Earth Observatory Blog

Submitted on 15 Jan 2020 by:

As at 5 pm on 15 January 2020, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) reported that Taal volcano’s eruption is still going on and retained the Alert Level for Taal at 4 (hazardous eruption imminent), where further eruptions are likely to occur in the coming hours or days.

The volcano continues to send dark grey steam-laden volcanic plumes up to 700 metres (m) in height drifting to the southwest of the volcano, and new cracks on the ground have been reported in several locations around the volcano. New observations indicate that the Main Crater Lake and parts...

Submitted on 14 Jan 2020 by:

As at 1 pm on 14 January 2020, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) retained the Alert Level for Taal volcano at 4 (hazardous eruption imminent), which means that further eruptions are likely in the coming hours or days.

The volcano continues to spew lava fountains up to 800 metres (m) in height from several craters, sending volcanic plumes to the southwest of the volcano. These lava fountains are emitted from the Main Crater and several vents on the northern flank of the volcano. In addition, new fissures or cracks were reported at several locations around the...

Submitted on 12 Jan 2020 by:

A continuous eruption from Philippines’ Taal volcano was observed on Sunday, 12 January 2020, at 5.30 pm (Singapore time). The powerful eruption sent an ash plume 10-15 kilometres (km) into the atmosphere and ashfall as far as Quezon city 65 km away, with volcanic lightning seen flickering continuously in the plume above the volcano. This prompted the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) to raise the alert level to Alert Level 4 (hazardous eruption imminent).

Alert Level 4 means that further eruptions are likely in the coming hours or days. The residents of Volcano Island, as well as communities within 14 km of...

Submitted on 06 Jan 2020 by:

Urban flooding is an increasingly urgent problem affecting cities in Southeast Asia. In addition to being urgent, flooding is also deeply complex — the causes and consequences of floods are varied and often combine historical, political, environmental and economic factors in unique ways.

Before we intervene to try to address floods, we need to understand flood risk from a variety of different perspectives. In an ideal world, solutions to flooding would come from contexts where researchers, communities, artists, scientists, policymakers, engineers, mappers, designers and other practitioners all came together to learn from each other, carve out a piece of the problem to work on collaboratively, and have the time, resources and support to get that work done while documenting and...

Submitted on 03 Jan 2020 by:

EOS Principal Investigator Professor Kerry Sieh and his team has found what might be the location of the elusive impact site of a meteorite that struck Earth 790,000 years ago.

The impact was so large, debris from the strike was flung over three continents – Asia, Australia, and Antarctica. Yet, the location of the largest-known young meteorite impact site remained a mystery for a long time.

According to Prof Sieh, the Bolaven Volcanic Field in Southern Laos bears compelling characteristics that indicate it could be the location of this long-sought impact site.

To find out more, the published paper can be read in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States...
Submitted on 02 Dec 2019 by:

I was part of a team who recently went to Myanmar to repair instruments that are key to understanding natural hazards in the region. We worked and stayed with the locals the whole time, which was an amazing way to discover the Myanmar culture.

Myanmar lies in the complex boundary zone on the eastern edge of the Indian plate. It is therefore prone to seismic hazards. However, due to political leadership, little was known about these hazards until 2010 when the first research projects got started. 

Between 2011 to 2017, 17 GPS stations, 30 Seismic stations, and 10 strong motion accelerographs (SMA) were installed by the Centre of Geohazard Observations (CGO) at the Earth Observatory of Singapore, in collaboration with the Myanmar Earthquake Committee, and...

Submitted on 25 Nov 2019 by:

Singapore, unlike Japan, does not have any volcanoes. However, our little sunny island is in proximity to 127 active volcanoes in Indonesia and 53 in the Philippines. This means that like Japan, Singapore too could be significantly affected by different types of volcanic hazards, making research on volcanoes an important area of study for both countries. Here’s how Singapore was once affected.

Singapore was impacted by volcanic ash in 1991 after the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines. And with that many volcanoes around the country, it is unlikely to be a one-off. As for Japan, it is in constant alert with its currently 110 active volcanoes. But, despite a very developed monitoring system, some eruptions – such as the 2014 Ontake eruption – still have...

Submitted on 12 Nov 2019 by:

Located high in the mountains are structures called “mountain huts” that provide refuge and safety to those who are in need of food and shelter. However, because of their location, these life-saving shelters are highly vulnerable to the projectiles from nearby erupting volcanoes.

In a study jointly conducted by scientists from the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) and the University of Canterbury (UC), we looked at an eruption event in Japan to learn what we can about how to reduce the impacts of projectiles on roofs of building structures. Our findings were recently published on 7 November 2019 in the Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research.

We wanted to see...

Submitted on 05 Nov 2019 by:

Today is World Tsunami Awareness Day. It is a timely opportunity to create greater global awareness about tsunamis as a geological hazard. Before asking how we can stay safe (or safer) from tsunamis, we must first think about how we might improve on the resilience of our current and future infrastructure.

Let’s start by looking at what a tsunami is. A tsunami is a series of waves caused by an underwater earthquake, a volcanic eruption, a landslide, or meteorological processes (meteo-tsunamis). 

So why is SE Asia vulnerable to tsunami hazards? First of all, SE Asia lies in a complex tectonic setting that contains many fault systems and volcanoes. Coupled with a high population density and a tight network of infrastructure in coastal areas, one can imagine just how...

Submitted on 30 Sep 2019 by:

Just after 6pm on 28 September 2018 (Singapore time), a magnitude-7.5 earthquake struck central Sulawesi. The powerful quake generated a tsunami which, along with massive landslides, devastated Palu and the town of Donggala. These resulted in more than 4,000 people dead or missing.

In an economic loss assessment report issued by Indonesia's National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), the Palu earthquake event caused more than S$1.5 million in damages.

Today, a year later, scientists from the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) and their teams are ready to share some of their findings about this earthquake-tsunami event.

A Complex Rupture Sequence

Using a combination of seismic, geodetic, geologic, and written records, Assistant Professor Wei...