Sunday, February 18, 2018

13 killed as helicopter on earthquake mission flips, crashes on them

Mexico City – A military helicopter carrying officials who were assessing damage from a powerful earthquake flipped as it was attempting to land in southern Mexico, crashing on top of people who had fled their homes and were spending the night outside.
Thirteen people were killed – the only known fatalities related to the quake – and 16 were injured.
No one aboard the helicopter, including Interior Secretary Alfonso Navarrete and Oaxaca Gov. Alejandro Murat, was seriously hurt.
Jorge Morales, a local reporter who was aboard the helicopter when it crashed on Friday night, described harrowing moments as the pilot lost control and the helicopter attempted to touch down in a swirl of dust in Jamiltepec, a city in Oaxaca state close to the epicentre of the earthquake that struck earlier on Friday.
"The moment the helicopter touched down it lost control, it slid – like it skidded – and it hit some vehicles that were parked alongside the area that had been defined for the landing," Morales told a Mexican television news program.
"In that moment, you couldn't see anything, nothing else was heard beside the sound that iron makes when it scrapes the earth."
Victims were waiting for helicopter
Navarrete told local media that "as the army helicopter we were travelling in tried to land, the pilot lost control, the helicopter fell and flipped".
A state government official, who was not authorised to be quoted by name, said the chopper crashed into a group of people who had been spending the night outside after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit the area.
Aftershocks, including one of 5.8 magnitude that struck about an hour after the first, had caused people to flee their homes for fear they would collapse.
The Oaxaca state prosecutor's office said in a statement that five women, four men and three children were killed at the crash site and another person died later at a hospital.
The defence department said the Blackhawk helicopter crashed as it was preparing to land in a vacant lot. The department said the victims had been waiting for the helicopter, but did not provide more details.
Navarrete and the defence department said they regretted the loss of life.
Minimal quake damage
The quake damaged about 50 homes in Jamiltepec, as well as the town hall and church, according to the Interior Department. It also rocked buildings in Mexico City, and many other parts of the country.
But the damage was minimal compared to a massive 8.2 quake that struck in the same general area on September 7, and a 7.1 magnitude quake on September 19, which killed a total of 471 people between the two of them and damaged over 180 000 houses in eight states, including Mexico City.
The US Geological Survey said Friday's quake was centred 53km northeast of Pinotepa in southern Oaxaca state and had a depth of 24km.
Two people suffered fractures caused by the quake and were treated in Pinotepa Nacional. Their lives were not in danger.
Navarrete has led the Interior Department, which oversees most political and security issues, for little over a month.
Earlier this month, an intelligence agent from an agency overseen by Navarrete's department was caught tailing an opposition presidential candidate.

https://www.news24.com/World/News/13-killed-as-helicopter-on-earthquake-mission-flips-crashes-on-them-20180218
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Saturday, February 17, 2018

GREAT BRITISH QUAKE OFF Where was the strongest earthquake ever recorded in the UK and are they very common?

People across the south-west of England and Wales say they felt tremors this afternoon - and earthquakes in Britain are more common than you'd think
BIG earthquakes in the UK are thankfully a pretty rare phenomenon, but they do happen.
Hundreds of tiny tremors - too minor to be felt or cause any damage - actually hit Britain every year- and people across the south-west of England and Wales say they felt tremors this afternoon.

When and where was the strongest earthquake ever recorded in the UK?

But some of the quakes have been much stronger, causing serious damage and even death.
The largest known British earthquake occurred in the North Sea, near the Dogger Bank in 1931, with a magnitude of 6.1.
It was 60 miles offshore but still powerful enough to cause minor damage to buildings on the east coast of England.

Getty Images5
An elderly woman is helped from her home through rubble after an earthquake in Folkestone in April 2007, measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale.

 An elderly woman is helped from her home through rubble after an earthquake in Folkestone in April 2007, measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale.
While many of the stronger quakes in the UK are under the sea, like the earthquake which has hit 100 miles off Scarborough in January, some do happen on land.
An earthquake hit Swansea this afternoon with early indications of a magnitude of 4.2.
The most damaging UK earthquake was in the Colchester area in 1884, in which several people were killed and shockwaves were felt as far away as the Houses of Parliament.

How often do earthquakes happen in the UK?

While hundreds of quakes actually happen here every year, only around 10 are strong enough to be felt at all - and many of these are very minor.

 Most of the stronger earthquakes in the UK cause minimal damage - like this chimney stack in the Folkestone quake in 2007
News Group Newspapers Ltd5
Most of the stronger earthquakes in the UK cause minimal damage - like this chimney stack in the Folkestone quake in 2007
A magnitude 4 earthquake - strong enough to be felt but causing minimal damage - happens in Britain roughly every two years.
We experience a magnitude 5 - which can damage buildings - roughly every 10–20 years.
Research estimate that the largest possible earthquake in the UK is around 6.5, strong enough to destroy homes.

How likely is an earthquake in the UK?

According to experts, there are "super deep" fault lines below the Home Counties linked to the San Andreas Fault which causes huge quakes in California.

 Damage to the roof in another bedroom in Wombwell, Barnsley, after the quake in February 2008
PA5
Damage to the roof in another bedroom in Wombwell, Barnsley, after the quake in February 2008
Some claim the UK is at an ever-growing risk of a big earthquake, with seismologists believing there may have been big quakes in Britain at some time.
Reports say the regions most at risk are Kent and the Home Counties, Essex, and Scotland - thanks to a major plate tectonic boundary between the Eurasian plate and the African plate.
In 2015, a quake measuring 4.2 hit Sandwich in Kent, with shockwaves felt as far away as Norwich 1oo miles away.

