Shaken Not Stirred

Haiti – One Year On, Still in Ruin

Jesse Dykstra Jan 12, 2011

 Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images On 12 January, 2010, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck one of the world’s poorest nations, killing as many as 230,000 people, and leaving nearly 2 million homeless   The 2010 Haitia earthquake was one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history. One year on from the earthquake that devastated Port … Read More

Climate Change, Natural Disasters and Human Vulnerability

Jesse Dykstra Jan 06, 2011

Is Climate Change the Greatest Modern Threat Facing Humankind? How many human lives have been lost as a direct result of global warming (anthropogenic or otherwise) over the past decade? Thousands? Tens of thousands? More? When extreme weather events result in natural disasters, we tend to immediately blame climate change. Three of the worst weather-related natural disasters of 2010, the Russian heat wave, flooding … Read More


Good Science Writing or Bad Press for Climate Change Scientists?

Jesse Dykstra Dec 22, 2010

In a 20 December article from Associated Press (covered by from science writer Seth Borenstein, I get the impression that climate change is assumed to be behind the high disaster toll in 2010. Here is a link to the article, entitled:  2010’s world gone wild: Quakes, floods, blizzards – this was the year the Earth struck back Read it yourself – … Read More


Flooding, Landslides Force Millions out of Their Homes

Jesse Dykstra Dec 21, 2010

Can We Blame Climate Change for Flooding in Venezuela & Colombia? In recent weeks, the wettest rainy season in over 40 years has battered Colombia and Venezuela, with flooding and landslides claiming over 200 lives, forcing millions of people from their homes and inundating valuable agricultural crops. Over 1.6 million (nearly 4% of Colombia total population of 45 million) people … Read More


Reflections on Coal Mining

Jesse Dykstra Nov 30, 2010

An Important Fossil Fuel Coal is a rock that forms under intense pressure and high temperatures when plant material is buried under younger sediments over periods of millions of years. The resulting mineral has a very high concentration of carbon, and therefore is an important source of energy. Coal is the most abundant fossil fuel on … Read More


Boulevard of Broken Dreams — Kaiapoi, PtII

Jesse Dykstra Oct 12, 2010

The Story of Kaiapoi (Continued) Photo: Jesse Dykstra On one particularly hard-hit Kaiapoi street, I spoke to a resident who expressed an increasingly sense of helplessness as aftershocks continued to tear his home apart. His family feared that they would be unable to live in their home for much longer.  Others in the neighborhood spoke of frustration that they had not yet received any … Read More

Boulevard of Broken Dreams – Kaiapoi, PtI

Jesse Dykstra Oct 08, 2010

Not a Memory Yet Photo: Jesse Dykstra It has now been over 4 weeks since the Darfield earthquake rocked Canterbury, yet aftershocks continue to terrorize the region. Monday night, a magnitude 5 aftershock (the largest since Sept 8th) rattled Christchurch, and early this morning a magnitude 4.4 rumble served notice that the Greendale fault has not yet finished … Read More

What’s With Those Aftershocks?!

Jesse Dykstra Sep 08, 2010

8 Sept. 2010, 07:49, M 5.1 Aftershock, Ground Shaking Intensity. Source: GNS At 7:49 am this morning, Christchurch and western Banks Peninsula were hammered by a particularly vicious aftershock. This latest tremor had a magnitude of  ‘only’ 5.1, but was centered just a few kilometers from Christchurch, at a very shallow depth of only 6km. As can be seen from … Read More


Liquefaction Explained

Jesse Dykstra Sep 08, 2010

For a nice overview of Liquefaction, and why certain areas of Canterbury were more affected by Saturday’s shaking  (Courtesy of 3news).—a-scientific-explanation/tabid/309/articleID/174502/Default.aspx Also, this post from Visibly Shaken,  by Peter Griffin shows an infographic by ECan And finally, also from Ecan, an excellent, detailed infographic on the liquefaction hazard in Canterbury, produced before Saturday’s earthquake: … Read More

What Lies Beneath the Canterbury Plains? A Fault Revealed

Jesse Dykstra Sep 07, 2010

This is the second post of a 3-4 part series on the Canterbury Earthquake. Canterbury Earthquake, Pt II Source: GNS Was this Canterbury’s ‘Big One’? When I was shaken out of a deep slumber at 4:36 am last Saturday, I couldn’t help but think that ‘this is the big one’.   The intensity of the shaking was certainly more than … Read More