Earth Observatory Blog

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 03 Oct 2018 by:
The Singapore Series on Sea-Level Rise, a special blog series by four Masters students from the University of Melbourne.

Our previous blog posts in the Singapore Series on Sea-Level Rise discussed the science behind sea-level rise, as well as the effects on Singapore as global temperatures increase and sea levels rise. If you have missed reading our first two blogs, you can find them here:

The Science of Sea-Level Rise: How Climate Change will Hurt Singapore

Why Your Chicken Rice Depends on Sea-Level Rise

These blog posts should make it clear that Singapore is...

Submitted on 02 Oct 2018 by:

On 28 September 2018, central Sulawesi in Indonesia got struck by a powerful earthquake measuring 7.5 in magnitude (M). A tsunami that followed later devastated the city of Palu and the town of Donggala, leaving more than a thousand dead and even more homeless.

Associate Professor Adam Switzer, a Principal Investigator at the Earth Observatory, shares with us why this earthquake-tsunami event is a complicated one and what you can do to stay as safe as possible if you were ever caught up in one.

Submitted on 25 Sep 2018 by:

Every year, millions of tourists travel to east Africa to watch millions of wildebeest, zebra, and other animals travel across the plains in one of the last “pristine” environments in world. 

What they might not realise is that around 3,500 years ago, this area of the world was also home to people who primarily subsisted on food produced by their cattle, sheep, and goats. Although these migrations of wildlife are often foremost in popular imaginings of the east African plains, a growing body of research shows that both ancient and modern pastoral societies have also had a hand in shaping parts of the east African grasslands.

A team of archaeologists, including Dr Michael Storozum, a Research...

Submitted on 22 Jun 2018 by:

Tidal wetlands in the contiguous US can store roughly 800 million tons of carbon in their soils. That is the latest estimate from a team of over 30 scientists, including Professor Benjamin Horton and Dr Tim Shaw from the Earth Observatory of Singapore and the Asian School of the Environment, published on 21 June 2018 in Nature Scientific Reports

Wetlands are one of humanity’s best defenses against climate change. Besides shielding cities from extreme weather like hurricanes, wetlands can also store massive amounts of carbon — up to 10 times faster than upland forests, according to some estimates. This carbon, known as “blue carbon,” has become a buzzword among those looking to protect the coasts from the...

Submitted on 03 May 2018 by:

Some eruptions are so large, and discharge so much magma (molten rock), that the roof of the magma chamber can no longer support itself. When the roof collapses, it forms a big hole in the ground called a caldera. One such volcano is Santorini, in Greece, whose distinctive ring shape was formed by multiple caldera collapses.

We studied the Cape Riva eruption of Santorini, an eruption of at least 10 km3 of magma —enough to cover all of Singapore to a depth of at least 14 m. We wanted to know how long it takes to assemble the magma that eventually gets erupted at the surface in a caldera-forming eruption like the Cape Riva. Do these magma reservoirs slowly grow over tens of thousands of years, or are they emplaced more rapidly? Knowing what...

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...

Submitted on 21 Dec 2017 by:

Dear EOS Community,

As the year comes to a close, I’d like to thank you for your continued interest and support in the research, initiatives and programs being conducted here at the Earth Observatory. Over the past year, your increased engagement has helped us to better understand your interests in geohazard research and provide content to meet them. From publications to awards and new blog series, here is a look back on a few highlights from 2017.

As data from the Mentawai Earthquake Gap—Tsunami Earthquake Risk Assessment (MEGA-TERA) marine expedition carried out in 2015 was being analysed and while new data from the Marine Investigation of the Rupture Anatomy of the 2012 Great Earthquake (MIRAGE) expedition was being collected in 2016, we were already planning a third...

Submitted on 17 Aug 2017 by:

When I was a kid, I was introduced to the tragedy that climate change can bring. Massive floods and superstorms ravaged New York City right before my eyes. ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ was showing on TV, and there in the living room, I received my first education on the threat of climate change.

Granted, the over-the-top depictions of climate change in the movie will make any climate scientist raise an eyebrow. But for myself and others my age, such movies were possibly our earliest and most gripping encounters with the concept of climate change.

The media continues to be important for making climate change feel relevant and interesting to people. This is, in part, due to the constant influence of media in our lives, and also because climate change can otherwise be...

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