CHEYENNE, Wyo.-Yellowstone National Park was jostled by a host of small earthquakes for a third straight day Monday, and scientists watched closely to see whether the more than 250 tremors were a sign of something bigger to come. Swarms of small earthquakes happen frequently in Yellowstone, but it's very unusual for so many earthquakes to happen over several days, said Robert Smith, a professor of geophysics at the University of Utah."They're certainly not normal," Smith said. "We haven't had earthquakes in this energy or extent in many years."Smith directs the Yellowstone Seismic Network, which operates seismic stations around the park. He said the quakes have ranged in strength from barely detectable to one of magnitude 3.8 that happened Saturday. A magnitude 4 quake is capable of producing moderate damage."This is an active volcanic and tectonic area, and these are the kinds of things we have to pay attention to," Smith said. "We might be seeing something precursory."Could it develop into a bigger fault or something related to hydrothermal activity? We don't know. That's what we're there to do, to monitor it for public safety."The strongest of dozens of tremors Monday was a magnitude 3.3 quake shortly after noon. All the quakes were centered beneath the northwest end of Yellowstone Lake.A park ranger based at the north end of the lake reported feeling nine quakes over a 24-hour period over the weekend, according to park spokeswoman Stacy Vallie. No damage was reported."There doesn't seem to be anything to be alarmed about,"Vallie said.Smith said it's difficult to say what might be causing the tremors. He pointed out that Yellowstone is the caldera of a volcano that last erupted 70,000 years ago.He said Yellowstone remains very geologically active-and its famous geysers and hot springs are a reminder that a pool of magma still exists five to 10 miles underground."That's just the surface manifestation of the enormous amount of heat that's being released through the system," he said.Yellowstone has had significant earthquakes as well as minor ones in recent decades. In 1959, a magnitude 7.5 quake near Hebgen Lake just west of the park triggered a landslide that killed 28 people. By MEAD GRUVER, Associated Press Writer Mead Gruver http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081230/ap_on_re_us/yellowstone_quakes As in the days of Noah...
Chinese President Hu Jintao (3rd L) smiles as he talks with family members of Ma Xizhi (2nd L) at Caijiagang Village of Xuankou Township in Wenchuan County, southwest China's Sichuan Province, Dec. 29, 2008. President Hu Jintao visited quake-hit Sichuan Province on Dec. 27-29, showing concern for survivors and inspecting reconstruction work. (Xinhua/Ju Peng)
CHENGDU-President Hu Jintao visited quake-hit Sichuan Province over the weekend, showing concern for survivors and inspecting reconstruction work as winter set in.It was Hu's second visit after the May 12 earthquake. Hu's last visit was on May 16, when quake relief work was in a critical phase.The 8.0-magnitude quake, centered in Wenchuan County, left more than 69,000 people dead, 374,000 injured, 18,000 missing and millions homeless. From Saturday to Monday, Hu visited reconstruction sites, factories, villages, resettlement centers, schools and clinics in battered Mianyang, Deyang, Chengdu and Aba,giving residents and those helping with rebuilding work new year's greetings. In villages and resettlement centers, Hu went into homes and even the kitchens and bedrooms of local people to see if they were warm enough and well-fed."The most important thing is to make sure all people are housed, have clothes and quilts to resist the cold, have enough food for the winter and coming spring, and medical service and epidemic prevention are in place," he said.At Caijiagang Village, Wenchuan, Hu asked villager Ma Xizhi to be aware of safety problems in using electricity and fire and told local officials to respect farmers' will in building new homes with government subsidies.At Guixi Middle School in Beichuan County, the president encouraged the students to study hard to repay society's concern. He told workers who were rebuilding the school to ensure the quality of the buildings and make them safe and solid.Hu also inspected the progress of industrial and agricultural reconstruction in the quake areas.At Dongfang Steam Turbine Works, a large state-owned enterprise, he asked about losses and the recovery of production, urging the employees to speed up the reconstruction and develop the facility into a world-class electric equipment manufacturer.Many Dongfang employees were killed in the quake. Hu told the officials to pay visits to victims' families during the upcoming festivals and help them solve problems.The central government has introduced policies to support agricultural recovery, Hu said at a herb production base in Huaxi Village, Dujiangyan. He encouraged growers to make good use of these policies and technology to recover losses from the quake.The president also expressed respect to workers at reconstruction sites. In Hanwang Township, he praised workers for their hard work and encouraged them to live up to the expectations of the quake region and get their jobs done with high quality and efficiency. With the accelerating reconstruction work, demand for construction materials has grown. Hu visited a supply station in Dujiangyan, urging abundant supply and stable prices to serve local needs.En route to Yingxiu Township, Hu encountered dozens of military vehicles transporting reconstruction material to the quake zone, part of the Chengdu Military District's 1,000-vehicle logistics task force.Hu praised the soldiers for their contribution to the quake relief and reconstruction, asking them to overcome difficulties and finish the job.While in Sichuan, Hu also met with provincial officials, encouraging them to fully implement the central government's reconstruction policies.He told them to put people first, respect nature and seek a balance in speed and quality in rebuilding.The great quake relief spirits formed in China's fight against the tremendous disaster are very precious, he said, urging the promotion of such spirits among officials at a time of difficulty as an inspiration.
