I posted about the 10th anniversary of the Christchurch Earthquake, but there was another notable earthquake anniversary recently…the 50th anniversary of the 1971 San Fernando earthquake. Khaled Chowdhury from the US Army Corps of Engineers posted this perspective on LinkedIn.
A new study published in the current issue of Geoarchaeology claims that earthquake-prone areas along the edges of tectonic plates were far more likely to give birth to great ancient civilizations than less dynamic landscapes. The author of the paper, Eric Force, a (U of A Wildcat!) says that 13 of 15 ancient civilizations sites aren’t the product of chance. Instead, ancient people appear to have chosen to settle close to a tectonic plate boundary. The exceptions were in ancient China and Egypt. [Image Adapted from Eric R. Force, Geoarchaeology: An International Journal, 23 (2008)]
The regular news media as well as the geo-blogosphere are all abuzz about Monday’s 7.9 magnitude earthquake in central China. Official death toll is at 12,000 right now and that’s in Sichuan Province alone. My guess is that number will swell substantially in the coming days. If you haven’t seen photos and video yet, they are absolutely gut-wrenching. My heart and prayers go out to the victims of this disaster. (Photo by Liu Hai, AP)
Several geo-bloggers have posts about the earthquake. Harold Asmis of Ontario-GeoFish describes the earthquake as a "big valley-thrust earthquake" or what he calls the "Fist of God". Dave’s Landslide Blog has started compiling reports of landslides related to the earthquake in this landslide prone region of China. And here is the USGS info on the earthquake.