control on locations.

The most memorable was a Monty Python sketch-type thing:

Picture John Cleese as the Minister of Silly Statements.

M:  No earthquake over M4.9 can be induced.

One aide whispers in his ear.

M: Oh dear.  Ahem.   No earthquake over M5.0 can be induced.

Other aide whispers.

M:  I see...... No earthquake over M5.2 can be induced.

and so on....  :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Nobody needs earthquake insurance


There's a big discussion in OK right now about earthquake insurance.  The case for EI revolves around the speculation whether the feds will turn on the taps after an earthquake.  Many people have been arguing that California and others won't see a penny, mainly because Katrina was so screwed up.

Well, the answer is "Yes Virginia, you will see generous near-zero loans for any damage you make up, and they will most likely forget who you are, being gov't and all."

Unlike tightwad insurance companies who probably demand proof of damage and repairs, this is like winning the lottery.  I leave it as an exercise on what people will do with the money.

So, in the US, don't get earthquake insurance!  The more you are damaged, the more you win!

ps.  I am totally at a loss if someone argues that political bailout money is tightly controlled.  I'll just give up and apologize for my horrible inference.  :)

OK earthquake g+ hangout

Here is a great recording by the man himself - Ron Schott.  You can just listen to the beginning, where I present the opposing opinion.  After that, I left to eat dinner.

But he is really good on the volcano, which is his specialty.

Monday, November 7, 2011

OK earthquake 'too powerful' to be man-made


Yes Virginia (ironic, no?), there is a limit to the size of an induced earthquake.

The magnitude-5.6 quake that rocked Oklahoma three miles underground had the power of 3,800 tons of TNT, which is nearly 2,000 times stronger than the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
The typical energy released in tremors triggered by fracking, "is the equivalent to a gallon of milk falling off the kitchen counter," said Stanford University geophysicist Mark Zoback.

Zoback is the really, really big star of the earthquake academic world.  I'm surprised he gave a sound-bite.

But wastewater from hundreds of wells is often collected and disposed of deep underground through so-called injection wells. In Lincoln County, Okla., where the recent earthquakes hit, there are approximately 1,982 active oil and gas wells, according to Matt Skinner, spokesman for the state agency that oversees oil and gas production. There are 181 injection wells.

I was suspecting there was one deep injection well!  Oh well, (ha!), let's wait for the next one.....

OK Geo Survey first to prove earthquake to fracking link

And we thought the British had the credit!  No, here is the real deal, greatly underemphasized and buried under the carpet.

Below is the Garvin county in the paper.  Right up the megathrust is the new thing.  These zones can be imagined as bright red lines all the way down ENA where you do not build giant dams, or inject water.  But the nature of the geology makes them ideal for this sort of thing......

OK and VA earthquakes Part 2: Walks like a duck

These are the best felt area maps I can get right now.  I would really like the larger version for OK, but it is not available.

I know this earthquake was felt all the way to Chicago, so the lobe is weighted to the NE, like all of these earthquakes.

Again, both earthquakes seem a bit more symmetrical than past earthquakes, but they have the same general lobed felt area.

Earthquakes: OK and Virginia identical twins

Using my poor eyes in the morning, I have tried to plot the aftershocks to the same scale.  If they actually had accurate depths, I would expect the aftershock sequence to deepen to the SE.  I consider them both to be identical mechanisms, caused by fluid injection, by a dam, and one by borehole.

I am surprised that the OK earthquake has a much bigger aftershock zone, and yet it was a smaller earthquake in Magnitude.  This probably reflects the state of stress in the deep rocks.  By definition, it will turn out the the VA earthquake has a much higher 'stress drop'.

Anyway, with all the dams, and all the new injection, we can expect another earthquake soon, for comparison purposes -- Ohio.

PS - The OK earthquake is listed as pure strike-slip.  Either there is a wide uncertainty band, or we can expect a thrust earthquake (or one has already happened in the distant past).  An isolated pure S-S earthquake cannot exist mechanically in this area.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Oklahoma Earthquake: Tickling the Megathrust

Wow!  An M5.6!  This is the exact same aftershock pattern as Virginia, and it could have been Arkansas, if they had a bit more stupidity juice and kept injecting.  :)

I'll go out on a limb, and say this is caused by deep injection into the exact same megathrust that runs under Toronto -- they line up pretty good.  I know they will keep injecting here, so lets see what an M6.5 can do --hmmm?

Update:  No injuries, some house damage.  I am amazed how everybody treats this as a big joke, unlike the other earthquakes.  They certainly won't even look at the cause, and continue to do what they are doing.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Oklahoma earthquakes: trying to find a mechanism

So, this area has been hit by earthquakes.  It is also a huge oil producer since the beginning.