Where do quakes in the UK occur?

Most earthquakes occur on the western side of the British mainland, and there are hardly any in eastern Scotland and north east England or Ireland.

 Roof tiles torn off after the earthquake in Barnsley in 2008 - one of the strongest quakes in our recent history
Alamy 5
Roof tiles torn off after the earthquake in Barnsley in 2008 - one of the strongest quakes in our recent history
But the North Sea is an earthquake hot spot, as well as the Llyn peninsula in Gwynedd, North Wales.
Llyn was the location for the largest recorded onshore quake in the UK on July 19 1984, when a 5.4 magnitude tremor damaged buildings and injured several.
Two smaller quakes – measuring magnitudes of 4.0 and 4.3 – rocked the area in the following weeks.
According to the British Geological Survey, other areas hit by big tremors include Kintail in the north-west Highlands, Folkestone, Melton Mowbray and Longtown in Cumbria.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2530661/strongest-earthquake-recorded-uk/
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Surprise 4.7R in Wales UK !


A surprise 4.7R earthquake has striken the UK on the river Neath in Wales, near Swanse. It shows the shift and emergence of earthquake events in places where once were thought safe and inactive. 

Magnitudemb 4.7
RegionWALES-ENGLAND REGION, U.K.
Date time2018-02-17 14:31:05.6 UTC
Location51.66 N ; 3.82 W
Depth10 km
Distances249 km SE of Dublin, Ireland / pop: 1,025,000 / local time: 14:31:05.6 2018-02-17
49 km NW of Cardiff, United Kingdom / pop: 303,000 / local time: 14:31:05.6 2018-02-17
10 km NE of Swansea, United Kingdom / pop: 171,000 / local time: 14:31:05.6 2018-02-17
1 km W of Neath, United Kingdom / pop: 46,200 / local time: 14:31:05.6 2018-02-17

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7.2 R in MEXICO

A powerful earthquake of 7.2R in OAXACA  has shaken south and central Mexico, causing people to flee buildings and office towers in the country's capital, and setting off quake alert systems.
Crowds of people gathered on central Reforma Avenue in Mexico City as the ground shook.
The U.S. Geological Survey put the quake's preliminary magnitude at 7.5 and said its epicenter was 2 kilometers southeast of Pinotepa in Oaxaca state. It had a depth of 43 kilometers.
A magnitude 7.1 earthquake in central Mexico on Sept. 19 left 228 people dead in the capital and 369 across the region.

MagnitudeMw 7.2
RegionOAXACA, MEXICO
Date time2018-02-16 23:39:39.5 UTC
Location16.61 N ; 97.72 W
Depth10 km
Distances275 km S of Puebla de Zaragoza, Mexico / pop: 1,591,000 / local time: 17:39:39.5 2018-02-16
118 km SW of Oaxaca de Juárez, Mexico / pop: 263,000 / local time: 17:39:39.5 2018-02-16
30 km NE of Pinotepa de Don Luis, Mexico / pop: 5,600 / local time: 17:39:39.5 2018-02-16

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Friday, February 16, 2018

Artificial Intelligence is helping seismologists detect earthquakes they’d otherwise miss

Using the same tools we use for voice detection, scientists are uncovering tiny earthquakes hidden in the data




Earthquakes are notoriously difficult to predict. Even major quakes often occur with little warning. Meanwhile, there are many hundreds of thousands of smaller earthquakes that humans rarely ever feel but are occasionally detected on seismographs.

Now, researchers from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed an artificial intelligence (A.I.) neural network to better help detect earthquakes of all sizes. In a recent study published in the journal Science Advances, the A.I.system was shown to be more accurate than current methods, and may help bring seismologists closer to the elusive goal of earthquake prediction.

The paper’s focus is on earthquakes in Oklahoma, a previously seismically inactive state that has become increasingly more active over the past decade due in part to the wastewater disposal practices of the fracking industry. Since Oklahomans have never really had to worry about earthquakes, the state is ill-equipped to detect and locate them.

“One way we usually locate earthquakes is by using multiple stations and triangulation, just like GPS,” Thibaut Perol, an A.I. researcher at Harvard and one of the authors of the study, told Digital Trends. “But in that region of Oklahoma, which has only been active seismically for a short amount of time, there aren’t a lot of seismic stations that would allow you to do triangulation. What we’ve done is to allow someone to locate an earthquake using only a single station.”

The trick used by Perol and his team was to increase the sensitivity of Oklahoma’s sparse seismographs, using a convolutional neural network to filter through the noise associated with the Earth’s goings-on — from human activity like traffic to the vibrations created by wind and waves. To do this, they fed the A.I. data on regions that are seismically inactive, enabling the system to identify ambient noise that’s not the result of tremors. By being able to identify this ambient noise, the system can then better pick up on the importance stuff — i.e., earthquakes.

Perol compared this to voice-recognition software, such as Siri’s ability to recognize a command amid a bunch of background noise.

“What we’ve done is to allow someone to locate an earthquake using only a single station,” he said. “We have trained the A.I … to detect, in real time, earthquakes of whatever magnitude.”

The researchers hope to deploy this technology more widely in Oklahoma, to help seismologists detect quakes and pinpoint their cause. And by better understanding earthquakes, including their precise location and cause, they hope to someday develop a system that can predict an earthquake well before it happens.

https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/ai-earthquake-detection/
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Thursday, February 15, 2018

5.2R in NEW BRITAIN Region

A 5.5 R  earthquake was reported early this morning near New Britain.

