Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cosmic Quandaries with Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson

Great science, great logic, great reason - and yet without a damned good laugh! This speaker is very funny and very profound.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Magnitude 4.8 - TONGA

Right now I am having some dialog with people about this very deep moderate earthquake east of the Tonga Subduction Trench. A scientist shared this link to this earthquake after I mentioned deeply seated and rotating subducted plates, and their related earthquakes. The question right now is: Is this little earthquake due to the movement of a subducted plate, deep within the mantle? Why does this question pop up? Will look at how deep this earthquake is! It's way down in the earth's mantle, at 347 kilometers (216 miles) deep! To the west of the the earthquake is the Tonga Trench, a very deep trench at a place where an thin and heavy oceanic plate is diving under another plate. This is a very active subduction zone, one that kicks off 7 magnitude plus earthquakes on a regular basis!

Note: A typical earthquake is at a depth from 25 miles down to 2 miles down.

This event is unique. I recently attended an earthquake conference and listened to a presentation about the possibilities of moving and rotating sinking plates, those deeply seated in the mantle. The mantle is a thick layer of highly pressurized semi-fluid foam-like hot rock and other materials. It is a zone between our thin crust and the molten metallic core system. At least, this is the commonly accepted model within the science community.

I'm going to search around for some papers written by some scientists I know, if these papers are available. If I find them, I will share them and blog about what I think.

Magnitude 4.8 - TONGA

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

M7.2 – Southwestern Pakistan

This 7.2 mag earthquake was felt in far away corners. Is that because of the sand that so many of these communities sit on? This event was felt as far away as Al-Riyad, Saudi Arabia, which is a big city that mainly sits on sediments and sand. If one is not on hard bedrock, one is apt to feel distant quakes, for the waves travel well in sediments, and do not create as strong waves in hard rock. This earthquake is very interesting because of the distances that it was felt, and the nature of the sediments throughout the Arabian region.

M7.2 – Southwestern Pakistan

Sunday, January 16, 2011

3.8 Quake Just North of Yellowstone Volcano

Just now, within the hour, there was a 3.8 quake in Western Montana. This moderate quake is a bit north of the Yellowstone volcano. This quake may be related to an old subducted plate, but the quake is not deep enough for that. It's pretty shallow. Yellowstone often experiences earthquake swarms, and this time last year, had thousands of small quakes in a short period of time.

Map Centered at 47°N, 115°W

Friday, January 14, 2011

Mystery Bird Die-Off In Sonoma County - News Story - KTVU San Francisco

Nature's Co2 a possible culprit? Here's some thoughts and guesswork that I hope scientists are looking into. I do know that the USGS has taken great interest in the mass bird die offs throughout the country and the world. I don't know if they thought of measuring Co2. Here's an angle! Someone should study and measure this idea:

There are two mass bird die offs that may be in areas of Co2 emissions, due to the local geology where they died. There was a die off in Sonoma County in Northern California a few days ago, and a famous one in Arkansas earlier this month.

The birds that died in Sonoma County died near Geysers, Calif. This is an area of volcanism. There is a 'bottomless' lake in the area too, probably a volcanic pipe. In any area where there is volcanic venting, there are Co2 emissions. Volcanos spew out tons of this deadly gas every day. In fact, two ski patrolmen died at Mammoth Mountain volcano from Co2! This gas tends to settle in low laying areas, and accumulate. Around volcanos, one can often see where trees have died off. This due to too much Co2. That has also happened at Mammoth where the two men died.

One question I have - has anyone observed local trees from an airplane?

Are there tree die offs in the areas where the birds died?

Next: Has anyone gone out and measured Co2 levels where birds or trees have had died off? What are the readings?

Is there a pattern to all this?

