Geo-archaeologist: Tsunami Could Hit Israel

2 11 2009

Ancient medieval port at Caesarea ©State of IsraelOy.

“There is a likely chance of tsunami waves reaching the shores of Israel,” says Dr. Beverly Goodman of the Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences at the University of Haifa following an encompassing geo-archaeological study at the port of Caesarea. “Tsunami events in the Mediterranean do occur less frequently than in the Pacific Ocean, but our findings reveal a moderate rate of recurrence,” she says.

Dr. Goodman, an expert geo-archaeologist, exposed geological evidence of this by chance. Her original intentions in Caesarea were to assist in research at the ancient port and at offshore shipwrecks.

“We expected to find the remains of ships, but were surprised to reveal unusual geological layers the likes of which we had never seen in the region before. We began underwater drilling assuming that these are simply local layers related to the construction of the port. However, we discovered that they are spread along the entire area and realized that we had found something major,” she explains.

Read the full article at Science Daily.


Caesarea: The Roman aqueduct ©State of Israel

Journal reference: Beverly N. Goodman-Tchernov, Hendrik W. Dey, Eduard G. Reinhardt, Floyd McCoy, and Yossi Mart. Tsunami waves generated by the Santorini eruption reached Eastern Mediterranean shores. Geology, 2009; 37 (10): 943 DOI: 10.1130/G25704A.1

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Major Earthquake Hits Java

2 09 2009

A magnitude 7.0 earthquake caused dozens of buildings to  collapse in the city of Tasikmalaya, in Java, Indonesia,  and injuring a number of people, according to one report.

The quake, which occured at at 2:55 p.m, also damaged buildings in the university city of Bandung near the epicentre, but there were no reports of any deaths.

In the capital Jakarta hundreds of people streamed from offices into the streets, according to agency reports.

The US Geological Survey lowered its magnitude reading from 7.4 to 7.0 and local tsunami warnings were withdrawn.

Source: BBC and

Powerful quakes in Japan and Indian Ocean

11 08 2009

Earthquakes struck both Japan and India on August 10, 2009. Although tsunami warnings were initially announced they were later recscinded.

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Obama’s Nominates First Woman to Head USGS

13 07 2009

President Barack Obama on Thursday announced he will nominate Marcia McNutt, president and CEO of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, as director of the U.S. Geological Survey. If confirmed, McNutt would become the first female director since USGS was established in 1879 to lead research into earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, coastal erosion and the effects of global warming on water resources and land forms.

The president has also nominated Jonathan Jarvis, currently the Pacific West regional director for National Park Service, with authority over parks in California and eight other Western states and territories.

Californians note that McNutt and Jarvis are among several scientists with state ties tapped by the President for key positions at major federal research agencies. Steven Chu, the Nobel prizewinning physicist who headed the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, is now Secretary of Energy. John Holdren, former director of UC Berkeley’s energy and resources group, is the president’s chief science adviser. Jane Lubchenco, a renowned ecologist from Oregon State University and a board member of McNutt’s institute, is the new director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

McNutt is a certified SCUBA diver who once completed underwater explosives training with Navy SEALS for her geologic research, and has published more than 90 scientific articles, ranging from studies of ocean island volcanism in French Polynesia to continental breakup in the western United States to uplift of the Tibet Plateau.

She will succeed USGS director Mark Meyers, a former oil company geologist in Alaska appointed by George W. Bush and known for limiting public release of information by Survey scientists who work in controversial fields like climate change.

Jarvis, if confirmed, will oversee an agency that manages 84.6 million acres of U.S. land, including 58 national parks, 54 wilderness areas, 10 national seashores, and a long list of lakes, battlefields, trails and campgrounds.

Sources: SFGate (David Perlman, Peter Fimrite & Staff Writers) and Mercury News (Paul Rogers)

Fossil Friday- Giant Trilobites from Portugal

23 05 2009

“It was THIS big.”

Geological Adventures Examiner: Fossil Friday- giant trilobites from Portugal

Recently we reported on Isotelus rex being the largest of the trilobites. Now it appears it may have been dethroned. Recent finds published in the journal Geology tell of more giant trilobites from Portugal. Fossils of Ogyginus forteyi and Hungioides bohemicus are found in slabs of rock from a slate quarry in groups numbering in the thousands. Most of the specimens are over 30 centimeters (1 foot).
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Beware of Trilobites Yard Sign. Don't be caught unaware or become the victim of pesky liability suits due to marauding trilos on your property!

Beware of Trilobites Yard Sign. Don't be caught unaware or become the victim of pesky liability suits due to marauding trilos on your property!

So Whose Fault Is This?

19 05 2009

I am not thrilled about this map. It shows that I am living way too close to the Newport-Inglewood fault. I never even heard of the Newport-Inglewood fault until last night, when it rudely made it’s presence known with a 4.7 shake-up call. I was blithely twittering away when the earthquake hit . “Earthquake!!!” I twittered with an inexplicable urgency of having to be the first person on Twitter to tweet the quake, “RIGHT NOW,” as my chair wiggled left and right.

The Los Angeles Time reports that  “Seismologists suspect that the magnitude-4.7 earthquake erupted along the Newport-Inglewood fault, which experts have long feared would produce a devastating temblor. More recent research has shown that, instead, it is of less concern …” ok up to there it sounds ok but then : “and only capable of up to about [magnitude] 7.4.”

Excuse me, “only” 7.4?! Only?! Only as compared to what, an asteroid hitting the earth? Maybe someone can explain to me how 7.4 is of less concern, because that sounds pretty devastating to me.

The earthquake began at 8:39 p.m. on Sunday, May 17, and lasted about 15 seconds.

Shale Ale Toasts 100 Years Since Fossil Discovery

2 05 2009

Are you a dino wino? Could you go for some gneiss on ice or get pissed on schist?  If so, you might enjoy Shale Ale.

The just-launched brew celebrates the 100th anniversary of the shale discovery on Mount Burgess, in Yoho Park, British Columbia, site of the world’s most important fossil animals.

shale-ale-labelThe limited edition beer celebrates the Burgess Shale Geoscience Foundation (the BSGF) and is being manufactured by Big Rock Brewery, Canada’s leading craft brewer.

Made exclusively for BSGF’s special events, the Shale Ale label depicts the Dr. Charles Doolittle Walcott, who discovered the site, surrounded by the 505-million-year-old Burgess Shale fossils, famous for their amazing diversity, bizarre life forms, and out-of-this-world appendages.

Shale Ale will be launched at the GeoConvention Gala of the annual technical convention of the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists, the Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysicists and the Canadian Well Logging Society, to the estimated 4,000 geologically savvy attendees.

Some more on the fossils at Burgess (via the BSGF website):

Discovered in 1909 in Yoho National Park by Charles D. Walcott, the Burgess Shale not only challenges the evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin, but provides a glimpse of what life was like on Earth – 505 million years ago!

Just imagine…

  • The 5-eyed Opabinia, with an elephant-like trunk with fierce claw at its end… or
  • The strange Dinomischus, looking more like a flower than an animal… or
  • Anomalocaris, the largest of these ancient animals, and terror of the Cambrian seas… or
  • A beautiful Marrella, the “lace crab”, and most common fossil in the Walcott quarry… or
  • The modest Pikaia, looking like a worm, but in fact a primitive chordate, and our oldest known ancestor!

Um, five eyes and an elephant-like trunk with fierce claw at its end?  I’ll have that drink now!

Cheers to the Burgess Shale Geoscience Foundation!

(Via Marketwire — Burgess Shale Geoscience Foundation)