MagnitudeMw 5.2
RegionNEW BRITAIN REGION, P.N.G.
Date time2018-02-15 11:40:05.5 UTC
Location5.17 S ; 151.42 E
Depth129 km
Distances665 km NE of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea / pop: 284,000 / local time: 21:40:05.5 2018-02-15
130 km SW of Kokopo, Papua New Guinea / pop: 26,300 / local time: 21:40:05.5 2018-02-15 
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NEW MOON TODAY


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Toward a better prediction of solar eruptions

The “entangled magnetic ‘rope’ forms” leading to eruptions sound similar to Birkeland currents, which can become like ‘twisted or braided rope’ and also feature in auroras.

A single phenomenon may underlie all solar eruptions, according to researchers from the CNRS, École Polytechnique, CEA and INRIA in an article featured on the cover of the February 8 issue of Nature.
They have identified the presence of a confining ‘cage’ in which an entangled magnetic ‘rope’ forms, causing solar eruptions, reports Phys.org.
It is the resistance of this cage to the attack of the rope that determines the power and type of the upcoming flare.
This work has enabled the scientists to develop a model capable of predicting the maximum energy that can be released during a solar flare, which could have potentially devastating consequences for the Earth.

Just as on Earth, storms and hurricanes sweep through the atmosphere of the sun. These phenomena are caused by a sudden, violent reconfiguration of the solar magnetic field, and are characterized by an intense release of energy in the form of light and particle emissions, and sometimes by the ejection of a bubble of plasma.
Studying these phenomena, which take place in the corona (the outermost region of the sun), will enable scientists to develop forecasting models, just as they do for the Earth’s weather. This should limit our technological vulnerability to solar eruptions, which can impact a number of sectors such as electricity distribution, GPS and communications systems.
In 2014, researchers showed that a characteristic structure, an entanglement of magnetic force lines twisted together like a rope, gradually appears in the days preceding a solar flare. However, until recently, they had only observed this rope in eruptions that ejected bubbles of plasma.
In this new study, the researchers studied other types of flare, the models of which are still being debated, by undertaking a more thorough analysis of the solar corona, a region where the sun’s atmosphere is so thin and hot that it is difficult to measure the solar magnetic field there. They did this by measuring the stronger magnetic field at the surface of the sun, and then using these data to reconstruct what was happening in the solar corona.Towards a better prediction of solar eruptions

 They applied this method to a major flare that developed over a few hours on October 24, 2014. They showed that, in the hours before the eruption, the evolving rope was confined within a multilayer magnetic 'cage.' Running evolutionary models on a supercomputer, they showed that the rope had insufficient energy to break through all the layers of the cage, making the ejection of a magnetic bubble impossible. Despite this, the high twist of the rope triggered an instability and the partial destruction of the cage, causing a powerful emission of radiation that led to disruptions on Earth.

Thanks to their method, which makes it possible to monitor the processes taking place in the last few hours leading up to a flare, the researchers have developed a model to predict the maximum energy that can be released from the observed region of the sun. The model showed that for the 2014 eruption, a huge ejection of plasma would have occurred if the cage had been less resistant. This work demonstrates the crucial role played by the magnetic 'cage-rope' duo in controlling solar eruptions, as well as being a new step towards early prediction of such eruptions, which will have potentially significant societal impacts.


Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-02-solar-eruptions.html#jCp
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Giant earthquakes: not as random as thought

By analyzing sediment cores from Chilean lakes, an international team of scientists discovered that giant earthquakes reoccur with relatively regular intervals. When also taking into account smaller earthquakes, the repeat interval becomes increasingly more irregular to a level where earthquakes happen randomly in time.

"In 1960, South-Central Chile was hit by the largest known quake on earth with a magnitude of 9.5. Its tsunami was so massive that –in addition to inundating the Chilean coastline– it travelled across the Pacific Ocean and even killed about 200 persons in Japan," says Jasper Moernaut, an assistant professor at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, and lead author of the study. "Understanding when and where such devastating giant earthquakes may occur in the future is a crucial task for the geoscientific community".

It is generally believed that giant earthquakes release so much energy that several centuries of stress accumulation are needed to produce a new big one. Therefore, seismological data or historical documents simply do not go back far enough in time to reveal the patterns of their recurrence. "It is an ongoing topic of very vivid debate whether we should model large earthquake recurrence as a quasi-regular or random process in time. Of course, the model choice has very large repercussions on how we evaluate the actual seismic hazard in Chile for the coming decades to centuries."

In their recent paper in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Moernaut`s team of Belgian, Chilean and Swiss researchers presented a new approach to tackle the problem of large earthquake recurrence. By analyzing sediments on the bottom of two Chilean lakes, they recognized that each strong earthquake produces underwater landslides which get preserved in the sedimentary layers accumulating on the lake floor.  By sampling these layers in up to 8 m long sediment cores, they retrieved the complete earthquake history over the last 5000 years, including up to 35 great earthquakes of a magnitude larger than 7.7.
Giant earthquakes: not as random as thought
Giant earthquakes: not as random as thought
Jasper Moernaut holding a core sample. Credit: Maarten Van Daele

"What is truly exceptional is the fact that in one lake the underwater landslides only happen during the strongest shaking events (like a M9 earthquake), whereas the other lake also reacted to "smaller" M8 earthquakes," says Maarten Van Daele from Ghent University, Belgium. "In this way we were able to compare the patterns in which earthquakes of different magnitudes take place. We did not have to guess which model is the best, we could just derive it from our data."

