Landslides in Nepal

On May 12th 2015, while volunteering with The Salvation Army in Nepal, Michael and his team were hiking in the Sindhupalchowk area trying to reach some isolated villages in the region to see what kind of support could be offered. This are was very close to the epicenter of the 7.3 earthquake that struck that day. Earthquakes in Nepal are notorious for triggering landslides, which kill many Nepalese each year. This footage shows the dangers and magnitude of landslides which can be triggered by earthquakes in this area.

Advertisements

Earthquake resistant bamboo houses for sustainable development

By Dalmeet Singh Chawla

Governments should pay more attention to the role that bamboo and rattan can play in building more sustainable and greener economies, a pressure group has told a UN meeting.

“Bamboo and rattan are not always seen as tools to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals. We believe they bring major opportunities,” the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), an intergovernmental group based in Beijing, China, told the UN Forum on Forests in New York, United States earlier this month.

“Modern bamboo houses are more flexible in an earthquake, as they flex and absorb some of the energy.”

Hans Friederich, International Network for Bamboo and Rattan

For example, bamboo can reduce soil erosion and restore degraded lands, and ultimately help protect the livelihoods of people who depend on forest ecosystems. Products derived from the two plants could also bring income to millions of people in developing countries, the group says.

INBAR, which has 40 member states, called on policymakers to include bamboo and rattan in their action plans for forest development.

Construction of a 100% bamboo house in Martinique, certified earthquake and cyclone resistant. Credit: J'ai pris cette photo

Construction of a 100% bamboo house in Martinique, certified earthquake and cyclone resistant.
Credit: J’ai pris cette photo

INBAR also presented the Global Assessment of Bamboo and Rattan, an initiative that aims to exchange knowledge and data about bamboo and rattan. The assessment is expected to be launched at the World Forestry Congress in Durban, South Africa, in September 2015.

Bamboo and rattan grow across much of the developing world, including in many equatorial countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. They make good alternatives to wood charcoal and cotton fibres, and bamboo can be burned or used in biogas systems to provide a sustainable source of bio-energy.

Bamboo can grow at a rate of up to one metre per day, and can be harvested for productive use after 3-7 years, compared with 10-15 years for conventional trees. Hence, using bamboo as a replacement for other wood would lead to fewer trees being cut down for processing, INBAR says.

“Because bamboo grows quickly it also absorbs carbon quickly, and is what we call a strategic forest resource in the battle against climate change,” says Hans Friederich, director general of INBAR.

But Ramadhani Achdiawan, a researcher from the Centre for International Forestry Research in Indonesia, underlines the importance of forest planning for the long term if countries want to use bamboo and rattan for economic growth. For instance, Achdiawan says that “rattan needs trees to support its growth, so maintaining big trees in forests is very important”.

In its statement, INBAR also told UN representatives about bamboo and rattan’s potential as construction materials to build strong houses and furniture that will withstand natural disasters.

“The recent terrible earthquake in Nepal has highlighted the need to build better for natural disasters,” Friederich says. “Modern bamboo houses are more flexible in an earthquake, as they flex and absorb some of the energy.”

This article was originally published on SciDev.Net. Read the original article.

//

When continents collide: Active deformation and seismic hazard

Since 1900, 35 earthquakes worldwide have each killed at least 10,000 people. Of these, 26 were in the Alpine-Himalayan seismic belt – a broad “crumple zone” where the African, Arabian and Indian tectonic plates collide with Europe and Asia. Most of these deadly earthquakes were caused by the rupture of faults that had not previously been identified.

CGS scientist Tim Wright is Professor of Satellite Geodesy at the University of Leeds and Director of the Natural Environment Research Council’s Centre for the Observation and Modelling of Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Tectonics (COMET). His work has been at the forefront of developing the use of satellite radar for measuring tectonic and volcanic deformation.

Tim was recently invited to present a guest lecture at the Geological Society on his work trying to understand the nature of seismic hazard within the Alpine-Himalayan region.

You can follow Tim on twitter: @timwright_leeds

Nepal earthquake lowered Everest by up to 2.5 cm

Further analysis of the newly processed sentinel-1 satellite radar data shows that the area around the Kathmandu region was uplifted in the earthquake, while the area to the north of Kathmandu sunk (subsided).

The red region in the image below shows uplift while the faint blues to the north indicate subsidence. Mount Everest is located to the northeast of Kathamndu.

