Seismic Uncertainty

What happened last March 11 wasn’t supposed to be possible. The seismic hazard maps didn’t entertain the idea of a 9.0 magnitude earthquake off the Tohoku coast of Japan. But the Earth paid no heed to scientific orthodoxy. A massive slab of the planet’s crust lurched 180 feet to the east. It rose about 15 …


Unnatural disasters

Scientific American‘s 60-Second Science blog is reporting, picking up on a news story from Science, that last year’s devastating earthquake in southern China may have been caused by the filling of an enormous reservoir behind a dam built in 2004.  The weight of the water in that reservoir, located just over 3 miles from the …