With this approach, the team found that giant earthquakes (like the one in 1960) reoccur every 292 ±93 years and thus the probability for such giant events remains very low in the next 50-100 years. However, the "smaller" (~M8) earthquakes took place every 139 ±69 years and there is a 29.5% chance that such an event may occur in the next 50 years.  Since 1960, the area has been seismically very quiet, but a recent M7.6 earthquake (on 25 DEC 2016) near Chiloé Island suggests a reawakening of great earthquakes in South-Central Chile.

"These Chilean lakes form a fantastic opportunity to study earthquake recurrence," says Moernaut. "Glacial erosion during the last Ice Age resulted in a chain of large and deep lakes above the subduction zone, where the most powerful earthquakes are getting generated. We hope to extend our approach along South America, which may allow us to discover whether e.g. earthquakes always rupture in the same segments, or whether other areas in the country are capable of producing giant M9+ earthquakes."

"In the meanwhile, we already initiated similar studies on Alaskan, Sumatran and Japanese lakes," says Marc De Batist from Ghent University. "We are looking forward to some exciting comparisons between the data from these settings, and see if the Chilean patterns hold for other areas that have experienced giant M9+ earthquakes in the past."


Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-01-giant-earthquakes-random-thought.html#jCp
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Doubles Today



As predicted this morning, although we have had weak planetary situations, we spotted the possibility of double earthquakes today. Here below we show some examples. We have in the past demonstrated with predicted examples (See our research posts) that when you get a double the intensity is lower than if you get a single event. Be Safe Be Good!



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Seismic Stress Map Profiles Induced Earthquake Risk for West Texas, New Mexico

Stanford geophysicists have developed a detailed map of the stresses that act in the Earth throughout the Permian Basin in West Texas and southeastern New Mexico, highlighting areas of the oil-rich region that could be at greater risk for future earthquakes induced by production operations.

The new study, published this month in the journal The Leading Edge, provides a color-coded map of the 75,000-square mile region that identifies those potential oil and gas development sites that would be would be most likely to trigger an earthquake associated with fluid injection.

Previous Stanford research has shown that wastewater injected as a step in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) underlies an increase in seismic activity in parts of the central and eastern U.S., particularly in Oklahoma, starting in 2005. While none of these small-to-moderate earthquakes has yet caused significant property damage or injury, they represent an increased probability of larger earthquakes.
Now, Texas is poised to take center stage as the Permian Basin is becoming the country's most important oil- and gas-producing region. In the 1920s, energy companies began extracting the basin's bountiful petroleum deposits during a boom that lasted decades. More recently, the advance of hydraulic fracturing techniques has spurred a new development frenzy. Hundreds of thousands of wells could be drilled in the region in the next few decades.

"We want to get out ahead of the problem in Texas," said study co-author Mark Zoback, the Benjamin M. Page Professor of Geophysics in Stanford's School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (Stanford Earth), who led a number of the Stanford studies in Oklahoma. "We want to stop fluid injection from triggering even small earthquakes in Texas so that the probability of larger earthquakes is significantly reduced."
High-stress environment
To gauge the risk of future quakes, researchers must first understand the direction of the stresses in a region and their approximate magnitude. When the stress field aligns with a pre-existing fault in a certain manner, the fault can slip, potentially producing an earthquake. In regions such as the central and eastern U.S., far from tectonic plate boundaries such as the San Andreas Fault, this slippage occurs as a natural process, but very rarely. But increasing fluid pressure at depth reduces the friction along the fault, sometimes triggering an earthquake.

"Fluid injection can cause a quake on a fault that might not produce a natural earthquake for thousands of years from now," said study lead author Jens-Erik Lund Snee, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Geophysics at Stanford Earth.

In a previous study, Zoback and postdoctoral scholar Cornelius Langenbruch found that in Oklahoma, fluid injection caused about 6,000 years of natural earthquakes to occur in about five years.
Creating a next-generation stress map
Building on previous efforts to create maps of stress and seismic potential in the Permian Basin, the Stanford researchers added hundreds of new data points from West Texas and southeastern New Mexico, much of the data being provided by the oil and gas industry.

Their findings paint a complicated picture of the Permian Basin, which features some relatively consistent horizontal stress areas along with others that show dramatic directional rotations. "We were surprised to see such high variability," said Lund Snee. "It raises a lot of questions about how you can have rotations like that in the middle of a continental plate, far from a plate boundary."

"This is the one of the most interesting stress fields I've ever seen," Zoback said. "While the stress field in this region is surprisingly complex, the data is excellent and having documented what it is, we can now take action on this information and try to prevent the Permian Basin from becoming Oklahoma 2.0."
A tool for safer, more efficient drilling
The Stanford researchers said the new stress map provides oil companies with detailed quantitative data to inform decisions on more effective drilling operations in the Permian Basin. "This is the most complete picture of stress orientation and relative magnitude that they've ever had," Zoback said. "They can use these data every day in deciding the best direction to drill and how to carry out optimal hydraulic fracturing operations."

Future studies will focus on improving knowledge of fault lines in the region and gaining a better understanding of fluid pressure, specifically how the amount of water injection (both now and in the past) has impacted the geological mechanisms at work in the area.

"There is the potential for a lot of earthquakes in this area," said Lund Snee. "We want to understand what's causing them and provide companies with the tools to avoid triggering them."

http://www.geologyin.com/2018/02/seismic-stress-map-profiles-induced.html#TbPWps3hFp3VR7xE.99 Follow us: @GeologyTime on Twitter
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Planets Today


What is happening today in the sky over the earth can be seen here. The Sun and Mercury are just emerging from their alignment with just a degree between them. At the same time the Moon is about to trigger a double square aspect to Jupiter. So....we should see today double earthquakes somewhere. I belive we have seen already in Chile, but we could see more.


