Friday, April 29, 2016

Oklahoma earthquake rates hit ridiculous levels

Ok, I defined Earthquake Season as 3 M3-ish earthquakes a day, and maybe a 4 once a week.  Today (Friday) it has hit 5 already and looks to hit 6 by the end.  I only round magnitudes to one digit, since the uncertainties are so large.  This is a tremendous rate and I can't see being a steady thing for the Season.  Most likely it will end with something big and then die down for a while.  I find that it boggles the mind to maintain 6 3's a day, which means a 4 every few days.

We had a 3 in Alabama, could be strain projection from OK.  We'll know we are getting a good strain pulse from OK when New Madrid kicks up again.  I still expect a 'closer' next Season.

Toronto Luxury Condos -- The New Urban Wasteland

Toronto condo rents downtown, per person, are up to Palo Alto levels, without the Palo Alto incomes.  I always had hope for the city to be the next Palo Alto, but they are doing everything to stop this, mainly by attacking Uber and making things unfriendly for bright young people.

I am astounded by my son's condo security for letting in two armed gangs, and the fact that they could have a shoot-out at the OK Corral on a floor hallway without anybody calling the police.  That's because the place is deserted.  When I first saw condos going up twenty years ago, the speculators rented them out to students.  The profits were so huge, they could afford the wear and tear on the appliances, and the condo fees.

Now, it's hardly worth it to rent out, and they must get a break on condo fees if it is officially moth-balled.  Since hardly anybody lives there, the security gets sleepy.  The crash will come when people realize that nobody will ever live in those buildings.  A few more gang wars and the renters will flee.

I don't know what to do about the hot money that flowed into Toronto to make it unaffordable, but at least don't kill Uber.  Only the young will brave the gang wars.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Geotech #11 and 11A

I've followed these very slow projects from the beginning.  At first I just couldn't believe them, and called them a fantasy of my mind.  Now that they are into the thick of things, we'll call them real.  Very good amusement on the dog walk.

The second one was just a sewer relining but they've turned it into a major geotechnical project with their highway-grade access roads.  I'm sure the specs keep changing.

Now, don't you fret that this is taxpayer money.  If they weren't doing this, they'd be doing something else.  :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Oklahoma M4.1 - Looks like a thrust, walks like a thrust, but normal

Intensity 6.  If it's normal (tension), it must be very shallow.  Can you imagine if it were a thrust?  It would have blown the scale.  Had they my raspi seismometer there, the first strong motion would have been down, whereas in a thrust, it is up.  The previous ones were thrusts.  Oh well, in the larger scheme of things, there is no difference, they are both the result of the high compression in the thrust portion of the zone.  As Earthquake Season is upon us, I expect 4's to be commonplace now, with a 5 every now and again.  We should hit a 6 by the end of the season, although it will most likely be deep normal, and only reported as a 5.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Oklahoma may be starting earthquake season

Oklahoma has seasonal earthquakes.  Winter is very dull, and new earthquake life grows in Spring.  I suppose that somebody one day might plot the earthquake energy and see this but I don't care.  This year it has been delayed because of our long cold spring caused by the El Nino hangover.  That darn El Nino spent all our heat budget in one big fling, and now we northerners will suffer for it.

This one was at the farthest point south, and was a directed thrust towards OK City.  It was of moderate depth with only an intensity 4.  I have been expected much more activity since natural gas prices are going up, and all this is caused by gas fracking waste.  This water is mostly fresh and freezes easily so they most likely delay shipments and such until it gets warm.  The Northeastern Marcellus Shale play is booming so the trucks are lined up.

**down to a 3.6 followed by an identical m3.7, shallower, intensity 5.

**just now m4.1 intensity 6.  A 4 every few days is Earthquake Season, with a 5 every month or so.

Monday, April 25, 2016

A little bit of Mexico earthquake activity

The poor Mexicans are trying to fend off earthquake panic.  They've had a few little earthquakes and people naturally associate 'momentum' with this, especially after the recent events.

