IRIS 3D Earthquake viewer

Now this is a web-based app I could spend hours exploring:

IRIS 3D Earthquake viewer

I can’t wait to introduce it to my classes. What a great way to help students visualize subduction, amongst other things. You really must take a few minutes to immerse yourself.


Nepal Earthquake

Sermathang playground and school after the nepal earthquake
 Over the past 12 years, our school – St. John’s-Kilmarnock School – has developed a very close relationship with two villages in the Himalayan foothills northeast of Kathmandu: Sermathang and Thakani. Every two years a team of teachers and senior students travel to Nepal to help maintain the schools: building latrines, refurbishing classrooms and playground areas, painting, and, perhaps most importantly, assisting financially with salaries for teachers. The whole school gets behind the fundraising, 100% of which goes directly to assisting the schools (and none towards the trip itself – those fees are entirely paid for by the families involved). This year we raised over $20,000 to assist the schools over the next two years until we return again.

Sermathang school after the earthquake
So, you can imagine our immense sadness to learn of the impact of the earthquake on the two villages. Both villages and their schools have been razed by the initial earthquake and subsequent aftershocks. We have not yet heard news of deaths, however those with whom we’ve formed close relationships have, as far as we know, survived. Sermathang has begun to receive aid: one helicopter drop and very limited supplies via jeep as the road is near impassible. The residents are currently living in makeshift tents. Thakani residents have had no aid as of yet as they seem to be completely cut off. Update: Food supplies to last a week have been air-lifted into Thakani, thank goodness.

As a school, we have begun a re-newed fundraising campaign to assist our friends in Nepal. Their losses have been complete. With so little to rely on for income, they will be destitute before long. As a community, we have the resources to make a significant contribution to their immediate daily needs and to their long-term re-building projects. In fact, members of our Trek Nepal team have already started the process of collecting aid and making arrangements to have it transported, through various connections with airline industry and people in Nepal, to Sermathang, and, hopefully, to Thakani. The best way to contribute is through financial donations, but they have have also been collecting specific items that are inexpensive to transport, for example, servings of dried soup, water purification tablets and tarpaulins.

If you are so moved to assist with the rebuilding of the schools and villages, then please consider a donation. Small or large, every little bit helps. You can donate directly to the SJK Nepal Fund through CanadaHelps. At the web page, please select “Other” and add a note to say the funds are for SJK Nepal Fund. 100% of the money received by SJK will be directed to assisting the two villages, Sermathang and Thekani.

UPDATE: We now have direct link for donations to the Nepal Schools’ Rebuild Fund.

Donations can also be made to the Canadian Red Cross, UNICEF and the Mennonite Central Committee. This money will assist people across Nepal. As well, donations made prior to May 25 will be matched by the Canadian Government. Please be aware, though – the matching funds, while directed to Nepal, are not necessarily given to the agency you donated to. Rather, it is used at the government’s discretion and may be donated to an outside or international charity for work in Nepal.

Please consider helping, if only a little. If everyone in Canada were to give even $1 – that’s $30 million more than our government has pledged! And, let’s face it, how much is $1 or even $10 to the average Canadian? For more information about Sermathang and Thakani, and updated photos, please visit the SJK Trek Nepal Facebook page.

For more information in Earthquakes, please visit > Lithosphere > Earthquakes.

World’s Biggest Fracking Quake?

An excellent article on fracking, providing clarity of an issue mired in politics, innuendo and misinformation.

The Mountain Mystery

“Did Alberta Just Break a Fracking Earthquake World Record?” This is the headline in The Tyee, an online independent magazine focused on western Canada, and it seems the paper thinks so. The Tyee’s coverage of a big fracking earthquake in northern Alberta is mostly accurate, although a larger quake was reported in Oklahoma in September 2014. The Canadian shake measured 4.4 while the Sooner State’s quake was 4.5. An even larger one is alleged and implicated in an injury lawsuit in Oklahoma. I’ll have more about that in a moment.

Readers of this blog are aware of fracking. Hydraulic fracturing forces reluctant oil and gas out of the ground. The technology was invented half a century ago (1947, actually) but grew out of much earlier fracturing schemes, dating back to at least 1865 when nitroglycerin torpedoes were dropped into shallow Pennsylvania wells to “loosen up” the rocks, encouraging oil…

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BC Megathrust Earthquake

earthquake-plate-tectonicsIt’s only been recently that the concept of “megathrust earthquake” has developed – and now we find they are “in our backyard” so to speak. I think the term “megathrust” speaks for itself, rather like “supervolcano”. In this age of superlative-overuse, this one might just  be appropriate, and, according to this CBC article,  Canada’s West Coast is a potential location.

It’s not often Earth experiences earthquakes of a magnitude greater than 9. Both the Japanese earthquake of 2011 and the Sumatra earthquake of 2004 were 9s. The next most recent 9+ was the Alaska ‘quake of 1964 which was a 9.2 (see more at this USGS page). So while they are uncommon, they are extremely dangerous, especially when it comes to tsunamis.

This recent article gives Canada’s West coast a heads-up as it just might be the next place to expect a megathrust earthquake.

For more about earthquakes, megathrust earthquakes and Canada’s earthquakes, visit > Lithosphere > Earthquakes.

B.C. due for mega-earthquake along coast (CBC News)

One day, it will happen – when, is anyone’s guess… At some point, perhaps in the next 700 years or perhaps tomorrow, British Columbia will experience a mega-earthquake along the Pacific coast.

More info may be found at:
and on the Earthquakes Canada website:

Recent Earthquakes in Canada – Past Year