The first oil boom came to the Prague community in 1915 with the discovery of the Paden field. The little neighboring town was flourishing under typical early day oil boom conditions. In anticipation of expanded activities, excitement ran high in Prague; even the Prague News became a daily.(48)

From 1915 to 1923 there was a great deal of leasing of desirable land by oil companies around Prague, but no new fields were discovered. In 1923 Prague had its second oil boom, with the discovery of oil on the Leader Ranch, fifteen miles north of Prague. The ranch was owned by M. Blumenthal, owner of Prague's leading drygoods store.(49)

The big Wewoka oil field came in 1923. This field is forty miles from Prague but it was connected the Stroud field by a highway that ran through Prague and caused the town to share in the activity.(50)

The development of the Earlsbourough oil field reached its peak in 1926 and was the next boom to affect the little town of Prague. Earlsbourough is thirty miles from Prague, but again the traffic from the booming field came through Prague bringing its golden harvest.(51)

The Cromwell-Seminole Oil fields were brought in 1927. As a result, one of the largest fields in the state was approximately twenty miles straight south of Prague. Again, the oil fever ran high in the little town, but still no oil was discovered in the immediate vicinity of Prague.(52)

The location of the Stroud-Key West oil field twenty miles to the north, Paden, nine miles to the east, Crowmwell-Seminole pool, twenty miles south, and Willsetta, ten miles to the west, gives Prague an excellent location for trade with the booming fields without experiencing the worst features of an oil boom.(53)

The last oil development to affect Prague vitally came in 1931 during the depression days and eased the impact of unemployment on this community. This field is the closest of all the fields to Prague as it lies just outside the southern city limits. Thus Prague has benefited greatly from oil but has never had a first class boom of its own.(54)

Now, why all the commotion right now?  Somebody is probably doing deep injection, but we'll see if it can develop into a full mechanism.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

New fracking injection well starts the earthquake fun


Brine water, a byproduct of oil drilling and hydraulic-fracturing for natural gas, is flushed underground.
"There's definitely a coincidence," said Jeffrey Dick, geology department chairman at Youngstown State University. "But whether or not there's a link, nobody has enough data quite yet."
Heidi Hetzel-Evans, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, said the agency stood by regulations allowing the well operations. The agency has "not seen any evidence that shows a correlation between localized seismic activity and deep-injection well disposal," she said.

Yeah!  We start Arkansas all over again!  This is a prime fault zone, the megathrust that defines the Hamilton Fault Zone, and zooms all the way down to the big stuff.  I don't think we have the seismic resolution to define a mechanism, but, like Arkansas, they should start with a NW thrust zone, and then bloom to a large NE strike-slip.  Although in this area, like Hamilton, you can survive with a NE mixed fault mechanism.

Now, the fun in watching this will be to see how big the earthquakes can get before they capitulate by turning off the well.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Berkeley is doomed to be smothered in earthquakes!


“A student in my class tonight works in Berkeley City Hall and they have been getting briefings on the earthquakes recently in Berkeley on the Hayward Fault by geologists. They have been told that what is particularly concerning to geologists is that these have been so deep. And because of the type of fault it is, these small swarms (there was a 1.6 about an hour ago plus 2 or 3 3.6 or above) build up pressure on the fault, not reduce it. They are saying that because of these swarms they are predicting there is a 30% of an earthquake above a 6.0 in the next two to three weeks.”

Dear Berkeley,

Here is the viral internet email you should be reading.  This is the honest truth, or I'll put my hand in fire!  I have heard from a friend, of a very good friend, who has a second cousin on his mother's side, that the recent earthquakes are SIGNIFICANT!

They all agree that everybody should flee, screaming, with their hands waving over their heads.

The seismic inadequacy of zombie houses

We had a nice hike yesterday to the Elora Gorge, near Guelph, Ontario.  Elora has a whole collection of zombie houses that look like they would fare poorly in an earthquake.  Note the lack of of lateral support.  No mortar in the joints.  What PGV is required to knock this thing over?

But more importantly, what are the odds the whole thing will come down and kill all the zombies?  I figure this thing needs a PGV of about 5 cm/s to knock it down, somewhat the same as a Turkish sand building.  But Elora is on solid rock, and is on the footwall of a possible earthquake in Hamilton.  Even with my fantasy earthquake of M6.5 there, I don't think we can get more than 1 cm/s to this building.

And so it will stand, and provide much needed shelter to zombies for generations to come.  :)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Peru Earthquake M6.9

Just off the wire, and this is all I know about it.  Right on the subduction zone, an M6.9 is fairly small for such a quake, could even be a foreshock for something bigger.  Shouldn't be a tsunami, and they are given a depth of 34 km.  Can't pull more than 10 cm/s PGV, I'm sure.  Unless they have houses of sand, like Turkey, this should be a non-event.

Put Fiber to Moosonee!


Come on Ontario!  Don't we want all those lovely football fields of servers?  Look at Moosonee - lots of land (muskeg, really), lots of power from the river.  We just need the fiber optic cable, up the rail line.  Perfect!  Before you know, Churchill Falls will steal it all.

