Earth Observatory Blog

Submitted on 19 Nov 2020 by:

Typhoon Goni (Rolly in the Philippines) caused more than 20 fatalities in the Philippines earlier this month. Just a few days later, Typhoon Vamco (Ulysses) struck the Philippines again, then Vietnam on the other side of the South China Sea. “It is fairly common for more than one storm to occur in an ocean basin at the same time”, said Associate Professor Adam Switzer, a Principal Investigator at the Earth Observatory of Singapore. “Since typhoon season in Asia runs into the new year, there is unfortunately a real chance of further storms in the region before the end of 2020”, Assoc Prof Switzer added.

Typhoons form under specific sets of conditions between the ocean and the atmosphere. For example, warm sea...

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 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...