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Magnitude 4.1 Earthquake in South Carolina, February 14, 2014

An unusual event in South Carolina just occurred, a magnitude 4.1 event.  At the present time, there is no reason to think this is anything but a relatively rare event.  However, it should also be recalled that Charleston, South Carolina was destroyed by a major earthquake on August 31, 1886.  Estimates place the magnitude in excess of 7, possibly as large as 7.3 moment magnitude.  So while unusual, earthquakes are not unknown in this area. 

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Lectures on Natural Disasters

Check out the course I am teaching this winter quarter at the University of California, Davis, California.  Weekly commentary is here.  The lectures can be found in power point form here.  The lectures are by and large taken from material in Wikipedia.

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California is in a Record Drought, Britain has Record Floods

A headline in USA Today proclaims that "Britain's Flood Crisis Deepens, Thames Bursts its Banks".  Meanwhile California is in the midst of a record drought, recent rains notwithstanding.  While not necessarily the result of global warming, the historic conditions in different parts of the globe remind us that disasters can come in many forms, not just earthquakes or typhoons.  The economic damages from t

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Alaska Earthquake and Tsunami: 50 years on

March 27, 2014 marks the 50-th anniversary of the Great Alaska Earthquake and Tsunami.  Although perhaps not an occasion for cake and ice cream, it certainly is an occasion for thought regarding both historical and future earthquake disasters. Who can say, 50 years from now we might be reminiscing about the Great Cascadia Earthquake and Tsunami of 2015.    

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Eruption at Mt. Sinabung, Indonesia

This term as I teach the course on risk and natural disasters, I am using the social site to store the lectures, as well as to report on disasters occurring during this period of time.  The eruption of Mt. Sinabung on Northern Sumatra is the most damaging event at the moment.

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Yangtze Tsunami

Have you ever heard of China’s Three Gorges Dam? That’s that mega project intended to control the Yangtze River.  At 1.3 miles long, 610 feet high, and possessing the hydroelectric capacity of eleven Hoover Dams, the thing is sometimes called “China’s Other Great Wall”.

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American Geophysical Union Meeting

Not much blogging this week.  I am at the annual AGU meeting in San Francisco.  I blogged about this some time ago.  It is the major meeting in our field.  My first was in the fall of 1974.  I got off the elevator at the mezzanine level of the old Jack Tar hotel and I saw a huge crowd -- maybe 300 scientists.  That was 39 years ago.  The meeting this week has over 25,000 attendees.  It fills pretty much the entire Moscone center in San Francisco.  Quite a change!  Many great talks on earthquakes, climate change, typhoons, and other disasters.

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A Course on Disasters

This coming winter quarter at UC Davis, I will be teaching a course on disasters.  Because most of the books on this subject cost well over $100 US, and even over $150 US, I decided to produce an online course from sources at Wikipedia pages and various US government sources.  Since these are subject to common use licenses, reproducing subject matter from those courses is within the varous terms of use restrictions.  I will be making the lectures openly available here.  Interested students and faculty can feel free to us

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The 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season: Why so few Storms?

As some may recall, the 2013 Hurricane season was expected to see an above average number of storms.  However, this season saw the fewest number of storms and severe storms in decades.  Some possible reasons are discussed here.

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Thanksgiving Week Storm on the US East Coast, 2013

The week before Thanksgiving in the United States is usually a time when many people travel to return home to family and friends.  Last week a major storm threatened to disrupt these travel plans, but fortunately did not to any great extent.  Animation of this weather event was captured by the NASA GOES East satellite as below.  Further details can be found here.

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