Linux Google + Chipmunk Problem Solved

Most times that I went on g+ I sounded like a chipmunk.  I could hear this if I used their echo tester:

It was hilarious, I wish I recorded it!  This was solved by removing 'pulseaudio'.  Now, the connections are solid, but you still need a lot of cpu power.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Daily Show Does Science

This was highlighted on our g+ discussion and it's hilarious.

(this link is for Canada, Americans have better links)

Click on the Daily Show 'Weathering Fights'.  We recently had a discussion on university educators teaching geology in the deep south.  You had to ease into the concept of the geological time scale or they would run away.

Hayward Fault Follies

Lots of Hayward jiggles recently.  It doesn't mean a thing, but let's play the geological 'relevance' philosophical game, and say:  OMG They're all going to die!

Here's a new map I found at

Whereas the eastern version of this map puts red as within the week, they put red as within an hour!  The yellow is within the last week.  Note that everything is lining up along the fault.  As each adhesion point cracks, the fault becomes more uniform in terms of sliding potential.  We could go through several episodes like this in the next 50 years, but it is getting closer to failure.

Heritage seismic death traps


Christchurch has shown that you really can't upgrade these brick facades.  There is the problem of securing a wall of loose bricks without being ugly.  If you just use dowels, they pull out.  Other methods have not yet been tested, and I don't trust any engineering calculation.  Bye bye school.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

More geology applied to philosophy


It's so common:  "Oh look, mass extinction in the past!  Must apply to today!"   "Oh look, Venus has greenhouse gases, we're going to become Venus!"  I'm sure lots of people like this....

Nuclear waste presentations continue in northern Ontario


They are continuing their presentations, and I liked this summary from Wawa.  I'm surprised they screened out Red Rock early, I wonder for what reason.  I tend to think that no northern site will be suitable, due to the presence of huge shallow dipping fractures.  These underground rivers are always reactivated during glaciations.  It is possible to get under them, but then you are in very high stresses, and the rock won't be able to take the heat from the fuel bundles.

Nevertheless, no northern community should be afraid of such a site.  It will never leak Bananas up to them.
And these communities are awash in bananas, due to the natural radioactivity of the rocks.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Google Plus hangouts destroyed by drive-by shooters

Well, it's happened.  Wonderful anti-social gang types have found a new recreation by destroying hangouts.  Unless Google can do something, I fear our geology hangouts are gone forever.  The moderator needs the ability to zap out party crashers.  I've reported the vandals to Google, but what will happen?

New Earthquake Damage Table

- no title specified
Earthquake Damage Table

PGV (cm/s)
-gargolyes fall, stone monument cracks
Virginia at Washington
-BWR reactor breaks, other reactors scram and are shut almost forever
-chimneys crack and fall
Virginia near-field
-sandcastle buildings pancake
-transfer slab condos permanently tilt
-soft storey buildings collapse
Loma Prieta
-good buildings and houses crack

Chi-Chi (Taiwan)
-cheap condos fall over
Chile near-field
Total collapse

I'm missing quite a few recent earthquakes, such as Haiti and such, because I don't know how to place them.  Very few of these earthquakes had actual measurements, which is a shame.

In different parts of the world the actual probability (per year) of getting a certain PGV varies.  In California, 5-10 cm/s would be 'every day', and thus there would not be any additional damage.  In eastern North America, 5-10 cm/s might be only 1% chance per year.

Turkey Earthquake - Estimation of ground motion

I can't find any results for strong ground motion.  I am lowering my estmate of the PGV to below 30 cm/s because of this video

Note the totally ridiculous construction (no lateral support) away from the collapse, which is untouched.  Note also that they are digging the concrete like sand.  There is barely a speck of cement powder in this stuff!  Do you see rebars sticking out?  Nope.  I'm pretty sure this would go down at 10 cm/s, just like a Japan nuclear plant.

A good building should take 50 cm/s without cracks.  As well, this earthquake was deep, perhaps over 20 km.  Had it been the usual California 5 km we would have seen massive destruction as with Haiti.  Had it been a shallow super-thrust as in Armenia, we wouldn't be seeing videos.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Eastern Turkey earthquake, fun facts

We can see that right at the earthquake epicentre, we have the Arabian Plate pushing in.

GPS confirms the motions, with many recent volcanic deposits.


Looking at the videos, lots of standard buildings completely untouched.  Knowing the general construction, this gives a PGV of about 30 cm/s.  The buildings that collapsed were probably sub-standard.

Turkey Earthquake: M7.3

This is just off the wire as I woke up.  It looks really bad, but I haven't looked at the news yet.

Estimated fatalities looks in the thousands.

The city of Van was hit with an MM of 9, which has a PGV of over 100 cm/s.


Looks like it was grossly overestimated.  Only 50 injured.

Update 2

Back up to 1000, maybe more.  If there were total collapses, then not many would be taken to hospital.