What’s up? The Friday links (46)

For me the most important geo news this week was the court decision on the L’Aquila trial on Monday. A local court sentenced six scientists and one official for manslaughter to six years in prison – 2 years more than claimed by the prosecutor. Even though the scientists may not have found the best words to describe the earthquake hazard in L’Aquila, the decision is ridiculous in my opinion and caused an outcry throughout the scientific community. Especially the consequences for any risk assessment and public information might be fatal. I am really concerned. In the following I link to some blog posts that I found particularly interesting:

A paper on the Disaster Response after the L’Aquila earthquake has been publish two years ago:

Alexander, D.E. 2010. The L’Aquila Earthquake of 6 April 2009 and Italian Government Policy on Disaster Response. Journal of Natural Resources Policy Research, 2, 4, 325-342.

One way to support the Italian colleagues could be to sign this online petition at Avaaz.org: Fair trial for the Italian seismologists in L’Aquila. ( I can not judge on how respectable this website is and what impact they have, sorry).

Tectonics and Geodynamics of New Zealand

New Zealand’s tectonic setting is unique and relatively complicated. The Australian Plate and the Pacific Plate collide, but subduction direction changes from North to South Island. Then there’s the Alpine Fault which has an impressive length and is far from being only one straight line. How all these things are connected is explained in a nice video from GNS: Where two tectonic plates collide.

Volcano explosion in slow-motion

Earlier this, year, Santiaguito in Guatemala produced an impressive explosion and an ash column that reached kilometres high plus pyroclastic flows. Now this beautiful video shows the moment of the explosion in slow motion. Awesome.

Mt. St. Helens timelapse

Since we are just into the volcano topic, here’s another great movie. A USGS timelapse video from Mt. St. Helens, showing how the Crater Glacier was deviated by the growth of the lava dome:

Petition against cuts in the EU research budget

If you are worrying about cuts in the European research budget, here’s a petition you can sign, complementing the open letter of 42 European Nobel Laureates and 5 Fields Medallists recently published in the major European newspapers: Secure the EU research budget for a future-oriented EU budget!

A very good tumblr site

Do you already know Research In Progress? If not, have a look. It’s good.

Huge hydrocarbon-filled sinkhole developing in Louisiana

A huge sinkhole is currently developing in Bayou Corne (Assumption Parish), Louisiana. The sinkhole was discovered on 3 August, since 2 October 2012 hydrocarbons appear to leak into the bottom of the cavern. It seems like there is currently no way to counteract this catastrophe. Read more on this story here and check this video:

Unrelated image which I found nice

fossil raindrops

Fossil raindrops (not really, they are quite recent and not likely to be fossilized, but: who knows?) found in Southern Spain (Tabernas desert)

Have a nice weekend!

Who was it?

Christoph Grützner
works at the Neotectonics and Natural Hazards Group, RWTH Aachen University, Germany. He likes the Mediterranean and uses geophysics to search for ancient earthquakes.