I received an email a little while ago that said that there was a theory going the rounds on various internet sites that, not only has there been a significant increase in world seismicity this year, there is a conspiracy in the seismological community to conceal this. I thought it was deeply ironic, given that [...]

If you have an iPhone

This announcement from BCSF looks interesting:

The French seismological central office (BCSF), attached to the University of Strasbourg and certified system of observation of the national Institute of Sciences of the universe (INSU-CNRS) has just created SismoCom, the first application available on iPhone and iPod Touch dedicated to the report about the effects of earthquakes.

SismoCom allows [...]

Hazard values

The definition of seismic hazard in the previous post can actually be written two different ways:

Hazard is the probability that a certain strength of earthquake shaking will occur at a place.
Hazard is the strength of shaking that has a certain probability of occurring at a place.

Obviously, one is just the inverse of the other. However, [...]


To most people outside the seismological or earthquake engineering communities, the terms “seismic hazard” and “seismic risk” (or “earthquake hazard/risk”) probably seem interchangable. But within the profession, they have distinct meanings, and woe betide if they get misused. Specifically:

Hazard is the probability that a certain strength of earthquake shaking will occur at a place.
Vulnerability is [...]


With so much confusion about how to pronounce Eyjafjallajökull, it’s surprising the media are not using the volcano’s other name, Eyjafjöll, which is rather easier to remember …

Volcanic ash over the UK

With UK air space closed due to the ash cloud from the eruption of Eyjafjöll in Iceland, and ash falling in Shetland and Orkney, it might be worth recalling the last time an ashfall in the UK occurred. It was in 1755, and the volcano in question was another subglacial one, a neighbour of Eyjafjöll, [...]


One thing I didn’t mention in the NY Times piece – there is another reason why some people act disappointed when they are told that earthquakes are not any more frequent. This is because they have in mind Matthew xxiv:7 “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall [...]

Recent earthquakes

With the current spurt of newsworthy earthquakes over the last few months, the usual “are earthquakes getting more frequent?” questions are surfacing again – hence this piece in the NY Times.

Wednesday in Easter Week

“On Wednesday in Easter Week …” is a common beginning of accounts of the earthquake of 6 April 1580 in the Dover Straits, that did much damage in SE England and NE France. This year, the 430th anniversary, Wednesday in Easter Week falls on 7th April, one day out.

It was certainly one of the largest [...]


I created a Facebook account earlier this year and never did anything with it, so yesterday I logged on to it for the first time since then, to put up a link to this blog. Up came a list of people that Facebook thought I might like to add as friends. I was quite amazed [...]