Earth Observatory Blog

Submitted on 20 Sep 2019 by:

At home and abroad there is increasing agreement that we are facing an existential environmental crisis. Death, destruction, and disruption by extreme weather events, haze from forest fires, and contamination of oceans by plastic waste have dramatically increased the awareness of environmental degradation, and given rise to a realisation that the conclusions from decades of scientific research, and the dire predictions arising from it, indeed point to a considerable challenge to society.  

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in the 2019 National Day Rally speech that “climate change is one of the gravest challenges the human race faces and Singapore is already feeling its impact – which is likely to worsen over the next few decades”. 

Last week...

Submitted on 27 Jun 2019 by:

Social media has found itself a heavyweight role in geology. By scraping Twitter and mining text data in Tweets, scientists at the Nanyang Technological University can now track where volcanic ash has fallen. This breakthrough won Assistant Professor Benoit Taisne and Professor Gao Cong the Accelerating Creativity and Excellence (ACE) Award for their research project titled “Detecting and Tracking Volcanic Ash Using Social Media Data”.

Asst. Prof Taisne, a principal investigator at the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS), worked closely with...

Submitted on 11 Jun 2019 by:

Have you got a poster presentation coming up and don’t know how to prepare for it ? We’ve got three award-winners here to help you – Ms Priyamvada Nanjundiah (Priya), Mr Yudha Setiawan Djamil, and Ms Regine Tiong Hui Yi.

Priya, a PhD student at the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS), was one of the winners of the American Geophysical Union’s Outstanding Student Paper Awards in 2016. She also won Best Student Poster at 2017’s Asia Oceania Geosciences Society (AOGS). Yudha, also a...

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 25 Jan 2019 by:

Magma commonly moves up towards the surface by creating cracks in the crust. It flows inside of the cracks, which grow upwards as the magma applies pressure and damages surrounding rocks. These magma-filled cracks are known as dikes and they are an important form which allows magma to travel easily through the crust.

Nature always finds the easiest path for a dike, so if it takes less pressure to push apart the ground vertically or horizontally, the dike will grow accordingly. This is an important principle that cracks grow perpendicularly to the weakest force and generally in the direction of the highest.

Imagine tearing apart a piece of paper – pulling the paper apart from left to right...

Submitted on 06 Oct 2018 by:

Soputan Volcano in north Sulawesi erupts five days after the neighbouring magnitude-7.5 Palu earthquake – Was the eruption triggered by the earthquake?

An eruption from Soputan volcano commenced at 08:47 local time on 3 October 2018, producing a dense ash plume that rose 4 kilometres (km) above the summit and drifted west and northwest. This event occurred five days after the magnitude-7.5 Palu earthquake that caused a disastrous tsunami. The epicentre was located at a depth of 10 km and about 600 km to the west-southwest of Soputan volcano.

Could the eruption have been triggered by the earthquake?

Earthquakes and volcanoes are intimately linked through plate tectonics. Examples of earthquake-volcano interactions namely include the 1975 eruption of Kīlauea...

Submitted on 12 Jul 2018 by:

Leading an international study on the vulnerability of salt marshes in the United Kingdom (UK), scientists from the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) at Nanyang Technological University warn that the enhanced rates in sea-level rise are likely to destroy the marshlands found in the UK sooner than previously thought. 

In a paper published in Nature Communications on 12 July 2018, the team led by Professor Benjamin Horton, Principal Investigator at EOS, found that...

Submitted on 19 Apr 2018 by:

Earthquakes continue to cause tremendous damage and casualties around the world. Contrary to other geophysical hazards, such as storms and floods, seismic hazards still elude short-term prediction. This is due, on the one hand, to our limited understanding of how rocks deform and break; and on the other hand, by the difficulty of probing Earth's interior to determine the physical parameters of a given fault.

To improve our understanding of how earthquakes are generated, a useful approach is to confront our hypotheses with a combination of laboratory experiments, field observations, and theoretical predictions.

The monitoring of plate boundaries with seismometers and GPS instruments, together with the development of increasingly sophisticated laboratory experiments...

Submitted on 15 Apr 2018 by:

One year ago, scientists and science advocates from across the globe were moved to march in the streets. It was a reactionary move, spurred by administration changes in the United States and the growing threat of reversals in global environment policies, funding, and education relating to climate change.

What has happened since then? Well, quite a bit actually. The United States withdrew from the Paris accord and in response, state leaders came together and formed the United States Climate Alliance to continue advancing the objectives of the Paris agreement, despite the...

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