CHARLESTON, S.C.-A weak earthquake shook parts of the South Carolina coast Tuesday, tipping over people's Christmas trees, knocking pictures off walls and causing minor injuries. The temblor with a preliminary magnitude of 3.6 was recorded at 7:42 a.m. northwest of Charleston, according to the Earthquake Hazards Program of the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colo. The epicenter was about 4 miles from Summerville near a fault blamed for the deadly 1886 Charleston quake which killed more than 100.Summerville police Sgt. Cassandra Williams said the department had received no reports of damage but she felt the rattling herself for a few seconds."I was sitting in the parking lot getting my cup of coffee...and I felt my trunk shaking. I thought who in the world is shaking my trunk like that?"Dennis Clark, director of the Dorchester County Emergency Management Department, said his office received scattered reports of pictures falling from walls and Christmas trees tipping over.He said emergency workers responded to two reports of minor injuries. A pregnant woman fell during the shaking and worried about her unborn child. Also, a child fell out of a stool or high chair and hit his head.Initially, the earthquake's center was reported southeast of Goose Creek but was later adjusted farther northwest. It was about 3 miles below the earth's surface, said Carrieanne Bedwell, a seismologist with hazards program.The 1886 quake was a magnitude 7.3 destroying about $5 million worth of property, worth $103 million when adjusted for inflation.Bedwell said the last temblor in the Charleston area that could be felt was a 2.6 magnitude in November of 2005.Steve Jaume, an associate professor of geology at the College of Charleston, said between 20 and 30 earthquakes usually affect the area each year but most are so weak they can't be felt. By BRUCE SMITH, Associated Press Writer http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081216/ap_on_re_us/sc_earthquake;_ylt=AhA7WLXonafzkq53F3n2SaMJKekE
3.6 M - SOUTH CAROLINA Preliminary Earthquake Report Magnitude 3.6 M Date-Time 16 Dec 2008 12:42:15 UTC 16 Dec 2008 07:42:15 near epicenter 16 Dec 2008 06:42:15 standard time in your timezone Location 32.970N 79.997W Depth 5 km Distances 4 km (3 miles) SE (134 degrees) of Goose Creek, SC 6 km (4 miles) N (359 degrees) of Hanahan, SC 10 km (6 miles) N (11 degrees) of North Charleston, SC 146 km (90 miles) NE (45 degrees) of Savannah, GA 222 km (138 miles) SSE (162 degrees) of JAARS, NC Location Uncertainty Horizontal: 23.1 km; Vertical Parameters Nph = 14; Dmin = 22.7 km; Rmss = 1.11 seconds; Gp = 234°M-type = M; Version = 6 Event ID US 2008arar For updates, maps, and technical information, see: Event Page or U.S.G.S. Earthquake Hazards Program National Earthquake Information CenterU.S. Geological Survey
TOKYO-A 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of northern Japan on Thursday, the Meteorological Agency said. There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.The quake hit Thursday morning off the coast of Miyagi, about 180 miles north of Tokyo, the agency said. It struck at a depth of about six miles.The agency said there was no danger of a tsunami from the earthquake.Masakazu Murakami, an official in charge of disaster management in Miyagi, said the quake caused no damage to utilities such as water, electricity, gas and telephone lines."I was in the office when the quake hit this morning. But I did not feel any tremors," Murakami said.A police official in Miyagi said authorities there had not received any reports of damage or casualties. The official spoke on condition of anonymity, citing department policy. Japan is one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries.The most recent major quake in Japan killed more than 6,400 people in the western port city of Kobe in January 1995.Experts believe Tokyo has a 90 percent chance of being hit by a major quake over the next 50 years.