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Scientists Look to Cockroaches to Build Better Crawling and Climbing Robots

A team from University of California at Berkeley have developed a robot that can operate and crawl in a space built for half its size.

Cockroaches rarely conjure up warm, inspiring feelings of innovation. However, the seemingly indestructible insect has inspired robotics engineers to attempt to duplicate its form. 
When put into stressful situations, cockroaches can squeeze themselves into spaces just a tenth of an inch (or only a few millimeters). Once inside that gap, they can continue to safely operate and even run at high speeds.
A team from University of California at Berkeley wants to harness that body build and create robots that duplicate that level of flexibility.  
“What’s impressive about these cockroaches is that they can run as fast through a quarter-inch gap as a half-inch gap, by reorienting their legs completely out to the side,” said study leader Kaushik Jayaram.
Jayaram also recently earned his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley and is now a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University. He said, “They’re about half an inch tall when they run freely, but can squish their bodies to one-tenth of an inch — the height of two stacked pennies.”

Robots for search-and-rescue operations

Robotics engineers have been working for years on perfecting robots meant for search-and-rescue operations. More particularly, engineers want robots that can safely squeeze through rubble after events like earthquakes.
The initial responses have trended toward soft robotics -- making robots flexible enough like snakes that could just slither and squeeze through a spot. The UC Berkeley team decided to take a very different approach. 
“In the event of an earthquake, first responders need to know if an area of rubble is stable and safe, but the challenge is, most robots can’t get into rubble,” said Robert Full, a professor of integrative biology at UC Berkeley. “But if there are lots of cracks and vents and conduits, you can imagine just throwing a swarm of these robots in to locate survivors and safe entry points for first responders.”
A swarm of these style robots would certainly pack a powerful punch in helping find what's buried under rubble. The American cockroach can withstand forces of 900 times their body weight, according to the study. 
“Insects are the most successful animals on earth. Because they intrude nearly everywhere, we should look to them for inspiration as to how to make a robot that can do the same.”
“This is only a prototype, but it shows the feasibility of a new direction using what we think are the most effective models for soft robots, that is, animals with exoskeletons,” Full said. “Insects are the most successful animals on earth. Because they intrude nearly everywhere, we should look to them for inspiration as to how to make a robot that can do the same.”
Full and his team from the PolyPEDAL group have watched animals to figure out which natural biomedical best practices align more for robots' functionality. 
Whenever a cockroach is smushed, they can't technically use their 'feet.' So, American cockroaches use 'sensory spines' on their tibia to move forward despite the tight squeezes. 
“They have to use different body parts to move in these spaces, because their legs and feet are not oriented to work properly,” Jayaram said. “But they are still capable of generating the large forces necessary for locomotion, which blew my mind.”

Scientists Look to Cockroaches to Build Better Crawling and Climbing Robots
Source: Tom Libby, Kaushik Jayaram and Pauline Jennings/PolyPEDAL Lab/UC Berkeley

Currently, the research team is testing out various other parts of a cockroach's anatomy in order to figure out how to implement those into robotics.

https://interestingengineering.com/scientists-look-to-cockroaches-to-build-better-crawling-and-climbing-robots

 

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400 earthquakes detected at Grímsey island in last twelve hours

Since midnight an earthquake swarm has struck at the island of Grímsey off the north coast of Iceland. The largest quakes were at 3.2 on the Richter scale. No signs of volcanic unrest says the Iceland Met Office.
The earthquake originate in a caldera in the ocean west of the Skjálfandi deep. There is no sign of the earthquakes stopping yet.
Yesterday, the same source reported....
The storms are hitting Iceland relentlessly it seems and this morning the Iceland Met Offie put out an orange alert for South and South East Iceland. The no.1 road between Hvolsvöllur and Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon is closed. All traffic through Hellisheiði and Kjalarnes has also been put to a stop.
All flights to the Westman Islands have been cancelled.
Einnig hefur verið lokað á umferð um Hellisheiði og Kjalarnes og þá hefur flugi til Vestmannaeyja verið aflýst.
This is no weather for travel states the Iceland Met Office. The storm is accompanied by snow and there is no visibility. Windspeeds could go u to 50 m/s.


https://icelandmonitor.mbl.is/news/nature_and_travel/2018/02/15/400_earthquakes_detected_at_grimsey_island_in_last_/
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Vanuatu: FDL Method, February 2018

Based on our published research techniques, we here apply them as a systematic predicting tool for determining the dates of earthquakes. Our methods are experimental and we test them in real time.
Please note the disclaimer at the end. We expect an accuracy for the prediction of +-1 day from the dates shown in the charts.

In the following diagram we can see Vanuatu Earthquake Predictions for the period of February 2018.

For this period we can observe that there is a High* probability to have an earthquake >4R in Vanuatu on 17th, 20th-21st, and 25th  February, other dates in February 2018. are possible and you can see their relative significance from the calendar below:

The probability scales are as follows:
*SMALL (<40%), MEDIUM (40-60%), and HIGH (>60%)
You can read about our methodology here.

