Category Archives: science

Kumamoto Earthquakes (熊本地震)

Wall cracked after the magnitude 7.3 earthquake.

Wall cracked after the magnitude 7.3 earthquake.

Kumamoto, a place that I consider to be my second home, has been hit by a barrage of earthquakes. It is one thing to go through one major earthquake, but Kumamoto was hit by four earthquakes measuring higher than magnitude 5.5 over two days. Just over a week on, and the frequency of earthquakes has diminished. There has been over 1000 earthquakes that were measurable in the  Japanese shindo (shaking) scale (1-7) since the first one on the evening of April 14th. Both the the first earthquake and the major magnitude 7 earthquake had a peak shindo rating of 7. Only a handful of earthquakes in Japan have reached this quantification since they started using it in 1923.

I have to admit, as someone who has spent a lot of time studying geophysics, including earthquake seismology, I did want to experience what a big earthquake is like. After the first one, I found out. It was like being in the box of a mosh pit. It feels like people are pushing you around in all different directions. We were on the second floor of an apartment, which may have amplified this kind of feeling. I’ll admit, it was kind of exciting. After the second big earthquake (about half an hour later), I was kind of thinking that I could do without feeling more earthquakes. By the time that one came, we were outdoors in an open parking lot. Continue reading

Primer: Ice on the Earth’s surface

In front of the Fox Glacier, New Zealand

In front of the Fox Glacier, New Zealand

I started this blog to be able to share what I do with the world, in a way that is hopefully accessible to everyone! First though, I should introduce the subjects that I am interested in. The first topic I am tackling is “ice on the Earth’s surface”. Reading the reactions to news stories of climate change, there seems to be a lot of confusion regarding ice. One of the problems is that the huge quantities of ice that exist on the Earth’s surface are very far away from populated area. This means it is hard for people to envision what the changes in the cryosphere (the frozen areas of the Earth) means to them. So here we go. Continue reading