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In The News

Ray Russo: The Conversation

Seismologists deploy after a quake to learn more, so we can prepare for the next one
May 1 2015

An article by Geological Sciences Associate Professor Ray Russo discussing how seismologists study earthquakes as they occur in hope of determining the expected maximum magnitude earthquake a region might experience in future was published on The Conversation (a website designed to help academics share their knowledge). Seismologists' goal is developing the ability to forecast the time, place, and magnitude of a future earthquake so people living nearby could be alerted in advance to protect themselves and the infrastructure. So far, despite the wealth of information that has been collected, that goal remains elusive.

This is because fault zones where earthquakes occur are complex, Russo said. They are composed of varied materials and have irregular surfaces. Although some motion on faults occurs constantly, the researchers have not yet found a consistent precursory change that heralds the onset of a big earthquake. Russo said the recent major earthquake in Nepal had been expected based on an even larger magnitude quake that occurred there in 1934. He recommends "a program of identification and characterization of potentially hazardous faults in urban areas. From those studies, site-specific expected seismic shaking maps can be developed and construction codes and engineering design specifications for infrastructure enacted, mitigating hazard to new and future construction." For the full article, go here.

Andrea Dutton: Gainesville Sun

Far-flung fossils give UF researchers global warming clues
January 13, 2015

Geological Sciences Assistant Professor Andrea Dutton's work studying fossil corals in the Seychelles Islands for clues to sea level rise was reported in the Gainesville Sun. The study, published in January's Quaternary Science Review, was partially funded by the National Science Foundation. The Seychelles were chosen for this research because sea levels there match average global sea levels well. Her research team found fossil evidence that sea levels were 20 to 30 feet higher than they are now during a warm period 125,000 years ago when many coastal areas including most of South Florida were underwater. She found that the melting of the Antarctic ice sheet was the major contributor to this rise, a situation that may repeat itself in the future.

A similar story appeared in the Independent Florida Alligator with additional stories on the topic online at SeychellesNewsAgency.com, Futurity.org, ReportingClimateScience.com, Phys.org, ScienceDaily.com, OMICSonline.org, NewsForAfrica.com, GaiaNews.it, FLRnet.org, Futura-Sciences.com and NatureWorldNews.com.

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