Disclaimer
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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Massive earthquake 'could devastate parts of Asia and America' after flurry of tremors hit Earth's Pacific plates

Quakes have hit near Japan, Guam, Taiwan and Alaska along the so-called 'Ring of Fire' - the name given to a string of volcanoes and sites of seismic activity that run around the Pacific Ocean
Fears are growing a massive tremor could be about to devastate parts of Asia and America after a flurry of earthquakes hit the Earth's Pacific plates over the past few weeks.
Quakes have hit near Japan, Guam , Taiwan and Alaska along the so-called 'Ring of Fire' - the name given to a string of volcanoes and sites of seismic activity that run around the Pacific Ocean.
The 25,000-mile long horseshoe stretches from the Southern tip of South America, along the North American coast and then along to Japan and down to New Zealand and it is so active that 90% of all earthquakes occur within it.
Just yesterday series of tremors reaching a magnitude of 5.7 shook the US island territory of Guam.
Since February 11, three earthquakes have struck Japan: A 4.8 magnitude quake 103 kilometres from Hachijo, a 4.5 magnitude quake 55 kilometres from Nemuro, and a 4.5 magnitude earthquake 103 kilometres from Tokunoshima.
A damaged building in Hualien, eastern Taiwan on February 7 after an earthquake
Fire fighters look for survivors in Hualien
The Ring of Fire is an area of volcanoes and sites of seismic activity that run around the Pacific Ocean
Scientists have also just discovered a submerged supervolcano off the coast of Japan that 'could erupt and kill 100million people.'
The rising six-mile wide dome of lava sits in a collapsed magma chamber of the Kikai Caldera - a giant cauldron-like depression among the Osumi Islands.
Experts believe it contains 32 cubic km (7.68 cubic miles) of magma - and distortions on its surface suggest it is ready to blow.
Just a few days before Japan was rocked by a series of tremors a devastating 6.4 magnitude quake struck along Taiwan's east coast, leaving 17 people dead and 180 injured.
Just one day after the quake hit Hualien on February 6 another tremor hit the same area where recovery efforts are still ongoing.
Rescuers run out of a hotel during an aftershock after an earthquake hit Hualien
A man walks next to port area destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami in Kessenuma town, Japan
People leaving the Alaskan island of Kodiak after a tsunami warning
The United States Geological Survey shows the location of a magnitude 7.9 earthquake off the coast of Alaska
Before that on January 22, thousands of people were evacuated after a tsunami alert was issued following a huge 7.9-magnitude earthquake off the coast of Alaska.
A huge 32-foot rise in water was recorded by a buoy off Cordova in Alaska and the entire US west coast was put on tsunami alert with those in British Columbia, Alaska and on the Aleutian islands advised to move away from coastal areas.
The powerful quake struck at a depth of 10km at around 12.30am local time around 157 miles southeast of Chiniak.
The same day The Philippines' Mount Mayon, the country's most active volcano, erupted, sending ash on communities where tens of thousands fled after warnings of an impending eruption.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised its alert on Mayon to level 4 after the explosion - meaning a hazardous eruption is imminent.
People fleeing an eruption in the Mayon Volcano on January 22 in Camalig, Philippines
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised its alert on Mayon to level 4 after the explosion - meaning a hazardous eruption is imminent 
The spate of activity around the so-called Ring of Fire has raised concerns that a major and potentially deadly volcanic eruption or earthquake could be on the way.
Seismologists expect there to be around one earthquake of magnitude 8 or more in a year - but are these recent earthquakes linked?
“The short answer is yes, earthquakes and volcanoes can interact,” said Emily Brodsky, a professor of earth and planetary sciences at the University of California Santa Cruz.
But she noted it’s too early to connect the dots between all the activity we’ve seen this week, and it’s hard to say how much one event has influenced another.
David Galloway, a seismologist at the British Geological Survey, studies earthquakes all over the globe.
He previously told Mirror Online that it is only a matter of time before a big one strikes again.
Seismologists expect there to be around one earthquake of magnitude 8 or more in a year
An eruption of the Mayon volcano
"We expect a big one to happen in Japan and another one in California. Stress has been building up over the years," he explained.
"It's like pulling an elastic band. If you keep pulling it, it will snap."
But other scientists say such activity is normal for the Ring of Fire, adding that there is no chance of a "domino effect" triggering a larger quake.
Toshiyasu Nagao, head of Tokyo-based Tokai University's Earthquake Prediction Research Centre told Japan Times : "The Pacific Rim is in a period of activity.
"In terms of volcanic history, however, the current activity is still regarded as normal."
And Dr Janine Krippner, a volcanologist at Concord University in Athens, West Virginia, tweeted: "It's not referred to as the 'ring of fire' because it sits there doing nothing ... it is normal to have so much activity."
While earthquake prediction is impossible, technology to aid forecasting is constantly in development.
Due to the way the earth's tectonic plates push and pull against each other, the size of earthquakes is fairly easy to predict.
"We can tell where its likely to happen, we can advise on what should and should not be built," Mr Galloway added.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/fears-massive-earthquake-set-devastate-12023413
"We expect a big one at some point but I can't tell you when it will be excactly."
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Tonga: FDL Method, February 2018

Based on our published research techniques, we here apply them as a systematic predicting tool for determining the dates of earthquakes. Our methods are experimental and we test them in real time.
Please note the disclaimer at the end. We expect an accuracy for the prediction of +-1 day from the dates shown in the charts.

In the following diagram we can see Tonga Earthquake Predictions for the period of  February 2018.

For this period we can observe that there is a High* probability to have an earthquake >4R in Tonga on February 13th,  19th and 27th,  other dates in February 2018 are possible and you can see their relative significance from the calendar below:

The probability scales are as follows:
*SMALL (<40%), MEDIUM (40-60%), and HIGH (>60%)

See also possible events below
You can read about our methodology here.

Disclaimer
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PERU: FDL Method, February 2018

Based on our published research techniques, we here apply them as a systematic predicting tool for determining the dates of earthquakes. Our methods are experimental and we test them in real time.
Please note the disclaimer at the end. We expect an accuracy for the prediction of +-1 day from the dates shown in the charts.

