Monday, February 2, 2009

Indian Ocean due huge quake 'in next 30 years'

Indian Ocean due huge quake 'in next 30 years'

JAKARTA] The Indian Ocean could be due another massive earthquake within the next 30 years — one that could rival the magnitude of the one that caused the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004.

Researchers made the prediction after studying corals, which show rings of growth from which past sea levels can be inferred. Earthquakes push the land up, depressing the sea level in the area and preventing corals from growing upwards. Sea levels then rise as the land subsides, leaving the history of the earthquake imprinted in the coral growth patterns.

The scientists analysed coral growth over the last 700 years in the shallow reefs along the 700-kilometre 'Sunda megathrust' fault — a boundary between tectonic plates off the Mentawai islands in western Sumatra, Indonesia.

This section of the Sunda fault had been inactive for at least 50 years until a magnitude 8.4 earthquake in September 2007. Using the coral data the scientists found three previous sets of large earthquakes. If the cycles continue to be consistent — beginning every 200 years — the next earthquake is due within the next few decades.

Danny H. Natawidjaja, an author of the paper and a senior researcher at the Research Center for Geotechnology of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, told SciDev.Net the probability of a large earthquake in western Sumatra in the next 30 years is more than 70 per cent. MORE


Results Are In: Great Southern California ShakeOut Successful, Sets U.S. Record!

Los Angeles - It's working! On November 13, 2008 more than 5.47 million people in southern California participated in The Great Southern California ShakeOut, now officially the largest earthquake drill in the Nation's history - and according to some community leaders, a success that should be practiced every year.

"This is the best single effort in emergency preparedness in my nearly 20 years in the business," wrote Mike Martinet, Executive Director, South Bay Office of Disaster Management (Area G). "I hope that we can continue to use this scenario or some variations thereof for years to come."
The Great Southern California ShakeOut was a week of events, including the drill, all based on the 7.8 Magnitude San Andreas Fault earthquake scenario.

All the resources, tools and information are still readily available at Much of the concept and organization came out of the Earthquake Country Alliance, a public-private partnership, which includes the US Geological Survey, Southern California Earthquake Center, California Office of Emergency Services, Caltech, State Farm, City of Los Angeles, Art Center College of Design, and many other partners.

When organizers of The ShakeOut concluded the historic week of earthquake preparedness events, including millions taking part in the "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" drill, they convened a meeting of emergency managers and community leaders to examine value of the effort. When asked what could be done better, the participants overwhelmingly supported the idea of turning it into an annual day or week of disaster preparedness activities.

"We didn't know when we set out to do this, if anyone would participate," said Lucy Jones, Chief Scientist of the USGS Multi-Hazards Demonstration Project. "They did, and we're now getting calls to do something annually."

The requests to continue the effort have been so constant over the past month that the Earthquake Country Alliance has agreed to look into expanding into a statewide organization. "We certainly have heard many ideas of how we can get more people involved - and we'd like to do just that!" said Mark Benthien, Executive Director of the Earthquake Country Alliance and Outreach Director for the Southern California Earthquake Center. "We hope that an annual ShakeOut-like drill will be part of an expanded statewide earthquake awareness program for many years." MORE


Abandoned Vessels: Threat to Nigeria’s Maritime

About 90 per cent of world trade is facilitated through seas and oceans. The case of Nigeria is not exceptional. However, incessant pirate attacks have constituted major threat to the country’s maritime trade and investment. Shipwrecks and abandoned vessels on the nation’s territorial waters have been identified as another risk to huge maritime investments.

Gboyega Akinsanmi writes Nigeria’s waters are replete with all manners of obstacles that threaten maritime investment. Aside from incessant pirate cases, her territorial waters are clogged and littered with shipwrecks and abandoned vessels. There was little or no effort geared at clearing the country’s waterways and maritime routes to ensure free movement of vessels and safe investment in the entire area.This, according to experts, has a lot of implications for maritime investment and trade.

It hinders free movement of vessels with potential to cause ship mishap, thus leading to loss of lives, cargoes and multi-billion investments. If continued, it portends unsafe and unsecured maritime routes against the best practice, and Nigeria will definitely so much incur loss in revenue.Also, shipwrecks on Nigeria’s waters provide hideouts for criminals in the country. For instance, abandoned vessels have constituted base for pirates, sea robbers and miscreants to attack legitimate vessel operators and fishing trawlers. This has threatened vessels, maritime trade and investment worth of several billions of dollars. Fishing trawlers have lost about N25 billion to piracy and sea robberies.

The clog on Nigeria’s maritime routes and waterways is increasing concerns and fears of investment in the maritime sector. Like other maritime actors and stakeholders, the management of Nigerdock Nigeria Plc expressed profound worries about heaps of shipwrecks and abandoned vessels on the maritime routes and waterways because they provide hideouts for pirates and sea robbers. MORE