I love this area, as it has some of the cleanest subduction zones in the world.  This is one of the 'ripest' areas for M9's, but they are every 500 years, with an uncertainty of 500 years.  So I wouldn't count my earthquake chickens.  There are hundreds of places that are fighting to be the next 'Big Earthquake Loser'.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Toyota sucks big with service for hybrids

Their useless Panasonic 12V battery fails all the time.  This is my second failure and they never have them in stock.  My garage replaced it on the old Camry and it costs something like $500.  So now when it failed they just can't send over a battery and expect the old one.  No, they don't trust a trusted mechanic, they have to get the old battery first and 'test'.  The stupid thing is dead!  They all die.

So then they never send someone over to pick up the battery, so I'm stuck without a car for 2 days while they futz around.  Do you hear me Toyota?  I'm glad that earthquakes hate you.  I'm hoping for more.

** nasty comments about earthquakes withdrawn.  Earthquakes are not mine to give.  :)

**it's their dealers and service that are sleazy.  With the old Camry I avoided them for 20 years, but when the hybrids get older you can't avoid them.

OMG They are so stupid!  The garage charged it because they were told to do that.  Then they got the battery, read 12V on it, and sent it back.  Now I don't have a car for another night.

A bureaucrat asked me for my VIN, as if I have it hanging around.

** I'm calm now.  I'm resigned to not having the car.  I'll let the mechanic sort it out.  :(

**the parts dept. gave a test sheet clearly showing the battery had no capacity, but the guy didn't know how to interpret it.  We try again next week.

**had it home for the weekend.  The battery drops 0.1 V per hour, just standing.  We'll see it get it by the thick-headed ones now.

**because Toyota cars hardly need servicing, and you can buy new on the Internet at thousands less, I conclude that these dealers are starving to death and are very hostile to independent mechanics.  Take your car to the dealer for servicing to save me.  :)

**stupid people.  After a week in the shop, the dealer claims to have fixed the battery by trickle charging it for 2 days.  Next week we try a different dealer.  Somebody must know what capacity means.

Epilogue:  Went to Toyota Canada, where they proved to be incredibly dense, but I also went to the dealer with a warning that I was about to declare social media war on Toyota.  It would have been great, I would have got into for sure!  But he insisted that all his people said the battery was good, but would eat the cost.  Perhaps they were afraid, who knows.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Rapid raccoons hit Toronto

That should be 'rabid'  but I don't want to panic people.  The raccoon was out all weekend, and now it approach my dog Doggy McDogface, who can really put on a vicious show that scares coyotes.  I called the dog and the darn thing came after us.  I informed the City.  I had thought the coyotes would have taken care of it, but perhaps they are smart as well.  :)

Monday, April 18, 2016

Both Japan and Ecuador Earthquakes likely to go on

There it is.  A huge strike-slip fault that it far more deadly than the subduction zone.  That's because the subduction zone has a huge kink in it and it might keep it to 8's only.  Subduction 8's only produce 10 cm/s and no tsunami, the strike-slip is shallow and will produce 50 cm/s in the near-field.   And you never know when subduction zones are going to blow.  As well, offshore, it looks kind of mucky, not like that beautiful smooth trench in northern Japan.

The bad thing about huge transform faults like this one and the San Andreas is that they tend to march a bit before the stress shadow takes over.  Each fault slip puts a lot of strain on the next section.  Might be in 20 years, but they should really get the screw piles out for that soft ground.

We know from Chile that once you get going on the subduction zones you are going get quite a few before it settles down.  That little earthquake off Ecuador was just a foreshock.  Again, maybe years, but get out the tsunami sirens and the screw piles.  As well, a little more steel and use real concrete.  Like I said, Guatemala has a good system for hovels, as long as they limit it to 2 stories.

In between Ecuador and Chile lies Lima, Peru.  When I went through it 30 years ago I thought 'Whew!".  That's my choice for the next 30,000 dead disaster.  They all like the heavy clay tile roofs there.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Ecuador earthquake - Year of living dangerously


The tabloids are all screaming that we have a 'pattern' of world earthquakes, and that we are due for a 'big' one.  This M7.8 is pretty big, but not really that big for a subduction earthquake.

