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 23 Aug 2019 by:

In the video below, Professor Benjamin Horton, Principal Investigator at the Earth Observatory of Singapore and Chair of the Asian School of the Environment, shares his thoughts on the topic of climate and sea-level rise in Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s 2019 National Day Rally (NDR) speech that was aired on 18 August 2019.

Prof Horton felt that PM Lee had successfully communicated and emphasised the urgency for Singapore to take the right actions to deal with the effects of climate change. This is especially important for land-scarce Singapore, where we can’t simply move in-land as a means to adapt to sea levels that certainly will rise. As an important first step, he recommends that Singapore “invest in the science, [so that we] can have responsible and robust adaptation...

Submitted on 31 Jul 2019 by:

Since 2012, EOS has had a presence at the Science Centre Singapore (SCS), with 'Earth: Our Untamed Planet' exhibition. Through this parternship, EOS and SCS have welcomed millions of Singapore students and visitors from around the world to the exhibition, providing research, stories, and experiences that shape the geological framework of Southeast Asia, and the many natural hazards facing the region.

But, after seven years, it’s time for a review. So over the past couple of years, we’ve been talking with our SCS colleagues about changing up the current exhibition to update the experience and story we’re telling. In November 2018, we pulled our third collaborator, the world-famous Exploratorium, into the mix and officially launched the redesign project with a plan to open...

Submitted on 30 May 2019 by:

I went to Banda Aceh, Indonesia in 2006 to help assess the impact of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami upon the region’s rich cultural heritage. The scale of destruction caused by the tsunami was staggering. Half the city had been pulverised and all that was left was a mix of concrete, broken furniture, household items, and a colorful patchwork of shreds of clothing. We found clusters of beautifully carved stone grave markers dating back centuries amongst the rubble, half buried in mud and debris, or piled up neglected near areas being cleared by NGOs and donors for new tracts of post-disaster housing.

The same waves that killed over 150,000 people and displaced millions had reached back into the past and threatened to wipe out the historical memories of Aceh’s coastal...

Submitted on 24 Apr 2019 by:

When the time came for us to choose a place to house the EOS Dynamic Earth Games, the answer was a clear and obvious one – the Science Centre Singapore (SCS).

SCS has an impressive 40-year record of making science fun and accessible to the public. They successfully reach out to and engage more than one million visitors annually.

We, at the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS), know just how capable the SCS team is. We have worked with them over the years on various projects and launches (e.g. “Earth: Our Untamed Planet” exhibit currently in SCS, and the film screening of EOS documentary The Ratu River). Most recently, we spent the past six months working closely with SCS and acclaimed Californian science museum, The Exploratorium, on a new earth science exhibition...

Submitted on 17 Apr 2019 by:

When the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) first decided to create educational materials about the earth sciences, all we knew then was that we wanted something extra fun, immersive, and highly interactive. The EOS Dynamic Earth Games that we have now were not yet in our minds.

The search for a team who could bring this to life for us was quite a task. That was until we met BOHO Interactive, a collective of artists and game designers from Australia.

During the planning phase, the BOHO team spent a good amount of time in EOS to learn about the different types of research being done by our scientists. They then shortlisted a few to build the games on. After developing several of these games, they tested the prototypes at different events with different audiences...

Submitted on 10 Apr 2019 by:

Did my last blog post about the Dynamic Earth Games (DEG) leave you hungry for more details about the games? Well, I hope to satisfy your curiosity in this second post.

The Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) collaborated with BOHO Interactive and the Science Centre Singapore to develop seven different games. These fall into three broad categories:

Volcanoes and Typhoons, Assessing Risk, and Evacuation.

Volcanoes and Typhoons

The Dynamic Earth Games explain the science behind natural hazards with a strong focus on geology and meteorology. While playing the games, you will learn some of the signs of an impending volcanic eruption and the tools that...

Submitted on 03 Apr 2019 by:

What makes up the exciting memories of my first interaction with science? I recall touching the slimy texture of snails, sniffing ammonia salt (also known as “smelly salt”), and making my sister’s hair stand with a balloon.

For me, science is a journey – a fun-filled adventure that satisfies our curiosity of the universe. Think about it. What makes us enjoy playing soccer, chess, or Candy Crush? Games are fun because they involve elements of competition with others, even ourselves, and some require us to cooperate with one or more people. This sense of competition and camaraderie are essentially what makes us enjoy playing games.

The Dynamic Earth Games, an Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) series of board games and card games about natural hazards, use these...

Submitted on 20 Mar 2019 by:

What lies beneath Singapore?

With land in scarce supply, Singapore is increasingly looking underground for storage spaces and even city construction. A team from the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) have started working on a seismic survey to find out more about Singapore’s underground seismic structure and seismic hazard. A total of 88 seismometers have been deployed at 87 sites across Singapore, including school, parks, nature reserves, and weather stations.

The underground may also hold valuable resources for Singapore, such as water and energy. One example of this is geothermal energy. Hot springs in Singapore are generated by hot rocks deep underground. We want to identify the source of this...

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