Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Earthquake Halloween

Yes, earthquakes are scary things, but a necessary force of nature.  Tonight, rejoice in all things scary, for they are life itself!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

BC Earthquakes - Geofish Does the Italian

The BC aftershocks are well-contained.

There is no chance of this leading to the major M9 west coast subduction earthquake.  Everybody resume sleeping in your shaky condos!

No qualifications presented.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Memphis M3.9 earthquake

Wow!  Everybody wants to get in on the action!  Much like the hurricane, I've noted for some time that the New Madrid zone is on the move.  This has to happen if we want to stick to the schedules that the paleoseismic evidence indicates.  The existing fault zone may take centuries to get out of the stress shadow, so the seismicity has to move to areas of higher stress.  Even without injection, the Mississippi Valley has plenty of water for earthquakes.

I'm sure they felt this pretty good, since the whole place is one big jelly bowl.  We'll wait for the news reports.

Update:  Intensity VI, which is strong shaking but light damage.  Somewhere around 10 cm/s.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

BC aftershocks look interesting

This big earthquake - M7.7 did not produce much seismic ground motion (PGV), or much tsunami action.  I am quite amazed that the aftershocks are way out of the zone where the descending slab rubs against the continent.  That means high stresses within the slab and very little actual displacement downward.  It will all come out if they have strong ground motion sensors on the island, but I detect something weird here.  Remember Vancouver, if the whole thing doesn't unzipper in 2 days, you can breathe a sigh of relief that Halloween won't be spoiled.  :)

Update:  An M6.3 aftershock in the exposed slab!  Fascinating, but no action bleeding south, so everybody should be happy.

Update2:  Oblique strike-slip with some thrust.  That's why we have shallow aftershocks in the upper ocean crust.  Displacement of 5m, but the strike-slip makes for very little tsunami action.

M7.7 Canada west coast earthquake

I just woke up to this on the email ticker.  I have no idea what it did.  However, this is right on the big subduction zone, and is an excellent foreshock for an M9.  That being said, the odds are something like 1% that this leads to something bigger.  That's what got the Italians in trouble!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Bizarre earthquake felt in Toronto

M2.5.  I am calling this bizarre, since we get this size of earthquake all the time around here.  So, why did I see it on the wall tv, while I was eating my fish and chips in Hamilton?  It's because this seemed to put a hefty PGV (peak ground velocity) for its magnitude.  Perhaps we should call it a Canadian M3.  :)

I like this location because it was at one of my obsessions early in my career - the Clarendon-Lindon fault system.  This was treated as something grand for a long time, until we found out it was the surface disturbance of a deeper Precambrian megathrust.  But, at the time, it was a star, and the whole Darlington seismic design was hinged on it.

Anyway, as usual, if you felt this earthquake in Toronto, you are in real doo-doo should we have a 'real' earthquake, because your soil is amplifying by more than 10 times.  Have fun!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Putting on the pressure


So, one summer I worked at a lab, exposing geological samples to high pressure.  This was a god-awful complicated machine they got from some scientific junk yard.  It was a bitch!  For the whole summer we never got to full pressure without some leak, or an anvil cracking.

Now, for something completely different:

Seems they got this working, and they use a brand new compound - diamond glass!  Sounds nifty.

For geology, we only need pressures up to the centre of the earth, so this seems overkill, but planetary science needs higher pressures.  But if we can easily get up to the pressure of the core, then this will help us with things like the magnetic dynamo, and help figure out the core - did things just settle when the earth melted, or is this an ancient untouched remnant from the planet's formation?  Such exciting things!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wind farm infrasound pollution

I have lots of old posts on this, and I had a CBC reporter contact me.  Now, you know my luck with the media, being ugly doesn't help.  But he wanted my contact with the Wolfe Island wind farm, and I can't remember anything.  Yeah Oldtimer's Disease!

But with all the gov't scientists being padlocked and vapourized, who would ever follow through on this?

