Tag Archives: new zealand

‘Slow Slip’ Earthquakes’ Hidden Mechanics Revealed

AUSTIN,
Texas — Slow slip earthquakes, a type of slow motion tremor, have
been detected at many of the world’s earthquake hotspots, including
those found around the Pacific Ring of Fire, but it is unclear how
they are connected to the damaging quakes that occur there.
Scientists at The University of Texas at Austin have now revealed the
earthquakes’ inner workings using seismic CT scans and
supercomputers to examine a region off the coast of New Zealand known
to produce them.
(more…)

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Bent rail tracks after a New Zealand earthquake

On 4 September 2010, a powerful 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck the South Island of New Zealand near Christchurch. The earthquake’s epicentre was 40 kilometres (25 mi) west of Christchurch, near the town of Darfield. Its known as the Canterbury earthquake or Darfield earthquake. The massive earthquake distorted railroad tracks that crossed the fault line near Rolleston.

(more…)

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World’s Shallowest Slow-Motion Earthquakes Detected Off New Zealand’s Coast

AUSTIN, Texas — Research published in the May 6 edition of Science indicates that slow-motion earthquakes or “slow-slip events” can rupture the shallow portion of a fault that also moves in large, tsunami-generating earthquakes. The finding has important implications for assessing tsunami hazards. The discovery was made by conducting the first-ever detailed investigation of centimeter-level seafloor movement at an offshore subduction zone. (more…)

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Oso disaster had its roots in earlier landslides

The disastrous March 22 landslide that killed 43 people in the rural Washington state community of Oso involved the “remobilization” of a 2006 landslide on the same hillside, a new federally sponsored geological study concludes.

The research indicates the landslide, the deadliest in U.S. history, happened in two major stages. The first stage remobilized the 2006 slide, including part of an adjacent forested slope from an ancient slide, and was made up largely or entirely of deposits from previous landslides. The first stage ultimately moved more than six-tenths of a mile across the north fork of the Stillaguamish River and caused nearly all the destruction in the Steelhead Haven neighborhood. (more…)

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Soil production breaks geologic speed record

Geologic time is shorthand for slow-paced. But new measurements from steep mountaintops in New Zealand shows that rock can transform into soil more than twice as fast as previously believed possible.

The findings were published Jan. 16 in the early online edition of Science. (more…)

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‘Life as Research Scientist’: Jo Varner, Biologist

Jo Varner, University of Utah biology doctoral student, is currently conducting research on how small mammals like Pikas are coping with Earth’s warming climate. Her study is concentrated on Pikas in the Columbia River Gorge area in the U.S, which is an unusual habitat for this species. Recently we had the opportunity to talk to Miss Varner about her research, why it is important and how life as a research scientist is. Here is what we learned from Miss Jo Varner:

Q. Let us start with your research topic. What is your research area? Will you please tell us a bit more on this? What did you find?

Jo Varner: Glad to talk with you! Broadly, I am interested in how climate change is impacting animals, particularly in sensitive environments like the high mountains. Specifically, I am working with American pikas, which are a small mammal closely related to rabbits. Pikas are typically restricted to high elevation mountains in western North America. They appear to be very sensitive to climate change in parts of their range, but in other parts they seem to be less vulnerable. (more…)

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With Fewer Hard Frosts, Tropical Mangroves Push North

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Cold-sensitive mangrove forests have expanded dramatically along Florida’s Atlantic Coast as the frequency of killing frosts has declined, according to a new study based on 28 years of satellite data from the University of Maryland and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, Md.

Between 1984 and 2011, the Florida Atlantic coast from the Miami area northward gained more than 3,000 acres (1,240 hectares) of mangroves. All the increase occurred north of Palm Beach County. Between Cape Canaveral National Seashore and Saint Augustine, mangroves doubled in area. Meanwhile between the study’s first five years and its last five years, nearby Daytona Beach recorded 1.4 fewer days per year when temperatures fell below 28.4 degrees Fahrenheit (-4 degrees Celsius). The number of killing frosts in southern Florida was unchanged. (more…)

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Oldest existing lizard-like fossil hints at scaly origins

The fossilised remains of a reptile closely related to lizards are the oldest yet to be discovered.

Two new fossil jaws discovered in Vellberg, Germany provide the first direct evidence that the ancestors of lizards, snakes and tuatara (known collectively as lepidosaurs), were alive during the Middle Triassic period – around 240 million years ago.

The new fossil finds predate all other lepidosaur records by 12 million years. The findings are published in BMC Evolutionary Biology. (more…)

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