Looks like it ruptured the smooth curve.  You can see how clean and crisp the zone is, and I have found this means a big earthquake every few hundred years, usually a 9 or more.

The whole zone is not that smooth, so a 9 would have trouble rupturing a length 10 times longer than this one, but it must happen for sufficient displacement to keep things clean.  You can see that the rupture here is fairly short, no tsunami, and they probably can't measure the displacement.

The fault plane solution is a classic subduction zone.  Firm ground PGV is probably 10 cm/s but the intensities look like soft ground amplification.  The coast seems pretty isolated.

Remember, there is no 'pattern' here.  We are not entering a phase of big earthquakes.  We just tend to see clusters once in a while.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Geotech #10 - Semantics over physics

In a courtroom, everything hinges on the turn of a phrase.  This is the theme over the last few years.  Whatever looks and sounds good.  So somewhere there is a law that says "You must install useless silt filters."  and this is what they are faithfully doing.

Can't wait to see what they are going to so with the cloth.  Maybe throw it into the river.  :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Bruce Deep Black Hole


All of a sudden I perked up and wondered "Whatever happened to that stupid black hole?"  They must be sinking the shaft and killing people by now.  Nope.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna has dealt a setback to Ontario Power Generation’s plan for a nuclear waste burial site on the shores of Lake Huron.

In a letter to the provincially-owned utility Thursday, Ms. McKenna delayed a decision on whether to approve its proposed deep repository for low– and medium-level radioactive waste.

Instead, she told OPG to submit additional studies, including assessments on possible alternatives to the currently proposed site at the Bruce nuclear station in Kincardine, Ont., and on the cumulative impacts of siting other nuclear waste facilities in the region.

The additional work will take several months to complete.

And so the saga goes.  I wish them luck at evaluating other sites.  They never did a spit of work on that.  They were so intent on jamming this square peg into the round hole.  I somehow think they never did want to get their feet dirty, and come up against physics.  They could go on forever now.

If this delay was a political one, then there are no sites in the world for this.  I wanted a nuclear resort at Wesleyville on the shores of Lake Ontario with permanent summer warmed by the nuclear waste.  All the young people would flock there, driven out by high Toronto rents.  Put the UP train there, much better than the airport.  The physics is perfect.  You'd get more contamination from your organic hamburgers than you would ever get there.  :)

The Concept of Zero Seismic Capacity

I have often stated that some structures have zero seismic capacity.  That is not the same as zero ground motion, since any structure must stand up to the live loads such as wind and people dancing.

As a recap, I have dedicated my whole life to eliminating acceleration in reference to seismic.  This was a standard adopted many years ago because accelerations are easily measured, and can be used as a lateral body load, as a percentage of the g force.  In fact, as a design coefficient it is adequate.  A building designed to 10% of lateral load (a slight tilt), is quite robust.  The building codes all use this coefficient method.

But it has nothing to do with actual seismic measurements.  The impact of acceleration on buildings goes down to nothing as the frequency increases.  To continue to use peak acceleration (PGA) in relation to actual measurements and seismic hazard is pig-headedness, that I fear, will outlive me.

Those with brains in their heads have gone to peak ground velocity (PGV) which scales perfectly with frequency as it is a measure of induced strain in both the ground and the building.  You can easily use a velocity time history in a more authentic analysis using finite differences.

Enough about that.  What is the seismic capacity of the worst building in the world?  I would assume that it is composed of stacked bricks, using brick arches and no mortar.  This is common throughout the world for older buildings.  These are the types of buildings that kill massive numbers of people for their 1 in 500 years earthquake.

I will state that the seismic capacity to death is 5 cm/s, for these things.  We must expect soft soil to amplify PGV (not PGA!) by a factor of 10.  That's somewhere about 3 MM intensity units.  That means the firm-ground motion is 5 mm/s.  You get quite disturbed at 0.5 to 1 mm/s.  That's what hits these poor Oklahoma people all the time.  The blasting standard is to keep things below 5 cm/s, which is the main reason I use it.

This latest Afghanistan earthquake was over 200 km deep.  The ground motion on firm ground (if there is any over there) could not have been over a couple of mm/s.  Some people got injured and killed, which is expected for extreme amplification (over a factor of 10).