Geofish Hypothesis

Giant wind farms periodically sync up and produce large volumes of infrasonic pollution, which drives people bonkers.

Method of Investigation

Fact:  wind farms do sync up as measured in England, using broadband seismometers.

Investigation:  do the same measurements in North America.  Chances:  zip!  Who would do this?

Investigation:  Impact of infrasound on humans.  Complication:  people live over subways.  Is there something about periodic noise at night?  Can people adapt only with a certain background noise level?  Are country people more likely to be affected?

Fact:  The Windsor Hum has had a detrimental effect.

Resources Required:  tests on human subjects using a giant acoustic chamber.  Again, who will do this?

This whole issue is being deliberately ignored, since nobody wants to open this can of worms.

Italian Disclaimer

The above was scientific opinion.  As such, it is subject to uncertainty.  Do not:

Invest your life savings in the stock market based on this.
Microwave your cat.
Stay in a house comprised of loose bricks.

Light Cornwall earthquake

An M2.3, but maybe the Canadians say it's a 4!  :)   Anyway, this interlude is brought to you by my fascination with the Cornwall earthquake of 1944.

I've investigated this earthquake by reading the old books, interviewing survivors, and walking around.  It is a perfect example on how low the PGV can be on rock, and how swamp amplifies the PGV by over a factor of 10.  PGA is never amplified, and that's why our building codes are so dangerous.  Since nobody learned from the Chile quake, we await our lessons.  :(

Costa Rica earthquake - interesting high frequencies


I find the whole Caribbean mini-plate interesting.  Is it on the move?  Can a small plate act as a rigid body?  We don't understand anything about the forces on plates - ridge push, slab pull, or under-currents.

This earthquake was interesting in that it was relatively shallow, and produced no significant PGV.  However, it did produce a heck of a lot of noise.  Had there been accelerometers on rock, we would have seen record-breaking peak accelerations, which are somehow important to engineers, but totally meaningless because of the high frequencies.

As such, this earthquake resembles something we would expect in our neck of the woods.  Note that they must not have any jiggly swamps, or that buildings on them were destroyed long ago.  We, on the other hand, put all our buildings on Christchurch-like swamps, and will suffer accordingly.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

LInux: Remember to bring in UVC on a new kernel

With all my horrible kde problems (before I gave it up and went to xfce), I went to compiling the latest kernels.  I didn't want to do this, since I use Debian, and thought those 'Debian Patches' were important. Turns out they're not.  Anyway, even though I used the same .config (configuration file), the dang drivers for my Logitech webcam did not compile by default.  So I had to bury into the infinite number of options for a new kernel and find it.  Once I checked that off, and did the usual things, the webcam now works perfectly.

If you have an Nvidia card, and use the Nouveau drivers, you really should be using the latest stable kernel - 3.6.3  (this will change by tomorrow!).

Update:  Yuck!  The webcam, wireless usb mouse, and the Wacom tablet all fight!  I had to unplug the Wacom.

Update2:  usb devices suck up available bandwidth and the very few interrupts.  I could put in a new card, but they have trouble with interrupts.  I just have to spread the devices between different computers.  For example the webcam reserves the whole bandwidth.  My scanner went to another computer.  More reason to keep old computers around running Linux.  :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Italians burn seismologists at the stake!


Yes, this giant pile of rubble is fault of Science.

Really, it had to happen.  This is a local court which can't spell seismologist, so we can expect appeals.  I don't think it would survive the European Court of Justice.  I can't see seismologists covering their collective asses any more than they do already!  :)

Virgin Islands earthquake swarm continues

This is the most active earthquake swarm on the planet right now.  The earthquakes are very deep, and at this corner it is difficult to say whether the slab is pure subduction, or being wrenched into strike-slip.

Obviously we have simple subduction at the front of the Caribbean Plate push.  Montserrat is a fine example of an active subduction volcano.  But more to the side, as in Haiti, we have strike-slip forces.