Processed Sentinel 1 results of the Nepal earthquake deformation. red = mostly subsidence, blue = mostly uplift.  Source: Pablo Gonzalez – LiCS/COMET+

Processed Sentinel-1 results of the Nepal earthquake deformation. red = mostly uplift, blue = mostly subsidence.
Source: Pablo GonzalezLiCS/COMET+

 

The image was produced by COMET researchers at the University of Leeds as part of the Look Inside the Continents from Space (LiCS) project led by CGS scientist Professor Tim Wright.

New computer modelling results estimate that the amount of lowering experienced in the Everest region could be up to 2.5cm. These numbers are very preliminary and will be verified over the coming days with further research.

Clearer sentinel 1 image of Nepal earthquake deformation

A new clearer sentinel 1 satellite image has been produced by COMET researchers as part of the Look Inside the Continents from Space (LiCS) project led by CGS scientist Professor Tim Wright.

For Tim Wright’s preliminary interpretation of the results see our previous post.

Sentinel 1 image of the Nepal earthquake deformation. Source: John Elliot - LiCS/COMET

Sentinel 1 image of the Nepal earthquake deformation. 1 colour fringe = 10cm of ground deformation.
Source: John ElliotLiCS/COMET+

First Sentinel 1 satellite results for Nepal earthquake

The first coseismic sentinel 1 satellite results have now been processed by researchers in the InSARap project.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

[edit] For a sharper image of the ground deformation see our latest post.

Tim Wright, CGS scientist and professor of satellite geodesy at the University of Leeds has provided a preliminary interpretation of the new results.

1. The earthquake ruptured East from the epicentre, confirming the observations from seismology.

2. Peak displacement is very close to Kathmandu; the fault under the city slipped significantly.

3. An area at least 120×50 km uplifted, with a maximum slip greater than 1m

4. The fault did not rupture the surface.

5. Area north of Kathmandu subsides. Consistent with elastic rebound from shallow thrust.
[CORRECTION]: The area around Kathmandu is uplifted in the earthquake

6. Overall, area at least 120 x100 km moved. Sentinel-1 data invaluable at this scale.

8 million in need of humanitarian aid in Nepal

8 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in Nepal after a powerful magnitude 7.8 earthquake shook the country on April 25th, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian affairs (UN OCHA).

Key numbers in need of aid. Source: UN OCHA

Key numbers in need of aid.
Source: UN OCHA

Click on the image below for a link to how best to donate towards aid efforts in Nepal.

More information:
[1] http://www.unocha.org/nepal

Nepal earthquake: The story so far

Key points:

A powerful magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal on April 25, causing extensive damage in the capital Kathmandu and neighbouring cities with a death toll at the time of writing of more than 3,700.

The earthquake triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest, which swept away several base camps and killed 18 people.

The Nepalese government has declared a state of emergency and requested international assistance.

At approximately 11:56 local time on April 25, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck central Nepal. The earthquake occurred at a shallow depth between 10 to 15km according to the USGS. The epicentre was located 77km northwest of Nepal’s capital city Kathmandu. Several dozen aftershocks followed the main event, the largest of which  was a magnitude 6.7 northeast of Kathmandu on April 26th.

The shallow earthquake depth coupled with the large magnitude resulted in high intensity ground shaking over a very large area (approximately ~75,000 square km around the epicentre). The affected countries include Nepal, India, China and Bangladesh.

Some images of the destruction caused by the Nepal earthquake. Source: Google

Some images of the destruction caused by the Nepal earthquake. Source: Google

 

At the time of writing, the international media report a death toll of at least 3,700. Mostly caused due to collapsed structures. Search and rescue is on-going. The Government of Nepal (GoN) has declared a state of emergency for earthquake affected areas and requested international assistance. GoN-identified priority needs include search-and-rescue capacity, medical assistance, rubble-removal equipment, and logistical support for transport to difficult-to-access areas, according to the UN.

Damage:

The earthquake has caused extensive region wide damage to several cities in Nepal including the districts Lamjung, Gorkha and around the Kathmandu region. Initial observations in Kathmandu by locals and reported on social media, claim that about 20 percent of all buildings in Kathmandu were damaged or destroyed. The earthquake also damaged roads and other public infrastructure.