In the following diagram we can see Peru Earthquake Predictions for the period of February 2018.

For this period we can observe that there is a High* probability to have an earthquake >4R in Peru on February 17th, 23rd and 25th,  other dates in February 2018 are possible and you can see their relative significance from the calendar below:

The probability scales are as follows:
*SMALL (<40%), MEDIUM (40-60%), and HIGH (>60%)

You can read about our methodology here.

Disclaimer
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TAIWAN: February 2018 using FDL!

Based on our published research techniques, we here apply them as a systematic predicting tool for determining the dates of earthquakes. Our methods are experimental and we test them in real time.
Please note the disclaimer at the end. We expect an accuracy for the prediction of +-1 day from the dates shown in the charts.

In the following diagram we can see Taiwan Earthquake Predictions for the period of  February 2018.

For this period we can observe that there is a High* probability to have an earthquake >4R in Taiwan on  17th and 22rd February, other dates in February 2018 are possible and you can see their relative significance from the calendar below:

The probability scales are as follows:
*SMALL (<40%), MEDIUM (40-60%), and HIGH (>60%)







You can read about our methodology here.

Disclaimer
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Study finds earthquakes continue for years after gas field wastewater injection stops

Efforts to stop human-caused earthquakes by shutting down wastewater injection wells that serve adjacent oil and gas fields may oversimplify the challenge, according to a new study from seismologists at Southern Methodist University, Dallas.

The seismologists analyzed a sequence of earthquakes at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and found that even though wastewater injection was halted after a year, the earthquakes continued.

The sequence of quakes began in 2008, and wastewater injection was halted in 2009. But earthquakes continued for at least seven more years.

"This tells us that high-volume injection, even if it's just for a short time, when it's near a critically stressed fault, can induce long-lasting seismicity," said SMU seismologist Paul O. Ogwari, who developed a unique method of data analysis that yielded the study results.

The earthquakes may be continuing even now, said Ogwari, whose analysis extended through 2015.

The study's findings indicate that shutting down injection wells in reaction to earthquakes, as some states such as Oklahoma and Arkansas are doing, may not have the desired effect of immediately stopping further earthquakes, said seismologist Heather DeShon, a co-author on the study and an associate professor in the SMU Earth Sciences Department.

"The DFW earthquake sequence began on Halloween in 2008—before Oklahoma seismicity rates had notably increased," said DeShon. "This study revisits what was technically the very first modern induced earthquake sequence in this region and shows that even though the wastewater injector in this case had been shut off very quickly, the injection activity still perturbed the fault, so that generated earthquakes even seven years later."

That phenomenon is not unheard of. Seismologists saw that type of earthquake response from a rash of human-induced earthquakes in Colorado after wastewater injection during the 1960s at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal near Denver. Similarly in that case, injection was started and stopped, but earthquakes continued.

Such a possibility has not been well understood outside scientific circles, said DeShon. She is a member of the SMU seismology team that has studied and published extensively on their scientific findings related to the unusual spate of human-induced earthquakes in North Texas.

"The perception is that if the oil and gas wastewater injectors are leading to this, then you should just shut the injection wells down," DeShon said. "But Paul's study shows that there's a lot to be learned about the physics of the process, and by monitoring continuously for years."

Ogwari, DeShon and fellow SMU seismologist Matthew J. Hornbach reported the findings in the peer-reviewed Journal of Geophysical Research in the article "The Dallas-Fort Worth Airport Earthquake Sequence: Seismicity Beyond Injection Period."

Known DFW Airport quakes number more than 400

The DFW Airport's unprecedented earthquake clusters were the first ever documented in the history of the North Texas region's oil-rich geological system known as the Fort Worth Basin. The quakes are also the first of multiple sequences in the basin tied to large-scale subsurface disposal of waste fluids from oil and gas operations.

The DFW Airport earthquakes began in 2008, as did high-volume wastewater injection of brine. Most of the seismic activity occurred in the first two months after injection began, primarily within .62 miles, or 1 kilometer, from the well. Other clusters then migrated further to the northeast of the well over the next seven years. The quakes were triggered on a pre-existing regional fault that trends 3.7 miles, or 6 kilometers, northeast to southwest.

Ogwari, a post-doctoral researcher in the SMU Roy M. Huffington Earth Sciences Department, analyzed years of existing seismic data from the region to take a deeper look at the DFW Airport sequence, which totaled 412 earthquakes through 2015.

Looking at the data for those quakes, Ogwari discovered that they had continued for at least seven years into 2015 along 80% of the fault, even though injection was stopped after only 11 months in August of 2009.

Rate of quakes declined, but magnitude has never lessened

In another important finding from the study, Ogwari found that the magnitude of the DFW Airport earthquakes didn't lessen over time, but instead held steady. Magnitude ranged from 0.5 to 3.4, with the largest one occurring three years after injection at the well was stopped.

"What we've seen here is that the magnitude is consistent over time within the fault," Ogwari said. "We expect to see the bigger events during injection or immediately after injection, followed by abrupt decay. But instead we're seeing the fault continue to produce earthquakes with similar magnitudes that we saw during injection."

While the rate of earthquakes declined—there were 23 events a month from 2008 to 2009, but only 1 event a month after May 2010—the magnitude stayed the same. That indicates the fault doesn't heal completely.

