Taxonomy term

natural hazards

Highlights of 2010: Definitive statements: a new trend?

“This is the way it was.” Or: “This is what is happening.” Hmmm. Scientists don’t usually make such definitive statements, given that in science, there are almost always caveats. Yet in the last year, such statements have been issued by several large groups of scientists who have come together to support a certain point of view. Are scientists feeling the need to dig in their heels because of public pressures? Or are we actually reaching some consensus?

10 Dec 2010

Voices: Geologists on the wrong side of the law

We live in a litigious society. Engineering and environmental geologists are no strangers to the legal system. They frequently deal with issues relating to geologic hazards such as active faults and unstable ground, the release of contaminants into the environment and numerous other circumstances. But for the most part, geoscientists tend to avoid legal battles. Is that changing?

03 Dec 2010

Hazardous Living: Bringing down the house at Pompeii

Heavy rains last week caused the roof of a 2,000-year-old frescoed house at Pompeii to crash in, much to the dismay of the Italian government. The house, thought to have been erected just before Vesuvius buried Pompeii under six meters of ash in A.D. 79, was outside an amphitheatre and had been used by gladiators before going into battle. According to an Associated Press story, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano called the cave-in a "disgrace for Italy," and he demanded an explanation.

11 Nov 2010

Tsunami kills hundreds in Indonesia

Updated on Oct. 28, 2010:

The death toll has continued to rise from the natural disasters that struck Indonesia Monday and Tuesday. Currently, officials are reporting 343 people dead with 338 still missing from the earthquake and tsunami. Meanwhile, the eruption of Mount Merapi has killed 33 so far; after a brief lull, the eruption began again on Thursday.

26 Oct 2010

Hazardous Living: New Orleans, five years after Katrina

This weekend marks the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s strike on New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

27 Aug 2010

Comment: Volcanic versus anthropogenic carbon dioxide: The missing science

“Volcanoes add far more carbon dioxide to the oceans and atmosphere than humans.” So says geologist Ian Plimer of the University of Adelaide in his 2009 best seller “Heaven and Earth: Global Warming — the Missing Science.” With this assertion, Plimer brings volcanic carbon dioxide degassing front and center in the climate change debate, reviving and reinforcing this wildly mistaken notion.

30 Jul 2010

Baja quake sheds light on liquefaction

Data collected by a unique array of instruments located near the epicenter of the magnitude-7.2 earthquake that struck Baja California April 4 are providing scientists with new insight into the phenomenon of liquefaction, a potentially dangerous side effect of major earthquakes.

09 Jul 2010

Voices: Italian seismologists: What should they have said?

In Italy, seismologists who failed to predict the L’Aquila earthquake in 2009 could face manslaughter charges.

01 Jul 2010

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