Anyway this swarm is a fine example of how useless they are in predicting a larger quake.  :)  Somebody should tell the Italians!

Extra thoughts:  A possible earthquake would have low PGV, but a high chance of a big tsunami.  These guys are rich enough to have a tsunami education program, with sirens and drills.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Toronto's Gardiner - Classic zero seismic capacity


This is located on fill, and the concrete has decayed.  When discussing the whole thing, they never talk of seismic capacity.  Which is fine and dandy, except for the 1 in 500 earthquake that hangs over most cities like a sword.

The Tech Giants Stumble


This article states that these companies have failed technology transitions.  But my experience indicates that they are just in the line of all the companies that have failed margin transitions.

When a company starts up, it decides on a certain margin for its products.  The whole structure of the company follows that.  For example, pre-PC DEC and IBM had something like a 200% margin.  They died when Microsoft and generic PC's went to 100%.  That's because at 200% you have all these schmoozing salesmen, and big wasteful R&D.

So Dell came in a certain margin, and died when the margin went lower.  Likewise, Google has enjoyed a huge margin with desktop ads.  They threw money everywhere!  Like many, I live off their give-aways, and never buy the stuff that pays for it.

Now the margin gets cut again with mobile, since nobody goes shopping on their phone.  I don't even shop on my Nexus 7 tablet!

This blog lives off the Google margin, I wonder what will happen....

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Maine earthquake felt at nuclear plant


We know this was a tiny earthquake, but that is activated the soil basins of Boston, with 20-30 second rumbling.  As well, it was felt at Seabrook.

They are now going through a phoney inspection that will not find anything.  Far better would have been instrument readings with a PGV.  They probably got hit with 5 mm/s.  If the old me still existed, I would have railed at the lack of seismic recording at nuclear plants, but nobody cares.

Darlington has good instrumentation, and would have recorded this size of nearby earthquake, but it would be like pulling teeth to get the results. :)

Update:  this was felt as far as Ontario.  So really, if you felt this earthquake in Ontario, get earthquake insurance!

Ok and Texas earthquakes respond to Maine

Ok - M3.2  Tex-M2.7

The Ok earthquakes are part of a system.  They are getting bigger, and I can't see them sticking to the M3 range.  Who knows if they stopped injecting?

Tex is in a new area.  Do we have injection there?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Maine earthquake - M4.6

That's a nice-sized 'fun' earthquake.  Should be no damage, except to shopping malls on swamps.

The passive margin is interesting in that it can produce large earthquakes.  Boston rivals Christchurch in its seismic capacity, it is all on this goopy blue clay.  An M6 would rattle it good!

Update!  Now M4.0     -  Did anybody wake up?

Top Liberal spends his last dollar


Well, I've had a blast with this gov't, watching them throw away billions like grass seed, hoping it will grow on the parched soil.  We had hidden billions on the Niagara Tunnel, that helicopter thing, and, according to my sources, soon Ehealth will be back in the news, if they can't hide the billions in computer systems that don't work.

Life will be boring in the aftermath.  I don't even think we can waste billions on the Bruce deep waste thing, since they won't even be able to sink the shaft.  We need a new nuclear plant!  :)

Earthquake dynamic friction to zero


CR: Don’t be afraid—ride it out, enjoy it … I know a seismologist, who, when an earthquake occurs, will just drop to the floor and lie spread-eagle on the ground and try to determine which way the waves are coming from—I didn’t react fast enough to do that the other night.

Now, I really don't think she meant that all eastern earthquakes are a 'fun ride'.  If so, then there is no meaning to my life.  :(

However, she did mention that the Japan earthquake drove the dynamic friction to zero.  I've been postulating that this happens in most earthquakes, but especially 'super quakes', such as Kobe, Japan, or Armenia.  It's a question of luck, whether you are right on the 'hammer zone'.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Linux - Going to xfce

I run Debian amd64.  Lately, my favourite KDE desktop just went nuts, and kept crashing.  I did everything on the boards.  Nothing worked, and I went to ugly gnome.  Way too ugly, and I tried the new kid, xfce.  Now it looks nice and seems to work.

