Earth Observatory Blog

Submitted on 06 May 2021 by:

The magnitude-9 earthquake and associated tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011 illustrates the devastating power of earthquakes from subduction zones – boundaries where two tectonic plates converge, as one plate dives beneath the other. These are earthquake-prone regions that pose a threat to millions of people worldwide, especially in Southeast Asia. To help forecast such hazards, two new studies from the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) investigated how these subduction zones work. The studies, published in Nature Geoscience, show that existing hazard assessments from subduction zones worldwide need to be updated.

Earthquake and tsunami assessments mostly rely on our knowledge of past events and of physical processes describing how one plate dives under the other...

Submitted on 06 Apr 2021 by:

In conversation with Assistant Professor Judith Hubbard, Principal Investigator at the Earth Observatory of Singapore

1. Why it is important to understand tsunami generation? Recent earthquakes in New Zealand triggered tsunami warnings along coastal communities, yet no tsunamis resulted. Why was this so?  

These recent events in New Zealand highlight the fact that tsunami warning systems have to do two things: first, they have to identify which earthquakes can produce tsunamis, and second, figure out which earthquakes won’t. This is difficult to do because the process of tsunami generation is complex and depends on a lot of factors.

In general, when people talk about an earthquake, they are referring to the shaking that we feel as a result of a...

Submitted on 26 Mar 2021 by:

Ostracods are aquatic crustaceans that range from 0.2 to 30 milimetres in size. Did you know that that these tiny creatures, also known as seed shrimp, can be used to indicate the pollution levels in lagoons in Southeast Asia?

This is the main finding of our new study published in Environmental Pollution, which uses ostracods collected from a coastal lagoon in Vietnam.

Ostracods produce a skeleton on the outside of their bodies that consists of two valves that open and close like a mussel shell. The shells are formed of calcium carbonate and are easily fossilised in the sediments in which they live. Ostracods first appeared 485 million years ago and their species can be found in a wide...

Submitted on 18 Mar 2021 by:

Singapore is known as one of the safest places in the world. Why, then, would we choose Singapore as a case study for developing new methods for disaster risk reduction?

People tend to be surprised when a natural hazard occurs and shocked when disastrous impacts follow. We wanted to create a new framework that can help preempt such surprise. We developed a guided process to explore potential outcomes that we do not naturally want to consider due to our optimistic human nature. And, regarded as one of the world’s safest countries, where could be a more surprising location for a disaster to happen other than Singapore?

First, we needed to better quantify and understand the past disasters Singapore has experienced. We started by looking into the past records of...

Submitted on 10 Mar 2021 by:

Palm oil is indispensable to us but it is associated with environmental and social problems, such as land conflicts, deforestation, and haze. Does certifying palm oil help alleviate some of these problems?

A team led by Assistant Professor Janice Lee, a Principal Investigator at the Earth Observatory of Singapore, recently published a study in Environmental Research Letters presenting the impacts of palm oil certification on the environment and the development of Indonesia.

The team evaluated the outcomes from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a non-profit organisation that developed a set of criteria for palm oil certification. While certification systems work to protect the...

Submitted on 22 Feb 2021 by:

Last December, the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) celebrated the 10th anniversary of its collaboration with the Centre for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM).

Over the past decade, EOS and CVGHM have shared knowledge, expertise, and adventures through fieldwork, workshops, and publications.

"This long-term collaboration has enabled us to refine eruption histories, unravel magma storage conditions and eruption dynamics, further our understanding of related geophysical signals, and evaluate the implications in terms of hazards in one of the most populated and volcanologically active regions of the world," said Assistant Professor Caroline Bouvet de la Maisonneuve, a Principal Investigator at EOS.

Dr Hanik Humaida, Head of the...

Submitted on 29 Dec 2020 by:

Dear EOS Community,

This year has been an extraordinary one and has been challenging for many, but it has demonstrated how resilient and innovative we can be in response to unique circumstances during this “new normal”. We continued addressing critical questions in Earth science, conducted more research in Singapore than ever before, and brought our science to the public with two exhibitions and a documentary series in collaboration with our partners.

EOS Leadership Transition

I am indebted to Director Emeritus Kerry Sieh for founding EOS and for inviting me to be part of the team in Singapore three years ago. Kerry’s legacy is a world-class research institute, dedicated to...

Submitted on 21 Dec 2020 by:

In conversation with Dr Karen Lythgoe, Research Fellow at the Earth Observatory of Singapore

 

1. What area of earth science do you study and monitor?

I am a seismologist at the Earth Observatory of Singapore at Nanyang Technological University, where I monitor and study earthquake hazards and sub-surface imaging both for the deep and the shallow earth. I apply seismology to important Earth science problems, including earthquake processes, Earth structure and dynamics, and smart city development.

2. What opportunities exist to capture heat from the deep earth to create low carbon energy and reduce the emission of greenhouse gases?

Recently there was ...

Submitted on 07 Dec 2020 by:

In conversation with Dr Kyle Bradley, Principal Investigator at the Earth Observatory of Singapore

 

1. Can you tell us about your work on geohazards and the interesting parallels between in Southeast Asia and Alaska?

At the Earth Observatory of Singapore, I study the active faults of Southeast Asia and their associated geohazards. We are increasingly aware that rapidly changing environments can produce surprising hazards that can lie undetected for a long time until they are triggered by sudden events like earthquakes or large rainfalls.

Recently we learned about a very interesting geohazard case in Alaska, where scientists have identified a potential tsunami that could possibly be produced by a landslide along the Alaskan coast. Here at the Earth...

Submitted on 23 Sep 2020 by:

In conversation with Fangyi Tan, PhD student, Sea Level Research team at the Earth Observatory of Singapore

 

1. Will melting ice sheets in such quantities pose a threat to Southeast Asia in the future? 

recent study found that the Earth has lost a staggering 28 trillion tonnes of ice between 1994 and 2017. The scientists commented in a related news article that the melting of glaciers and ice sheets could cause sea levels to rise by as much as a metre by the end of this century.

One metre may not sound like a lot...

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