State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Category: Natural Disasters62

  • Earthquake Research Vessel Reaches Haiti Coast

    Scientists aboard the U.S. research vessel Endeavor and collaborators ashore have just arrived on the coast of Haiti to start a 20-day survey of that will assess the history and potential continued threat of earthquakes there. (Read the full story of the project, involving the Earth Institute and other major institutions.) Chief scientist Cecilia McHugh of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory…

  • Risks and Rewards: funding a technical earthquake response

    A rapid technical response to the damaging earthquakes in Malawi produces both humanitarian and scientific benefits, and we hoped that both scientific and international assistance agencies would support our effort. Our seismic field effort serves two purposes: (1) to provide badly needed seismic equipment and technical training to the Malawi Geological Survey department (MGSD); and…

  • Some Thoughts About Dust, Rio Gallegos

    I’ve been to Stewart Island, off the southern tip of New Zealand, but I’m pretty sure this is the furthest south I’ve been. Cool! We’re here in Rio Gallegos. We’ve just rendezvoused with Dr. Jay Quade, a geologist from the University of Arizona, and his wife Barbara. We’ve got two cars, a bunch of boxes…

  • Assessing Continuing Quake Risks, by Sea

    This week U.S. and Haitian scientists will start a 20-day research cruise off Haiti to address urgent questions about the workings of the great Jan. 12 earthquake, and the possibility of continuing threats. They hope to gather sonar images, sediments and other evidence from the seafloor that might reveal hidden structures, how they have moved,…

  • Climate Risks and Haiti

    As Haitians struggle to rebuild their country after January’s devastating earthquake, they face added risks, related to climate.  Currently, about 1.2 million Haitians are without proper shelter, and an additional 470,000 have been displaced from their homes, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (latest updates). This leaves them vulnerable to storms and extreme…

  • High, Dry and Safe: In Search of the Perfect Site

    The ideal spot for a seismic station is dry, quiet and safe from vandals and thieves. Seismometers record slight ground motions, allowing them to hear distant (and not so distant) earthquakes. But cars or even kids playing near a seismic station can produce ground vibrations that overwhelm the subtle sounds of earthquakes. Seismic stations include…

  • A Rough Start

    The magnitude 6.0 earthquake that struck Malawi on Saturday night, December 19, spurred us into action. We had been closely following the earthquakes there, but this one confirmed the unusual nature of the seismic sequence. It also happened to be the most destructive. Leonard Kalindekafe, director of Malawi’s Geological Survey, asked us to come and…

  • Temporary Seismic Networks Can Help Developing Nations Pinpoint Quakes

    Earthquakes can be devastating, as Haiti has shown. They can trigger tsunamis, like the one in Indonesia in 2004, and create enough ground shaking to topple buildings. Aftershocks can prevent people from returning to their homes for weeks, even months. The immediate response to a natural disaster is to search for those lost, treat the…

  • Continental Breakup in East Africa

    Africa is ripping apart along a 4,000 kilometer seam called the East Africa Rift, which stretches from the Red Sea to Mozambique. This huge continental tear started in the north about 25 million years ago and has been gradually unzipping to the south, with rifting in Malawi starting about 10 million years ago. Breaking up…

  • Earthquake Research Vessel Reaches Haiti Coast

    Scientists aboard the U.S. research vessel Endeavor and collaborators ashore have just arrived on the coast of Haiti to start a 20-day survey of that will assess the history and potential continued threat of earthquakes there. (Read the full story of the project, involving the Earth Institute and other major institutions.) Chief scientist Cecilia McHugh of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory…

  • Risks and Rewards: funding a technical earthquake response

    A rapid technical response to the damaging earthquakes in Malawi produces both humanitarian and scientific benefits, and we hoped that both scientific and international assistance agencies would support our effort. Our seismic field effort serves two purposes: (1) to provide badly needed seismic equipment and technical training to the Malawi Geological Survey department (MGSD); and…

  • Some Thoughts About Dust, Rio Gallegos

    I’ve been to Stewart Island, off the southern tip of New Zealand, but I’m pretty sure this is the furthest south I’ve been. Cool! We’re here in Rio Gallegos. We’ve just rendezvoused with Dr. Jay Quade, a geologist from the University of Arizona, and his wife Barbara. We’ve got two cars, a bunch of boxes…

  • Assessing Continuing Quake Risks, by Sea

    This week U.S. and Haitian scientists will start a 20-day research cruise off Haiti to address urgent questions about the workings of the great Jan. 12 earthquake, and the possibility of continuing threats. They hope to gather sonar images, sediments and other evidence from the seafloor that might reveal hidden structures, how they have moved,…

  • Climate Risks and Haiti

    As Haitians struggle to rebuild their country after January’s devastating earthquake, they face added risks, related to climate.  Currently, about 1.2 million Haitians are without proper shelter, and an additional 470,000 have been displaced from their homes, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (latest updates). This leaves them vulnerable to storms and extreme…

  • High, Dry and Safe: In Search of the Perfect Site

    The ideal spot for a seismic station is dry, quiet and safe from vandals and thieves. Seismometers record slight ground motions, allowing them to hear distant (and not so distant) earthquakes. But cars or even kids playing near a seismic station can produce ground vibrations that overwhelm the subtle sounds of earthquakes. Seismic stations include…

  • A Rough Start

    The magnitude 6.0 earthquake that struck Malawi on Saturday night, December 19, spurred us into action. We had been closely following the earthquakes there, but this one confirmed the unusual nature of the seismic sequence. It also happened to be the most destructive. Leonard Kalindekafe, director of Malawi’s Geological Survey, asked us to come and…

  • Temporary Seismic Networks Can Help Developing Nations Pinpoint Quakes

    Earthquakes can be devastating, as Haiti has shown. They can trigger tsunamis, like the one in Indonesia in 2004, and create enough ground shaking to topple buildings. Aftershocks can prevent people from returning to their homes for weeks, even months. The immediate response to a natural disaster is to search for those lost, treat the…

  • Continental Breakup in East Africa

    Africa is ripping apart along a 4,000 kilometer seam called the East Africa Rift, which stretches from the Red Sea to Mozambique. This huge continental tear started in the north about 25 million years ago and has been gradually unzipping to the south, with rifting in Malawi starting about 10 million years ago. Breaking up…