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Rose out of thin water. Sana Baloch

Devastating earthquake in Pakistan creates a new island

A magnitude 7.7 earthquake hit south-central Pakistan on Tuesday this week. Reports of hundreds of casualties highlight the awful scale of the tragedy, made more difficult for rescuers by the remote location…
Earth crust cutaway. Jeremy Kemp

Meet the earthquakes that happen 600km underground

A little more than 90 years ago, British geologist Herbert Hall Turner noticed some earthquake data that suggested a surprising explanation. The only way to explain it was if the quake had occurred hundreds…
The public should be made aware of all possible scenarios within an earthquake sequence. Ettore Ferrari/EPA

L’Aquila charges leave earthquake scientists on shaky ground

You’ll know by now that six scientists and a government official have been found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to six years in prison for how they assessed and communicated risk prior to the L’Aquila…
Coal’s toll? A Newcastle church cupola damaged in the 1989 earthquake serves as a memorial for the 13 people killed. Flickr/OZinOH

Earthquakes and mining - how humans create seismic activity

This week’s 5.3 magnitude earthquake that struck near Moe in Victoria’s brown-coal mining region of the La Trobe Valley brings to mind the 5.6 magnitude quake of 1989 in another coal-mining heartland…
The 1989 Newcastle earthquake is the most devastating in Australia’s history … and it wasn’t much stronger than last night’s. University of Newcastle

The Victorian earthquake didn’t do much damage … but the next one might

Just before 9pm last night (AEST) a magnitude-5.4 earthquake (initially measured as magnitude-5.3) rocked Victoria. The quake did minimal damage to property and no injuries have been reported, but it reminded…
The more we understand about earthquakes, the more we can do to reduce their impact. EPA/Kimimasa Mayama

Underground sounds: why we should listen to earthquakes

The magnitude 9.0 Tōhoku-Oki earthquake of March 11 last year was the largest earthquake in Japan’s modern history. In fact, it was the fourth-largest earthquake anywhere in the world since 1900. The earthquake…
The last 10 years have seen three of the seven biggest earthquakes ever recorded. Tubbi/Wikimedia Commons

Are we living through an earthquake cluster?

Since the 2004 Sumatra earthquake, there have been several major events, and a large number of magnitude-8 earthquakes – a cluster, it could be said, of large earthquakes. The last time we saw this was…
Do hotter-than-average lake temperatures at Mt Ruaphehu suggest an imminent volcanic eruption? Jess Robertson

Mount Ruapehu eruption signs in hot water

A prolonged period of hotter-than-average temperatures in the crater lake of New Zealand’s Mt Ruapehu has seen the country’s media questioning whether another eruption is on the cards. Mt Ruapehu (Māori…
Is earthquake prediction even possible? Soe Than WIN/AFP

Revealing cracks in seismology

Why have so many lives been lost in Japan and New Zealand recently? And why have so many survivors – the so-called “lucky ones” – had their livelihoods and homes destroyed? As a seismologist, I ask myself…

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