Earthquake shaking intensity map.  Source: USGS

Earthquake shaking intensity map.
Source: USGS

Avalanche on Everest:

The high intensity earthquake shaking triggered an avalanche on the slopes of Mount Everest. The avalanche swept away and completely destroyed part of the Everest base camp. The popular route through the Khumbu ice fall was blocked trapping climbers further up at camps 1 and 2. Initially reports arrived of dozens of missing and trapped climbers. 18 people were killed and evacuations are under way to bring all other climbers back down from the mountain.

Written by Ekbal Hussain

More information:
[1] http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/us20002926#general_summary
[2] http://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2015/apr/27/nepal-earthquake-rescue-efforts-thousands-seek-shelter-rolling-report
[3] Twitter on the #NepalQuake hash tag
[4] Nepal earthquake People Finder: http://google.org/personfinder/2015-nepal-earthquake

Jobs at the International Seismological Centre (ISC)

ISCOur friends at the International Seismological Centre (ISC) have asked us to advertise the following three job adverts. Note that the closing date is 26th April for two of the three posts.

SENIOR ANALYST / SEISMOLOGIST
Job reference number: SA-2015
Application deadline: April 26, 2015
Expertise: seismic bulletins, seismicity, tectonics
Start Date: August 2015
Benefits: £29-35K per annum gross, 6 weeks paid annual leave, attending an international conference annually.
Location: Thatcham, Berkshire, U.K.
Term: 3 years with a strong possibility of continuation.
Employer description: International Seismological Centre (ISC) is a non-profit organization, collecting and analysing earthquake bulletin data for distribution worldwide.
Job description: Analysing and revising the earthquake parameters in the ISC Bulletin, advising members of the analysis team and taking part in the ISC development projects.
Job requirements: We are looking for a university graduate with solid experience in observational seismology at a local, regional and global scale; knowledge of world seismicity patterns and general tectonics; dedicated meticulous attitude to data; an ability to work as part of a friendly international team and a good command of English.
To apply: please send your CV and a covering letter focussed on your experience relevant to the job requirements and the names and e-mail addresses of two referees to admin@isc.ac.uk quoting the specific job reference number SA-2015. Applications failing to address the above requests will not be considered.

QUANTITATIVE GEOPHYSICIST
Job reference number: EL-2015
Application Deadline and Start Date: This position will remain open until a suitable candidate has been found.
Expertise: methods of earthquake location
Benefits: starting salary of £29-31K per annum gross, 6 weeks paid annual leave, attending an international conference annually.
Location: Thatcham, Berkshire, U.K.
Term: 3 years with a strong possibility of continuation.
Employer description: International Seismological Centre (ISC) is a non-profit organization, collecting and analysing earthquake bulletin data for distribution worldwide.
Job description: Advancing the global earthquake location algorithms and improving the datasets at the ISC.
Job requirements: We are looking for an MSc or PhD graduate in Geophysics or an equivalent field with strong skills in numerical analysis to work under general guidance from experienced seismologists. The successful candidate will have skills in using modern programming languages, including C. Familiarity with global tectonics would be an advantage.
To apply: please send your CV and a covering letter focussed on the job requirements and the names and e-mail addresses of two referees to admin@isc.ac.uk quoting the specific job reference number EL-2015. Applications failing to address the above requests will not be considered.

SEISMOLOGIST
Job reference number: DC-2015
Application deadline: April 26, 2015
Expertise: data collection
Start Date: August 2015
Benefits: £27-31K per annum gross, 6 weeks paid annual leave, attending an international conference annually.
Location: Thatcham, Berkshire, U.K.
Term: 3 years with a strong possibility of continuation.
Employer description: International Seismological Centre (ISC) is a non-profit organization, collecting and analysing earthquake bulletin data for distribution worldwide.
Job description: Enhancing the work of the ISC analysis and data entry teams by communicating with networks, identifying, sourcing, integrating and validating new seismological bulletin datasets from permanent and temporary deployments worldwide as well as scanning scientific literature for possible new sources of data to enhance the ISC Bulletin.
Job requirements: We are looking for a university graduate with experience in observational seismology, excellent communication skills and experience in developing basic computer codes for parsing data into the relational database. Good command of English is required. Working knowledge of other widely spoken languages would be an advantage.
To apply: please send your CV and a covering letter focussed on your experience relevant to the job requirements and the names and e-mail addresses of two referees to admin@isc.ac.uk quoting the specific job reference number DC-2015. Applications failing to address the above requests will not be considered.