Earth Observatory Blog

Submitted on 18 Feb 2019 by:

On 29 July 2018, Lombok was struck by a 6.4-magnitude earthquake, killing 20 people. A week later, an even stronger earthquake of magnitude 6.9 devasted the island. Strong aftershocks continued to rock the Indonesian island, quickly transforming the popular tourist paradise into “hell on earth”.

In an episode of Channel NewsAsia’s Insight titled "Lombok: A Shattered Paradise", aired on 7 September 2018, Prof Sieh provided insights on how tectonic plate movements could result in tsunamis, volcanic activities, as well as devastating earthquakes. Using the analogy of a cracked windshield on a car, Prof Sieh explained how aftershocks are produced from faults during an earthquake. In some instances, an aftershock can trigger a more powerful earthquake. This is possibly what...

Submitted on 12 Feb 2019 by:

The Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) continued to have a strong presence at the annual American Geophysical Union (AGU) conference in December 2018. AGU welcomed 28,000 visitors and our booth had engaged 750 visitors from different countries and various continents. Many were keen to network with and discuss possible future collaborations with our scientists.

Our researchers gave 11 oral presentations, 34 poster presentations, as well as a town hall, with topics ranging from the fate of water on Mars to communicating coral skeletal data using microscopic images.

EOS PhD student Mr Stephen Chua won the Outstanding Student Presentation Award (OSPA) for his poster presentation on historic sea-level and coastal changes at Singapore’s Kallang River...

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 27 Dec 2018 by:

At approximately 9:30pm local time (2:30pm GMT) on the 22nd December 2018, a tsunami struck Indonesia’s Sunda Strait, which lies between the islands of Java and Sumatra, claiming over 430 lives. According to Indonesia’s disaster agency there are at least 1,500 injured, over 120 people still missing, and around 12,000 people have been displaced.

The tsunami occurred during a local holiday for the December solstice, striking a number of popular tourist destinations, including the Tanjung Lesung beach resort in the west of Java. Eyewitness reports indicate there were two separate waves, with the second, larger wave causing the most damage. 

The tsunami was caused by a violent eruption of Anak Krakatau (Fig. 1), the "child" of Krakatoa, in the Sunda Strait....

Submitted on 20 Dec 2018 by:

Dear EOS Community,

What a busy and exciting year for the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS). In early 2018, we kicked off the celebration of our 10thyear as a Research of Excellence at the Nanyang Techonological University (NTU). Marking a decade of geohazard research in Asia, EOS has built a team of outstanding scientists and staff to move the institution forward for years to come.

The celebration began with a much deserved party for our staff and faculty, in early May. People are the key to a successful institution and at EOS, we are no different. Our team of exemplary principal investigators are year-over-year conducting more critical research throughout Asia, which provide vital information to communities in at-risk areas.

Looking back on the past...

Submitted on 10 Dec 2018 by:

Even though sea-level rise (SLR) has been studied by scientists for more than 35 years in over 70 individual studies, global and local SLR projections remain uncertain. 

Why is this so? 

In the video below, Professor Benjamin Horton, Principal Investigator at the Earth Observatory of Singapore, explains why SLR projections do not accurately reflect current scientific knowledge and the consequences on climate science as a result. 


(Source of thumbnail image: Antoinette Jade/Earth Observatory of Singapore)

Submitted on 14 Nov 2018 by:

On Sunday (29 July 2018), I learnt about the strong 6.4-magnitude (M) earthquake in Lombok, Indonesia. As we have friends living there, I wanted to visit to see what aid we could organise for the people there. So my husband and I went to Lombok with some friends, and we linked up with other humanitarian aid groups to visit the Sembalun area, which is about 1,000 metres above sea level, at the foothills of Mount Rinjani, one of the most scenic volcanoes in the world.


At about 6.46 pm the following Sunday (5 August 2018), just as we had finished a meeting to prioritise the relief needs, an earthquake suddenly occurred. It was my first time experiencing a quake, and it really shook the foundations of what I knew about them.

I realised I had many...

Submitted on 24 Oct 2018 by:

Let’s face it – the use of plastics has been our way of life. How many of us (at least those in our twenties) can recall going to the wet market with our parents when we were young without using a single plastic bag? Probably none. That’s the way we were brought up.

But just because something has become habitual and is a social norm does not mean that it is right, or that it has to stay that way.

The effects of plastic pollution today are not unfamiliar to most. We see news of marine animals ingesting or being trapped in plastic debris, all over social and mainstream media. We know of studies that have found that microplastics are making their way into our food chain[1][2].

But exactly how much of this can we attribute to our daily lives? It is not common that we...

Submitted on 10 Oct 2018 by:

Published in Nature Geosciences on 1 October 2018, new research by a team of scientists from the Victoria University of Wellington and the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) has revealed how understanding the events leading up to the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake may lead to a different approach to forecasting earthquakes.

The Kaikoura earthquake, which measured Mw 7.8 in magnitude, had struck the South Island of New Zealand in 2016. It resulted in a rupture that stretched over 200 kilometres (km), ripping through 21 faults – a world record for the most number of faults observed to rupture in a single earthquake event.

It is now rightly regarded as the most complex earthquake ever to be studied, and has...

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...