"We don't know why that is," Ogwari said. "I think that's a question that is out there and may need more research."
SMU study finds earthquakes continue for years after gas field wastewater injection stops
Map view of the SMU predicted pore pressure change in the basement at about 4.4 kilometers depth annually during March from 2009 to 2014. Black dots are cumulative earthquakes at the time of the predicted pore pressure change. Credit: SMU
SMU study finds earthquakes continue for years after gas field wastewater injection stops
More monitoring needed for human-induced quakes

Answering that question, and others, about the complex characteristics and behavior of faults and earthquakes, requires more extensive monitoring than is currently possible given the funding allotted to monitor quakes.

Monitoring the faults involves strategically placed stations that "listen" and record waves of intense energy echoing through the ground, DeShon said.

The Fort Worth Basin includes the Barnett shale, a major gas producing geological formation, atop the deep Ellenberger formation used for wastewater storage, which overlays a granite basement layer. The ancient Airport fault system extends through all units.

Friction prevented the fault from slipping for millions of years, but in 2008 high volumes of injected wastewater disturbed the Airport fault. That caused the fault to slip, releasing stored-up energy in waves. The most powerful waves were "felt" as the earth shaking.

"The detailed physical equations relating wastewater processes to fault processes is still a bit of a question," DeShon said. "But generally the favored hypothesis is that the injected fluid changes the pressure enough to change the ratio of the downward stress to the horizontal stresses, which allows the fault to slip."?

Earthquakes in North Texas were unheard of until 2008, so when they began to be felt, seismologists scrambled to install monitors. When the quakes died down, the monitoring stations were removed.

"As it stands now, we miss the beginning of the quakes. The monitors are removed when the earthquakes stop being felt," DeShon said. "But this study tells us that there's more to it than the 'felt' earthquakes. We need to know how the sequences start, and also how they end. If we're ever going to understand what's happening, we need the beginning, the middle—and the end. Not just the middle, after they are felt."

Innovative method tapped for studying earthquake activity

Monitors the SMU team installed at the DFW Airport were removed when seismic activity appeared to have died down in 2009.

Ogwari hypothesized he could look at historical data from distant monitoring stations still in place to extract information and document the history of the DFW Airport earthquakes.

The distant stations are a part of the U.S. permanent network monitored and maintained by the U.S. Geological Survey. The nearest one is 152 miles, 245 kilometers, away.

Earthquake waveforms, like human fingerprints, are unique. Ogwari used the local station monitoring data to train software to identify DFW earthquakes on the distant stations. Ogwari took each earthquake's digital fingerprint and searched through years of data, cross-correlating waveforms from both the near and regional stations and identified the 412 DFW Airport events.

"The earthquakes are small, less than magnitude three," DeShon said. "So on the really distant stations it's like searching for a needle in a haystack, sifting them from all the other tiny earthquakes happening all across the United States."

Each path is unique for every earthquake, and seismologists record each wave's movement up and down, north to south, and east to west. From that Ogwari analyzed the evolution of seismicity on the DFW airport fault over space and time. He was able to look at data from the distant monitors and find seismic activity at the airport as recent as 2015.

"Earthquakes occurring close in space usually have a higher degree of similarity," Ogwari said. "As the separation distance increases the similarity decreases."

To understand the stress on the fault, the researchers also modeled the location and timing of the pressure in the pores of the rock as the injected water infiltrated.

For the various earthquake clusters, the researchers found that pore pressure increased along the fault at varying rates, depending on how far the clusters were from the injection well, the rate and timing of injection, and hydraulic permeability of the fault.

The analysis showed pore-pressure changes to the fault from the injection well where the earthquakes started in 2008; at the location of the May 2010 quakes along the fault; and at the northern edge of the seismicity.

Will the DFW Airport fault continue to slip and trigger earthquakes?

"We don't know," Ogwari said. "We can't tell how long it will continue. SMU and TexNet, the Texas Seismic Network, continue to monitor both the DFW Airport faults and other faults in the Basin."


Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-02-earthquakes-years-gas-field-wastewater.html#jCp
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Earthquake expert Stephen Mahin passes away at 71

Stephen A. Mahin, a world-renowned expert in earthquake engineering and professor emeritus at UC Berkeley, passed away on February 9 at the age of 71. Mahin was a popular teacher and researcher whose career included major contributions to the seismic safety of large structures such as bridges, electrical power facilities and highrise buildings.
Mahin was often quoted in the news on the design of structures, seismic isolation of bridges and buildings and the laboratory testing of how structures respond to ground-shaking. He oversaw experiments on a shake table — an earthquake simulator that shakes real buildings — that were the largest of their kind. In 2011, he traveled to Japan to study the impact of the damage from the 9.0 magnitude Tohoku earthquake and ensuing tsunami.
Mahin, a California native, earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Berkeley. He worked as an assistant research engineer on campus before joining the faculty as assistant professor in 1977. Highlights of his nearly 50-year career at Berkeley include serving as chair of the Structural Engineering, Mechanics, and Materials Program and as director of the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center from 2009-2015.

http://news.berkeley.edu/story_jump/earthquake-expert-passes-away-at-71/
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5.5R in Kepulauan Aru Region Indonesia


A 5.5 R  earthquake was reported early this morning near the island Trangan, Indonesia.

Magnitudemb 5.5
RegionKEPULAUAN ARU REGION, INDONESIA
Date time2018-02-14 00:05:30.3 UTC
Location6.01 S ; 133.77 E
Depth10 km
Distances948 km E of Dili, Timor-Leste / pop: 150,000 / local time: 09:05:30.3 2018-02-14
570 km S of Manokwari, Indonesia / pop: 53,200 / local time: 09:05:30.3 2018-02-14
119 km E of Tual, Indonesia / pop: 39,600 / local time: 09:05:30.3 2018-02-14

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