So, my 'zero capacity' is 5 cm/s.  Moderately designed structures should take 50 cm/s, and I'd be happy at 1 m/s for soil.  If you are solid rock, you can never get more than 1 cm/s, unless you are right in the near-field of a shallow thrust, on the hanging wall.  Bridges probably can't stand if they are less than 20 cm/s, and you can build all you want at 5 cm/s, as long as you don't expect to live more than 500 years.  :)

But as a rich society, I don't think we can afford chances at 1 in 500 for total destruction.  We have seen city after city destroyed at these odds.  For an individual city like Toronto, you can laugh and build your house of sticks, but the Big Bad Wolf does come around.  Toronto would be destroyed with a thrust at 1 cm/s because of all the soft soils.  As well as a fine nuclear disaster at Pickering.  :)  Would we care about a little extra dose?  Really, what was marginal death count for radiation in Japan, as a percentage of total deaths?

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Oklahoma earthquake - shallow, directed thrust

This is the exact type of earthquake that will crumble the city, but it has to be a 6 or above.  A 5 will just scare everybody.  The gas frack waste has arrived and the season of earthquake zombies has begun.  Call in the Bennet sisters!

Geotech #9

Due to my current case of brain numbness, I'm not making fun of this project any more.  This is just a faithful narrative of an interesting project.  Everybody is just doing the best they can.

Today they are starting to install their huge cache of silt barriers.  These look wonderful on a project, and are very pretty.  They make people feel good, like binging on organic ethanol mixed with organic fructose.  There will soon be a big pile of these gravel silt filters.

ps.  Today all the underwater silt bags are gone, and they are back to rearranging piles.  I'm glad they are so happy.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Another funk time

Thus endeth a very good run.  I had Fark pick up my seismic noise testing post for some weird reason and got hundreds of hits on that.  I've perfected my accelerometer and it has to go to server-side processing which I won't do.  Winter has set in again, stopping my geotechnical nightmares.  Nothing to do.

OK will delay it's action while the NE freezes.  No trucks of gas frack waste coming in.

The worst thing for an intellectual depressive to do is to let the stupidity of the world get to you.  All the money of the world is controlled by stupidity, who set up offshore accounts and broadcast it to the world.  I fight the good fight with laughter, but sometimes it gets through.  The next big OK earthquake usually revives me.

ps. I am rejecting all stupidity and am at peace with the universe.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Accelerometers for Third World Oklahoma

Tired of being victims of the oil companies and Donald Trump?  Then do something.  Start installing accelerometers on your miserable house slab.  When the chimney falls down, have a recording.  Those in Oklahoma City, you're in prime Pancake Country.  Wouldn't you want some readings as your legacy?

You can do this!  I've already laid the groundwork of hooking up chip accelerometers with a Raspberry Pi.  The final step of recording on files is boring for me.  You could have a live feed of the accelerometer readings on the internet (note the lower case as per the new style guidelines).  I can't do this since I live in boring old Toronto which only has a chance of a destructive earthquake as 1 in 500 per year.  You in OK have a 100% chance within a year or two.

Even California is useless for this.  All their buildings that could fall down have already done so in previous earthquakes.  You don't want to go to India or Montreal because their stuff falls down on their own, due to Playdough concrete.

So, no matter how you look at it, the burden is on you guys.  Rise to the occasion.  Plant little accelerometer seeds everywhere, and they will grow to wonderful knowledge!

ps.  You can glue down your old Android phone, and run an earthquake app.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

State of the Earthquake Union - Oklahoma Earthquakes

Every few months I do a recap of the OK earthquake situation.  I realize that people can't always sift through my thousands of posts, and don't understand what is going on.

Recap - OK is experiencing increasing earthquakes and is on its way to creating a second New Madrid sequence.  (look that up).  The physics underlying the mechanisms of both zones is the same.