Update - Oh yes, this is much better than the others.

Old Faithful spits out earthquakes

This was on the top of the earthquake lists as I sipped my morning coffee.  Earthquakes have been sooo dull recently, so I jumped at it.  There should be lots of small earthquakes around the geyser, but I haven't seen them so far.  Did they just put in a new seismometer?

So, lets bring back the hoary old beast of the Yellowstone super volcano that will wipe out the world!  Whooo, scary!  Just in time for Halloween.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I am a rich man!

I regularly get these letters, so by now it must be tens of millions!  Always from Spain for some reason, since I would expect Nigeria.  The last time they made the effort to change the first name to Charles or something.  There are like 20 Asmis's in the world, so another 'H W' would be difficult.  :)

Anyway, feel free to white-out my name and substitute yours, and go for the 8 million.

M3.9 earthquake hits Montreal


I think the Canadians had it at M4.5, but the USGS puts it down to an M3.9.  That's more likely since there appears to be no significant PGV.  This was just a damp squib!

It's at a beautiful spot, right at the triple junction of the failed rift.  This area is capable of producing large earthquakes, and Montreal won't take it very well, what with all the Mafie concrete.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pyjama Relay

Another crazy video from the lake regatta.

Oklahoma M3 earthquake

As I have discovered, they have stopped injecting under Dallas, and I suspect they stopped doing it under the Okie City.  This earthquake is a bit interesting to me, since it is along the NW megathrust line, and continues the pattern of being a response to the activity in the outer aftershock zone.

With injection stopped, there is not much interest for this zone, and soon all the little squares will fade away, which was the situation before injection.  The wicked thought comes that if they are still injecting under the red square, we should see a new flare.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Good-bye to the Cottage

The water is down, and I can barely get the boat out of the slip.  It has become freezy-wheezy, with snow and frost coming.  The colours are at their max, but it is time to leave.  I'm always astounded at how much firewood we use when it is this cold.  The water is at 60 deg F, and nobody wanted to jump in.

This year we went on a rock obsession, and the kids are rolling big ones into the lake.  In the spring, the water comes up to those trees.  I tried to help for 2 seconds, slipped and nearly killed myself.  Yeah for the youngsters!

I drain out all the water, and fill everything with plumber antifreeze.  One drop of frozen water can burst a pipe.  Yes, this year, we are in for a winter!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Dry fault mechanics


Another dry rock friction test.  They should put a hose on it!  Note that when they engage the clutch, there is a big friction jump, but then it settles down to a steady dry friction of 0.5, which is quite high.  Big earthquakes see the friction go down to zero.  That initial spike is probably just a result of the clutch collision.

Adding water should activate proper dynamic friction.  Does the water film actually heat, or does it just interfere with re-adhesion.  Would be interesting....

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Crappy old reactor gets shut down


It wasn't that the Quebec NDP just decided to shut down a perfectly good reactor.  This was on its last legs and need billions to fix it.  It's a very small reactor, and the decision was similar to the rest of the Pickering A reactors (shut down).  The initial estimate was 2 bil, now 4, later 6.

High soil amplification for Ottawa


When I felt richer, and was more inclined to warn people, I subscribed to this journal and made summaries.  I knew about this study years ago, and I guess they finally published.  This is why I am so psycho on using peak ground velocity (PGV) instead of acceleration, since it captures this amplification.

As mentioned politely, the building code is crap on this issue.  They found PGV amplification of more than 10 times.  The code is quite on this.

Since I don't warn people any more (bad for my depression), I'll just wait.  :)

Monday, October 1, 2012