Let's take a look at the Arkansas bird die off. Near where these birds died, is the general area of the New Madrid Rift Zone. This is thought to be a failed rift, and is very prone to strong earthquakes and sand geysers. There is some very strange geologic behavior in a large area extending from parts of Arkansas up to New Madrid. In fact there have been lot's of recent small earthquakes in Arkansas, and it seems to be more than usual recently. There have even been 4 mag earthquakes in this area during the last 12 months. Since rifting zones are areas of thinning crust, can Co2 be escaping from the depths? I associate rifting zones with volcanism, but also know that there are probably no active volcanos in the extended New Madrid zone.

All that said, it would be smart to measure Co2 levels in both areas, and take a hard look at the local geology where there are bird die offs. We may be dealing with a hidden geologic threat. We tend to downplay volcanism if there is a lack of pretty cone shaped mountains! We may be missing sleeping giants.

Check out the interesting article below.

Mystery Bird Die-Off In Sonoma County - News Story - KTVU San Francisco

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

California-Nevada Fault Map centered at 37°N,122°W

Take note of the two moderate earthquakes near the Bay Area. One, a 4.1 magnitude is on the Hayward Fault, and this morning's, just before 1 am, is on the San Andreas fault. That one is a 4.5 mag. Does this mean that the two faults exchange energy, movement and stresses? Are these two quakes precursors to another future event?

These things I do not know, but I do know that there is a team of scientists in the Bay Area that have their instruments set up near Alum Rock, near where the 4.1 happened.

I will give this team a call to see if their instruments indicate anything just before the two earthquakes. You see, they are trying to measure energy emissions from rocks just before they fail. These measurements are being taken from faults throughout California and even abroad. NASA/Aimes is working closely with this team, and their experiments consist of taking rocks to their breaking point in the lab, doing so with gradually applied pressure. The NASA team is looking for the same kind of emissions from their rocks. You can read some white papers on these observations and theories at

Asking these questions about these two earthquakes does not mean that I believe that they are precursors, it's just me asking some questions. And there has not been a conclusion made yet, by the science community on possible precursors to large earthquakes. It is indeed something that needs to addressed. A possible earthquake warning system could prepare communities or individuals for an event. I will blog much along these lines!

California-Nevada Fault Map centered at 37°N,122°W

Saturday, January 8, 2011

California-Nevada Fault Map centered at 33°N,115°W

The Salton Buttes volcano, an hour and half south of Palm Springs, and in Imperial Country. Ca - is still having movement of some kind. I think that there some water that is superheated by the magma pipe below. I'm guessing this, because the cooling magma pipe is about a mile and half underground. But this activity would be right over Obsidian Butte. Some of these micro-quakes are spread out from Obsidian Butte, and are deeper. Some are 6 and 4 miles deep, where there is indeed a magma chamber. Here are some questions that come to mind right now about these micro-quakes: Number One: Are these quakes due to cracking within a cooling magma chamber? (Magma material retracts and shrinks as it cools, thus cracking rock. ) Number Two: Are these quakes due to superheated water being forced into existing cracks? Or can both cases be in effect?

And then a third question pops to mind, a more radical one: Can some new magma and heat be seeking a way to the surface, due to crustal spreading. The crust has had a lot of movement and spreading in the area. Possible torsion too, due to the strike slipping of nearby faults? Remember, this volcanic activity is associated with a rifting zone.

All images thanks to the USGS. They do a great job of informing us.

California-Nevada Fault Map centered at 33°N,115°W

Saturday, January 1, 2011

California-Nevada Fault Map centered at 34°N,116°W

We're experiencing a second earthquake swarm at the Salton Buttes volcano, in Imperial County, CA. If you look at the cluster of small earthquakes at the south end of the lake, you are looking at the swarm. Also note that this is the fourth swarm in the Imperial County, and the rift zone that is there. Something is indeed going on with our rift zone. A rift is a place where the crust is spreading apart, and is host to volcanism and earthquakes. One of my ping pong balls I had set up fell from it's place on a table, and the way its set up, this is an indicator of movement.

California-Nevada Fault Map centered at 34°N,116°W