What's happening?  In eastern North America (ENA) we have a 'basement' of Precambrian granite gneiss.  It looks and feels like granite.  The US has never mapped this rock, they assume it is solid and uninteresting.  We Canadians live with it at the surface, and we know it has structure.  It formed as a result of continental collision and formed the roots of a gigantic mountain range a billion years ago.  As such, it has very long and deep 'megathrusts', in the NE direction, evenly spaced.  I know where they go, the US does not.

Physics.  Since the last continental separation, the basement has become highly squeezed by tectonic motions, mainly settling into a cooler zone.  The basement is at the limiting stress, or as much as it can handle.  Any disturbance causes earthquakes.  The big earthquake zones are caused by natural seeps, that is fresh water seeping down to the basement megathrusts.  Water and earthquakes go together on the maps.

A natural seep does not create water pressure in the rock.  It is the chemical action of fresh water (a universal solvent) upon quartz grains that causes earthquakes.  In Oklahoma, they are accelerating this process a thousand times, through the deep injection of fresh water.

What can be done?  The USGS is a federal fish thrown to California for votes.  The OK republicans constantly try to eliminate it.  They aren't doing anything for OK.  OK puts in seismometers and the gus feeds off the signals to map earthquakes.  That is the extent of what they are doing, rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.  There is no money, OK is bankrupt, and the gus must spend political money to survive.

If there were money, they could easily map the Precambrian by using old oil company data.  They could do rock mechanics tests on the rock.  So many things that will never get done.

My solution - A solution, as done by many states, is to stop all injection.  This would have the result of instantly turning OK back into The Grapes of Wrath, a giant dustbowl.  All those people would have to move to California, where there isn't enough water.  Not good.  My solution is to treat all the water being injected so it doesn't cause earthquakes.  Right now they are injecting at 35 cents a barrel, the externalities (damage caused) is probably $2 a barrel.  Treatment would add maybe 5 cents a barrel.

Probable outcome - We will stand by and watch the train wreck.  OK will eventually hit 'closer' earthquakes that will stop all injection.  With people dead, there will not be any room for water treatment.  We don't know what size the 'closers' will be.  If they are 6's, it will most likely go on to 7's before it settles down.  If the rock totally opens up, the earthquake activity will continue through natural seepage due to all the abandoned open holes.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Monster El Nino has peaked

Here is the monthly microwave report from Dr. Spencer.  Although he thinks it reflects global temperatures, it really is a measure of how much heat energy is being thrown into space.  If the Earth didn't do this efficiently, we wouldn't be here to talk about it.  The area under the graph is approximately proportional to the amount of heat energy thrown.  A wider peak warms the nether regions of space a lot more than a narrow one.

This year's peak has been both wide and high.  The Arctic has never seen such temperatures, and all that heat energy goes out.  This is the big failing of the warmists.  They must grasp 'pseudo-physics' to come up with temperature graphs, and extrapolate using 'momentum', but they dance around it.  Temperature, by itself, has no physical impact.  A spark from the fire has a very high temperature, but it can land on your skin because it has no heat energy.  And the temperature readings are scattered all over the place, so they must 'weight' by area.  This is a corrupted 'heat energy', but they forget the heat energy in the oceans, which is orders of magnitude above the air.

Enough of that preaching.  A big loss of heat energy for the Earth means something.  I suspect 'everybody' will be happy when ice starts to cover everything.  The temperatures will be re-weighted and we'll still be 'warmer than ever'.  :)  I, however, will freeze.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Geotechnical Nightmare #8 - An Inch from Death

Today, my nightmare pixies had an extra-special treat for me.  They didn't put up a second bridge section, but funnelled the river.  The Great River Spirit was angry, and let loose a flood.  Another inch of rain and the bridge would be gone.  Even with that, the river is digging away at the slope.  Actually, it's quite ready to snag one of the big trees that like to float down the river.

The poor conservation people stopped the job.  They were just staring with jaws open when I came along, and ran away because of the camera.  It's very bad for bureaucrats to be caught actually doing something.  It destroys plausible deniability.

As stated before, there is no reality here, this is just imaged from my foetid imagination.

A few days ago, it was quite a nice dream, with a big crane.

ps. I sent it to cbc news but I guess it's not interesting.


The next day.  Slope seems to be at angle of repose.

and the other sewer project.