Earth Observatory Blog

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 17 Sep 2019 by:

Many may still remember the powerful eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991. It was one of the largest eruptions in recent history, and sent volcanic ash even as far as Singapore, over 2,400 kilometres (km) away. 

But what many do not know is that the thin layer of volcanic ash that had settled across Singapore could have been more severe. Typhoon Yunya (also known as Typhoon Diding) had struck the Philippines almost at the same time as the Mount Pinatubo eruption.

Previously, scientists had not investigated how the typhoon had affected the amount of ash that fell on Singapore. However, preliminary modelling results carried out by scientists at the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) and Asian...

Submitted on 05 Dec 2016 by:

Humans are fabulous agents of geologic change. What do I mean by this? We reduce the height of mountains via mountaintop mining to obtain energy resources. We blast through a mountain to make a road cut, or tunnel. We make new lakes by building dams for hydroelectric power. Indeed, we humans are capable of changing the landscape or environment (or climate for that matter) at rates much faster than normal geologic processes.

However, geologic processes are capable of changing human history as well. Earthquakes have been so catastrophic that they force people to move from one location to another – for example, the 10th century earthquake in Brahmanabad (near Karachi), Pakistan. It is thought that survivors of this event left the ruins of Brahmanabad in favour of Mansura, a...