Geologist Abroad: Tungurahua, Ecuador

After nearly a week, the unrest of “Mama” Tungurahua has become evident in the city of Quito, in the form a a thin film of volcanic ash. It’s most visible on cars, not unlike the road salt that covers cars back in Ohio. But this accumulation come comes from the thick haze across the valleys of the Inter Andean region of Ecuador.

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GEOS 111: Earthquake Mitigation

Earthquake mitigation is the measures taken to help reduce the severity of damage caused by earthquakes to life, property, and the environment. Typically, “earthquake disaster mitigation” refers to interventions to strengthen the built environment while “earthquake protection” refers to human, social and administrative aspects of reducing earthquake effects.

At home there are five precautions families can take to prevent the risk of earthquakes.

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GEOS 111: Necessary Cleanup on Navajo Nation to Help Restore Lands

As of recently, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced its approval of plans to restore lands in the Northeast Church Rock Mine in New Mexico, “the largest and highest priority uranium mine on the Navajo Nation.”  This said location was used as a uranium ore mine from 1967 to 1992. This is not the first time that the EPA has committed to helping restore the contaminated soil.

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GEOS 211: Discovery of Evidence for Great Cascadia Earthquakes

Though the event shocked much of the world, the March 11 earthquake in Japan should have not come as such a big surprise in the eyes of geologists.  Evidence shows that “the entire subduction zone along the Japan Trench behaves as one enormous unit rather than segmented sections that rupture with different frequencies and strengths” [Suwa et al., 2006].

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GEOS 111 – Virginia Earthquake 2011

This year, August 23, the Central Virginia Seismic Zone released an earthquake due to reverse faulting on a north-northeast striking plane. In 1875, the largest historical shock from this region occurred.  Since the 18th century, the Central Virginia Seismic Zone has experienced small to moderate earthquakes.


The 2011 earthquake struck 40 miles northwest of Richmond, Virginia.

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GEOS 111: Uranium Mining on Arizona Strip Against Better Judgement

On September 7th at the Washington County Administration Building the Arizona-Utah Local Economic Coalition held a hearing co-chaired by Washington and Mohave County Commissioners. The hearing was meant to discuss plans for the Arizona Strip, proposed by Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior. At the hearing, arguments were heard for and against Salazar’s proposal “to close one million acres of the Arizona Strip to multiple use for the next 20 years” (Kessler).

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When geosciences in the media goes wrong

A friend of mine pointed out to me via Twitter a post on BBC Earth’s blog titled “10 deadly animals you wouldn’t want to meet”. Now, as usual this is one of those tedious article with no facts and mostly “back of the cereal box” information. However, #8 did get my attention:

8. Lava Lake. There are 5 lava lakes in the world and with a temperature of over 11,000 degrees Celsius, it’s no place for a swim.

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The Great East Coast Earthquake of 2011 Part 2: Views from Mineral, VA

It seems that after Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene came blasting up the eastern seaboard, the great East Coast earthquake of 2011 has been forgotten. Luckily, we’re still getting images of some of the damage from the M5.8 earthquake – and we’re still experiencing aftershocks from the event (although no where near as powerful).

Longtime Denison employee Lyn Boone (who retired in 2010), sent me some images that her brother sent from Mineral, Virginia, the epicenter of the earthquake.

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