Earthquakes continue to cause tremendous damage and casualties around the world. Contrary to other geophysical hazards, such as storms and floods, seismic hazards still elude short-term prediction. This is due, on the one hand, to our limited understanding of how rocks deform and break; and on the other hand, by the difficulty of probing Earth's interior to determine the physical parameters of a given fault.
One year ago, scientists and science advocates from across the globe were moved to march in the streets. It was a reactionary move, spurred by administration changes in the United States and the growing threat of reversals in global environment policies, funding, and education relating to climate change.
625 million people worldwide live in low elevation coastal zones (LECZ). By 2060, the LECZ population is likely to approach 1.4 billion people. These low-lying coastal regions, many of them in Southeast Asia (>70% of total LECZ population), are vulnerable to sea-level rise brought about by climate change.
The highly active Sumatran Subduction Zone has produced more than four great earthquakes in the last decade. The first of these was the giant Mw 9.2 Sumatra-Andaman earthquake that ruptured on 26 December 2004. This devastating event was followed by three others – the Mw 8.6 Nias-Simeulue quake in 2005, the Mw 8.4 Bengkulu earthquakes in 2007, and the Mw 7.7 Mentawai tsunami-earthquake in 2010.
In early 2016, the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) installed a network of seismic stations in northeastern Bangladesh called TREMBLE - Temporary Receivers for Monitoring Bangladesh Earthquakes. The aim of TREMBLE is to monitor seismicity and study body waves - seismic waves that move through the earth’s interior. TREMBLE also enables shallow tomographic studies. It is an ongoing collaboration with Dhaka University’s Department of Geology.
Goodwill and geological faults motivate seismologist Assistant Professor Wei Shengji to help analyse under-researched earthquakes in Southeast Asia.
In 2004, a devastating tsunami struck coastlines around the Indian Ocean. In a study of the long-term recovery of the city of Banda Aceh, Indonesia, we found that reconstruction aid provided mostly near the coast, combined with many people's preferences to move to safer areas instead, has had the unintended consequence whereby the poor have become disproportionately exposed to coastal hazards.
Very early in the morning on Friday, 12 January 2018, Myanmar was struck by a magnitude-6.0 earthquake. Residents in the two capital cities, Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw, were able to feel the quake that had originated 40 kilometres west of the Sagaing Fault in Central Myanmar.
In the video below, Dr Wang Yu, a Research Fellow at the Earth Observatory of Singapore, suggests that today’s earthquake is a reminder of how active the Sagaing Fault actually is.
In December 2017, the city of New Orleans welcomed 22,500 of the world’s leading geophysical science experts for the annual American Geophysical Union (AGU) conference. The Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) sent a group of representatives to join the activity at AGU 2017.