Posts Tagged ‘Earthquake’

Hundreds of Quakes Are Rattling Yellowstone

February 1, 2010

NY Times
Monday, February 1st, 2010

DENVER — In the last two weeks, more than 100 mostly tiny earthquakes a day, on average, have rattled a remote area of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, putting scientists who monitor the park’s strange and volatile geology on alert.

Researchers say that for now, the earthquake cluster, or swarm — the second-largest ever recorded in the park — is more a cause for curiosity than alarm. The quake zone, about 10 miles northwest of the Old Faithful geyser, has shown little indication, they said, of building toward a larger event, like a volcanic eruption of the type that last ravaged the Yellowstone region tens of thousands of years ago.

The area is far from any road or community, and the park is relatively empty in winter. Swarms of small quakes, including a significant swarm last year, are relatively common.

But at a time when the disastrous earthquake in Haiti on Jan. 12 has refocused global attention on the earth’s immense store of tectonic energy, scientists say that the Yellowstone swarm, if only because of its volume, bears close observation: as of Sunday, there had been 1,608 quakes since Jan. 17.

Full article here


Do geothermal heating projects set off earthquakes?

January 25, 2010

Russia Today
Monday, January 25th, 2010

While the question the title of this article poses might seem like something from out of a Bruce Willis sci-fi action movie, geothermal drilling triggering seismic activity is very much the stuff of reality.

At least according to engineers from around the world, who recently studied a seismic event which occurred in Landau in der Pfalz, Germany. Some experts attributed the minor, 2.7-magnitude earthquake to the “enhanced engineered geothermal system (EGS)” that is providing heat and energy to the city. But engineers working inside the facility claim that the accusations are false. In their humble opinion, the shaking of the ground beneath their boots was nothing more than the routine geological activity according to the rules of Mother Nature.

Geothermal technology is derived by tunneling deep into the Earth’s underground in order to tap into water that is naturally warmed by the earth’s own heat. The water is then pumped up to the surface where it is used as energy to drive turbines that then generate electricity. EGS drilling tech however, goes much deeper into Earth. The massive drills bore through the bedrock and soil to depths of up to 10 kilometers. The enhanced drilling technology seeks to fracture the deep embedded rock and then pull out the heated water, bringing it up to the surface.

The major benefit of the geothermal energy is that, unlike oil or natural gas, it runs clean and is a sustainable green energy source. But does drilling for the energy cause earthquakes?

According to the earthquake experts at the US Geological Survey, seismic events occur when the stress that builds up from underground fault lines is suddenly released. The resulting “shaking of the ground caused by an abrupt shift of rock along a fracture in the Earth,” is what is known as a fault. While deep geothermal drilling is intended to unlock the potentially limitless reserves of heat and heated water from the Earth’s depths, it is the fracturing of the rock that has some engineers concerned about upsetting the Earth’s seismic inclinations, especially if the drilling is occurring too close to a seismic zone.

In a recent article drafted for ENR.COM, a popular trade magazine for engineering professionals, engineers opposed to the proliferation of EGS drilling are claiming that “fracturing the deep rock can cause earthquakes if the fracturing is too close to an active seismic fault zone.”

But Jefferson Tester, an MIT chemical engineering professor, believes that concern over serious earthquakes due to engineered geothermal drilling are unfounded. He backs up his beliefs by pointing out that the oil and natural gas industries have been drilling and fracturing the deep rock for decades without yet triggering a serious seismic event. “Yet” being the key word here.

However, according to Renewable Energy World.Com, it’s these very same engineering professors and experts who have no choice but to admit that “small seismic events known as microearthquakes have been recorded and monitored in the immediate vicinity of some injection sites. These usually have Richter magnitudes of 2 or 3 and are ordinarily imperceptible to people unless they are quite close to the epicenter.” What’s more, it is said that these microearthquakes, although triggered by geothermal drilling, pose no real “significant hazard” to surrounding buildings and infrastructure, be they homes, roads, bridges, commercial high-rises or, as in the case of Landau in der Pfalz, Germany, power plants.

Optimistic professors like Tester who defend geothermal drilling in order to tap into the Earth’s radiant core, are combating the naysayers by publicly cautioning the world against “unbalanced reports”. It is his professional opinion that, despite the microearthquake that occurred in Germany and another in nearby Switzerland, the intensity of the tremors caused by drilling is not “alarming” enough to be considered a damage-causing earthquake.

But one overriding question looms large: how inevitable is it that a so-called microearthquake might one day chain-react into a major earthquake of devastating proportions? With EGS tech becoming more popular and more deep holes being drilled down into the subterranean depths and more bedrock fractured unnaturally, only time and Mother Earth know the answer.

View the original article at Russia Today

Chavez says US ‘weapon’ caused Haiti quake

January 21, 2010

Press TV
Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez Wednesday accused the United States of causing the destruction in Haiti by testing a ‘tectonic weapon’ to induce the catastrophic earthquake that hit the country last week.

President Chavez said the US was “playing God” by testing devices capable of creating eco-type catastrophes, the Spanish newspaper ABC quoted him as saying.

A 7.0-magnitude quake rattled the desperately poor country on January 12, killing an estimated 100,000 to 200,000 people. As Haiti looks to the world for basic sustenance, the authorities say the biggest dangers facing survivors are untreated wounds and rising disease.

Following the quake, appeals for humanitarian aid were responded to globally. However, the nation is struggling with violence and looting as aid is still not enough for the tens of thousands left homeless and injured.

TuneUp Utilities 2010

Chavez said the killer earthquake followed a test of “weapon of earthquakes” just offshore from Haiti. He did not elaborate on the source of his claim.

The outspoken leader had earlier accused the US of occupying Haiti “under the guise of the natural disaster.”

At least 11,000 US troops have been dispatched to the country to provide security for aid distribution efforts.

Venezuelan media have reported that the earthquake “may be associated with the project called HAARP, a system that can generate violent and unexpected changes in climate.”

HAARP, the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, is a study run in Alaska directed at the occasional reconfiguration of the properties of the Earth’s ionosphere to improve satellite communications.

Former US Secretary of Defense William Cohen in 1997 expressed concerned over countries engaging “in eco-type of terrorism whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves.”

View the original article at Press TV

Haiti’s Ground Zero: 30,000 dead and almost every building flattened in town at epicentre of earthquake

January 18, 2010

UK Daily Mail
Monday, January 18th, 2010

Time is running out in the forgotten town which was at the epicentre of the Haiti earthquake.

Leogane has been branded the quake’s ‘ground zero’, with nearly every building flattened and a third of the 100,000 population feared dead.

It is only 12 miles west of the capital Port-au-Prince and had received no aid since last Tuesday’s disaster until a team of 40 British search and rescue workers arrived yesterday.

Frustrated men gathered at the weekend brandishing machetes and clubs, ready to fight for a town they said the world has forgotten.

All along the cracked highway to the blighted town, where 90 per cent of the buildings have been destroyed, people

View the original article at UK Daily Mail

U.S. Troops Heading for Haiti to Boost Security, Aid

January 18, 2010

Justin Blum and Chris Dolmetsch
Monday, January 18th, 2010

More U.S. troops are arriving in Haiti today after the American commander on the ground said that security must be improved to ensure aid reaches survivors of last week’s earthquake.

“We need a safe and secure environment to be successful,” U.S. Southern Command Lieutenant General Ken Keen, who is overseeing relief efforts, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “There is increasing incidents of security and we are going to have to deal with it as we go forward.”

Aid workers are battling street violence and shortages of food, medical supplies after the 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck on Jan. 12, killing more than 100,000 people. Keen said on ABC’s “This Week” an estimate that between 150,000 and 200,000 people may have been killed is “a start point.” The quake affected 3 million people and left 300,000 homeless in Port-au-Prince, according to the United Nations.

Keen said there are 1,000 U.S. troops currently on the ground in Haiti. A further 3,000 other troops are working from ships docked off Haiti’s coast and two additional companies of the 82nd Airborne Division are arriving in addition to Marines aboard the USS Bataan and a Marine landing battalion, the American Forces Press Service said. A total of 7,500 U.S. personnel are scheduled to arrive by today, the U.S. Southern Command said in a statement.

View the original article at Bloomberg

Haiti earthquake: 10,000 US soldiers due as violence on the streets intensifies

January 18, 2010

London Telegraph
Monday, January 18th, 2010

Around 10,000 US soldiers are due to arrive in Haiti to restore order to the streets as desperate earthquake survivors resort to looting and violence while aid struggles to reach them.

Chaos and fear reigned on the streets of the capital Port-au-Prince on Sunday, as many were still waiting for food, water and medicine five days after the disaster decimated the area.

Police opened fire on a group of looters, killing at least one of them, as hundreds of rioters ransacked a supermarket.

One, a man in his 30s, was killed outright by bullets to the head as the crowd grabbed produce in the Marche Hyppolite.

View the original article at London Telegraph

How to Help Haiti

January 18, 2010

Washington’s Blog
Monday, January 18th, 2010

I just donated to the International Medical Corps.

IMC was in Haiti within hours of the earthquake, and has a strong history helping out in previous disasters like the 2005 Pakistan earthquake and the 2009 earthquake in Sumatra.

Unlike some groups that spend much of your donations on administrative costs, the lion’s share of the donations to IMC actually go towards relief. And the group focuses on what is really needed, like food, water filtration supplies, etc.

To donate to relief efforts in Haiti, call 800-481-4462 (24 hours) or click here.

Note: There is much to be written about the threat that the IMF, World Bank and others will try to use “disaster capitalism” to profit from the Haitian crisis. And see this.

There is much to be said about how the U.S. has abused Haiti for centuries and launched a coup against the democratically-elected president of Haiti, helping to plunge the country into instability.

There is much to be discussed about how the U.S. helped make Haiti poor and that – arguably – that poverty led to substandard buildings and poor infrastructure, which made that country vulnerable to a large earthquake.

There are those who ask – given the use of the U.S. military and national guardis it a humanitarian operation or an invasion?

But I also welcome you to donate and help the Haitian people to survive this tragedy, in addition to talking about the bigger political issues.

Note 2: If you are donating through another non-profit group, that is great. I have no connection to IMC, and am only suggesting one good group.

View the original article at Washington’s Blog

Haiti quake death toll may hit 200,000: Minister

January 16, 2010

Press TV
Saturday, January 16th, 2010

Haitian Interior Minister Paul Antoine Bien-Aime say the death toll from a devastating earthquake that hit the nation could reach 200,000.

“We have already collected around 50,000 dead bodies we anticipate there will be between 100,000 and 200,000 dead in total, although we will never know the exact number,” he told Reuters on Friday.

Earlier, Red Cross officials had estimated that up to 50,000 people may have died in Tuesday’s magnitude-7.0 quake.

With thousands of bodies still piled up on the streets of Port au Prince, rotting in the tropical sun, there was also a race against time to reach possible survivors still trapped in the ruins and treat those who were badly injured.

After three days of Haitians being left to fend mostly for themselves in one of the world’s poorest countries, foreign relief teams were increasingly seen on the streets, some backed by vital heavy-lifting equipment.

TuneUp Utilities 2010

View the original article at Press TV

Haitians Illegally in U.S. Given Protected Status

January 16, 2010

NY Times
Saturday, January 16th, 2010

The Obama administration extended a special immigration status on Friday to Haitians living illegally in the United States that protects them from deportation for 18 months and allows them to work here.

Calling the aftermath of the earthquake “a disaster of historic proportions,” the secretary of homeland security, Janet Napolitano, said she was granting the designation, known as temporary protected status, for Haitian immigrants because their safety would be at risk if they were deported.

Administration officials said the special status would cover at least 100,000 Haitians believed to be living in the United States illegally, as well as about 30,000 Haitians who had been ordered deported. Haitians who receive the temporary status will be able to obtain documents allowing them to live here and work legally.

The administration’s decision followed a rising chorus of calls for the temporary status after the earthquake on Tuesday. On Friday, 80 representatives and 18 senators, including Democrats and Republicans, sent appeals to the administration to grant the status, as did the conference of Roman Catholic bishops.

TuneUp Utilities 2010

View the original article at NY Times

The US is failing Haiti – again

January 16, 2010

Patrick Cockburn
UK Independent
Saturday, 16 January 2010

There is nobody to co-ordinate the most rudimentary relief and rescue efforts

The US-run aid effort for Haiti is beginning to look chillingly similar to the criminally slow and disorganised US government support for New Orleans after it was devastated by hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Five years ago President Bush was famously mute and detached when the levees broke in Louisiana. By way of contrast, President Obama was promising Haitians that everything would be done for survivors within hours of the calamity.

The rhetoric from Washington has been very different during these two disasters, but the outcome may be much the same. In both cases very little aid arrived at the time it was most needed and, in the case of Port-au-Prince, when people trapped under collapsed buildings were still alive. When foreign rescue teams with heavy lifting gear does come it will be too late. No wonder enraged Haitians are building roadblocks out of rocks and dead bodies.

In New Orleans and Port-au-Prince there is the same official terror of looting by local people, so the first outside help to arrive is in the shape of armed troops. The US currently has 3,500 soldiers, 2,200 marines and 300 medical personnel on their way to Haiti.

Of course there will be looting because, with shops closed or flattened by the quake, this is the only way for people to get food and water. Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world. I was in Port-au-Prince in 1994, the last time US troops landed there, when local people systematically tore apart police stations, taking wood, pipes and even ripping nails out of the walls. In the police station I was in there were sudden cries of alarm from those looting the top floor as they discovered that they could not get back down to the ground because the entire wooden staircase had been chopped up and stolen.

I have always liked Haitians for their courage, endurance, dignity and originality. They often manage to avoid despair in the face of the most crushing disasters or any prospect that their lives will get better. Their culture, notably their painting and music, is among the most interesting and vibrant in the world.

It is sad to hear journalists who have rushed to Haiti in the wake of the earthquake give such misleading and even racist explanations of why Haitians are so impoverished, living in shanty towns with a minimal health service, little electricity supply, insufficient clean water and roads that are like river beds.

This did not happen by accident. In the 19th century it was as if the colonial powers never forgave Haitians for staging a successful slave revolt against the French plantation owners. US marines occupied the country from 1915 to 1934. Between 1957 and 1986 the US supported Papa Doc and Baby Doc, fearful that they might be replaced by a regime sympathetic to revolutionary Cuba next door.

President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a charismatic populist priest, was overthrown by a military coup in 1991, and restored with US help in 1994. But the Americans were always suspicious of any sign of radicalism from this spokesman for the poor and the outcast and kept him on a tight lead. Tolerated by President Clinton, Aristide was treated as a pariah by the Bush administration which systematically undermined him over three years leading up to a successful rebellion in 2004. That was led by local gangsters acting on behalf of a kleptocratic Haitian elite and supported by members of the Republican Party in the US.

So much of the criticism of President Bush has focused on his wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that his equally culpable actions in Haiti never attracted condemnation. But if the country is a failed state today, partly run by the UN, in so far as it is run by anybody, then American actions over the years have a lot to do with it.

Haitians are now paying the price for this feeble and corrupt government structure because there is nobody to co-ordinate the most rudimentary relief and rescue efforts. Its weakness is exacerbated because aid has been funnelled through foreign NGOs. A justification for this is that less of the money is likely to be stolen, but this does not mean that much of it reaches the Haitian poor. A sour Haitian joke says that when a Haitian minister skims 15 per cent of aid money it is called “corruption” and when an NGO or aid agency takes 50 per cent it is called “overheads”.

Many of the smaller government aid programmes and NGOs are run by able, energetic and selfless people, but others, often the larger ones, are little more than rackets, highly remunerative for those who run them. In Kabul and Baghdad it is astonishing how little the costly endeavours of American aid agencies have accomplished. “The wastage of aid is sky high,” said a former World Bank director in Afghanistan. “There is real looting going on, mostly by private enterprises. It is a scandal.” Foreign consultants in Kabul often receive $250,000 to $500,000 a year, in a country where 43 per cent of the population try to live on less than a dollar a day.

None of this bodes well for Haitians hoping for relief in the short term or a better life in the long one. The only way this will really happen is if the Haitians have a legitimate state capable of providing for the needs of its people. The US military, the UN bureaucracy or foreign NGOs are never going to do this in Haiti or anywhere else.

There is nothing very new in this. Americans often ask why it is that their occupation of Germany and Japan in 1945 succeeded so well but more than half a century later in Iraq and Afghanistan was so disastrous. The answer is that it was not the US but the efficient German and Japanese state machines which restored their countries. Where that machine was weak, as in Italy, the US occupation relied with disastrous results on corrupt and incompetent local elites, much as they do today in Iraq, Afghanistan and Haiti.

Read the original article at the Independent.