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Earthquakes of 2011 – Visual

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February 11, 2012 Posted by | Seismic | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sunspot AR1416 Poses Threat for Earth-directed M-class flares

For the second day in a row, sunspot AR1416 has doubled in size. It has developed a beta-gamma magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. Any such eruptions this weekend would be Earth directed as the sunspot turns to face our planet.

Click here to see the sunspot growth. (Space Weather)

Region 11416 [S18E11] developed further forming large penumbrae in the leading and trailing spot sections.

Spot Count: 17 (^9)

Area Size: 100 (^10)

February 11, 2012 Posted by | Solar | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

NASA Releases New Videos of the United States from the ISS

THE VIEW FROM ABOVE: On Friday, Feb. 10th, NASA released a new set of videos from the International Space Station that officials said was among “the most spectacular night imagery ever taken from space of the United States.” After watching the following movie (48 MB), you might find it hard to disagree:

NASA describes the footage: “The sequence of shots was taken January 30, 2012 from 06:13:36 to 06:23:09 GMT, on a pass from northern Mexico to northwest New Brunswick. The video begins looking northeast over Texas, where cities like San Antonio, Houston, and the Dallas/Fort Worth area can be seen. Oklahoma City, Kansas City, and St. Louis are easily distinguished as the ISS continues northeast over the Great Plains.

The video concludes with Chicago illuminating the southern edge of Lake Michigan, and auroras shimmering in the distance over Canada.”

The auroras in the video appeared on a relatively uneventful night, geomagnetically speaking, when a CME completely missed Earth. Apparently, even the quiet nights are spellbinding onboard the ISS. Aurora alerts: textvoice.

…(Space Weather)

February 11, 2012 Posted by | Space | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Three 50-meter Cracks Found at Mt. Kanlaon Crater

Mount Kanlaon, an active volcano, has been declared temporarily closed to mountaineers after large cracks believed to have been caused by Monday’s 6.9-magnitude earthquake were observed at its crater and land surfaces, a local official said Friday.

Kanlaon straddles the provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental. It has an elevation of 2,435 meters (7,989 feet) and a base diameter of 30 kilometers.

Cecil Cañada, Mt. Kanlaon Natural Park (MKNP) superintendent, said at least three 50-meter long cracks have been noted near the crater, while other cracks and a landslide have been noted within the MKNP.

A landslide was also seen at the Margaha Valley, the old crater of the volcano, he added.

An assessment was conducted by accredited trained guides and members of the rescue group based in Guintubdan, La Carlota City, in coordination with the MKNP Eco-tourism Officer and Biologist Angelo Bibar, Cañada said.

Their report revealed that some portions of the volcano’s crater were affected, and land surfaces had cracks and evidences of landslides, he said.

Cañada also maintained that the aftershocks from Monday’s earthquake and occasional heavy rainfall could pose danger to the life of mountain trekkers and tourists in the park.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology has been informed of the quake damage to the volcano and they were trying to arrange for an aerial survey of the area, he added.

However, it is difficult to get a helicopter as they are being used for relief operations in Negros Oriental, Cañada said.

The volcano continues to be under observation amid the continuing aftershocks, after a magnitude 6.7 quake rocked the area on February 06.

…(Inquirer)

February 11, 2012 Posted by | Volcanic | , , , , , | 1 Comment

How an Earthquake Warps a Landscape

A team of geologists from the U.S., Mexico and China are using light detection and ranging (LiDAR) laser altimetry to study how an earthquake can change a landscape. In particular, the geologists want to know more about the magnitude 7.2 quake that struck April 4, 2010, near Mexicali in northern Mexico. Airborne LiDAR equipment, which bounces a stream of laser pulses off the ground, can measure surface features to within a few centimeters. The researchers were able to make a detailed scan of the affected area over about 360 square kilometers in less than three days, they report in the February 10 issue of the journal Science.

In the above image, blue shows where ground surface moved down whereas red indicates upward movement compared with the previous survey.

LiDAR has a number of applications. Researchers have used it to study the properties of Saharan dust clouds for climate models as well as to gather detailed information on the plume emanating from Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano. Mexico had used LiDAR to map the Mexicali region in 2006, so Michael Oskin, a geology professor at the University of California, Davis, the paper’s lead author, and his colleagues had a baseline with which to compare their results.

Some changes brought about by the quake are readily visible from the ground, such as a 1.5-meter clifflike ridge created when part of a hillside abruptly moved up and sideways. But the LiDAR survey also revealed some features that could not easily be detected otherwise, Oskin reports, such as a warping of the ground surface above the Indiviso Fault, which runs beneath agricultural fields along the Colorado River floodplain.

The 2010 Mexicali earthquake did not occur on a major fault, such as the San Andreas, but rather ran through a series of smaller fractures in Earth’s crust. The new LiDAR survey shows how seven of these small faults came together to cause a major quake.

…(Scientific American)

February 11, 2012 Posted by | Science, Seismic | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment