Earth Observatory Blog

Submitted on 02 Apr 2020 by:

Channel NewsAsia’s documentary titled “Carbon Conundrum” investigates how carbon emissions contribute to rising global temperatures, which lead to rising sea levels and extreme weather events. In the documentary aired on television (channel 106 on Starhub) on 31 March 2020, Assistant Professor Aron Meltzner and his team provided insights on how rising sea levels in the southeast Asian region could impact Singapore.

Using microatolls (circular colonies of coral) the team is able to track changes in the sea level. A study led by Asst. Prof Meltzner found that more than 6,000 years ago when there was no human-driven climate change, there were fluctuations of about 60 centimetres in sea levels in southeast Asia. He...

Submitted on 09 Mar 2020 by:

113 years ago, on 4 January 1907, a powerful magnitude (M) 8.2-8.4 earthquake occurred off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. This earthquake belonged to a special class called “tsunami earthquakes” that do not generate very strong shaking, but can result in large tsunamis.

The tsunami that was produced struck Nias and Simeulue, killing thousands. It also struck the distant shores of Sri Lanka, India, and the island of Reunion. The first earthquake was later followed by another quake measuring approximately M 7.0, resulting in the destruction of countless houses.

In the years that followed, the sequence got jumbled and the two events were conflated as one, but the 1907 disaster was preserved in local memory by way of the legend of the Smong – a Devayan word for...

Submitted on 27 Feb 2020 by:

At the 13th International Conference on Paleoceanography held on the 2nd to 6th September 2019 in Sydney, Australia, Dr Yama Dixit, a Research Fellow at the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS), gave a talk on the historical variations of the Indian Summer Monsoon (ISM) that she had discovered were recorded in the shells of freshwater snails found in the lakes of India.

When the world’s climate changes in significant or unexpected ways, these anomalies impact different regions in a dissimilar manner. During the last Little Ice Age between 1500 and 1850 AD, for...

Submitted on 19 Feb 2020 by:

In the early morning at about 5am on 12 February 2020, a bright object was seen in the sky. It blazed over Singapore and Johor Bahru, Malaysia, and its lights were caught on two dash-cam videos. The video that was filmed in Singapore was captured near the Nanyang Technological University campus, next to the Jalan Bahar flyover.

When an object enters the Earth’s atmosphere and burns up on entry, the way we name it depends on how big it is, as well as how bright. For example, an asteroid is a piece of rocky, iron, or icy debris, over...

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 06 Jan 2020 by:

Urban flooding is an increasingly urgent problem affecting cities in Southeast Asia. In addition to being urgent, flooding is also deeply complex — the causes and consequences of floods are varied and often combine historical, political, environmental and economic factors in unique ways.

Before we intervene to try to address floods, we need to understand flood risk from a variety of different perspectives. In an ideal world, solutions to flooding would come from contexts where researchers, communities, artists, scientists, policymakers, engineers, mappers, designers and other practitioners all came together to learn from each other, carve out a piece of the problem to work on collaboratively, and have the time, resources and support to get that work done while documenting and...

Submitted on 03 Jan 2020 by:

EOS Principal Investigator Professor Kerry Sieh and his team has found what might be the location of the elusive impact site of a meteorite that struck Earth 790,000 years ago.

The impact was so large, debris from the strike was flung over three continents – Asia, Australia, and Antarctica. Yet, the location of the largest-known young meteorite impact site remained a mystery for a long time.

According to Prof Sieh, the Bolaven Volcanic Field in Southern Laos bears compelling characteristics that indicate it could be the location of this long-sought impact site.

To find out more, the published paper can be read in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States...
Submitted on 02 Dec 2019 by:

I was part of a team who recently went to Myanmar to repair instruments that are key to understanding natural hazards in the region. We worked and stayed with the locals the whole time, which was an amazing way to discover the Myanmar culture.

Myanmar lies in the complex boundary zone on the eastern edge of the Indian plate. It is therefore prone to seismic hazards. However, due to political leadership, little was known about these hazards until 2010 when the first research projects got started. 

Between 2011 to 2017, 17 GPS stations, 30 Seismic stations, and 10 strong motion accelerographs (SMA) were installed by the Centre of Geohazard Observations (CGO) at the Earth Observatory of Singapore, in collaboration with the Myanmar Earthquake Committee, and...

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