Archive | Disastrous

Drill and Quake

One more reason why I’m not too thrilled about the natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale. Our state sits on granite, and there happens to be a fairly large earthquake fault. Because of the granite, it has the potential for much more serious damage:

Saltwater pumped deep into the earth in a natural gas mining operation offers a “plausible,” though not definitive, explanation for small earthquakes in Texas in 2008 and 2009, scientists say.
On Oct. 31, 2008, small (magnitude 3.0) tremblors shook homes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Similar shakes (3.3) occurred again last May.

“The earthquakes were right in our backyard, and quakes don’t happen too often in Texas,” says seismologist Brian Stump of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, senior author on a Leading Edge journal study. “We usually only get small ones.”

Some suspicions centered on wells involved in “hydraulic fracturing” of shale layers in Texas and elsewhere. The shale is cracked by injections of high-pressure water, loaded with sand, to free natural gas trapped within. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that 200 trillion cubic feet of natural gas may reside in shales nationwide.

Tsunami Alert

Tsunami update:

About one hour ago, Reuters reported that a bulletin from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said: “Urgent action should be taken to protect lives and property.” The warning also noted: “All shores are at risk no matter which direction they face.”

Live stream from Hawaii here.

The news agency reported:

Geophysicist Victor Sardina said the Hawaii-based center was urging all countries included the warning to take the threat very seriously. “Everybody is under a warning because the wave, we know, is on its way. Everybody is at risk now,” he said in a telephone interview. […]

The center estimates the first tsunami, which is a series of several waves in succession, will hit Hawaii at 11:19 a.m. Hawaii time (4:19 p.m. EST). Sardina said the Hawaiian islands could expect waves of six feet (two meters) in some places. Other estimates have been higher but he could not confirm those were likely.

Sardina said the center was looking at Hilo Bay on Hawaii Island as a worst-case scenario right now.

The center’s latest alert also said that certain areas were unlikely to be affected, noting:


Killer Quake

UPDATE for my Hawaii readers: Hawaii is expected to get hit by the tsunami around 4pm est and they are predicting the first wave to be about 6 meters.

Horrible. I’m trying to remember if there ever was an 8.8 in living memory. This is about 700 times stronger than the Haitian quake:

A massive 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck central Chile early Saturday, killing at least 78 people, collapsing buildings and setting off a tsunami.

A huge wave reached a populated area in the Robinson Crusoe Islands, 410 miles (660 kilometers) off the Chilean coast, said President Michele Bacelete.

Tsunami warnings were issued over a wide area, including South America, Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand, Japan, the Philippines, Russia and many Pacific islands.

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AFP/Getty Images

A meteorologist monitors the tsunami situation from his computer in Taiwan’s central weather bureau after a 8.8-magnitude quake struck Chile on Feb. 27

“It has been a devastating earthquake,” Interior Minister Edmundo Perez Yoma told reporters.

Ms. Bachelet said the death toll was at 78 and rising, but officials had no information on the number of people injured. She declared a “state of catastrophe” in central Chile.

“We have had a huge earthquake, with some aftershocks,” Ms. Bachelet said from an emergency response center. She urged Chileans not to panic.

“Despite this, the system is functioning. People should remain calm. We’re doing everything we can with all the forces we have. Any information we will share immediately,” she said.

In the 2 ½ hours following the 90-second quake, the U.S. Geological Survey reported 11 aftershocks, five of them measuring 6.0 or above.

Useful Tip

Here’s something I’ve learned the hard way: When you have a lot of snow mixed with rain, leave your driver’s side door unlocked. You might not be able to unlock it later.


The really heavy snow moves in tonight:

In light of high levels of snow already collected on homes and other structures, mid-Atlantic residents should keep in mind dangers the weight of snow presents.

The torrential rainfall mixing with snow in areas that do not receive new snowfall will provide the greatest danger.

“With temperatures close to freezing in areas that have seen the heaviest snowfall, that could be the biggest concern,” said Senior Meteorologist Alan Reppert.

Of additional concern is the high winds, which can cause significant drifting of snow. That can cause uneven amounts on rooftops and lead to structures to collapse.

Winds of 20-40 mph with gusts exceeding 60 mph in spots are forecast for a wide area of the East, from Ohio eastward to Maine and down along the Atlantic coast to North Carolina.

All I know is, if I hear anything that sounds suspicious, I’m out of here.

S’No Joke

Tomorrow night, we’re either getting 2-4″ of fresh snow – or 6-12″. With our recent run of snow luck, guess which one I’m betting on?

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