Alaskan coast

Wiens, Shore to study seismic activity on Alaskan coast

Douglas Wiens, the Robert S. Brookings Distinguished Professor in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, and Patrick Shore, staff scientist and lecturer in earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences, will collaborate with eight other institutions on a $4.5 million National Science Foundation study of a volatile volcano and earthquake zone on the sea floor off the Alaskan Peninsula.

2010 Chilean earthquake triggered icequakes in Antarctica

In March 2010, the ice sheets in Antarctica vibrated a bit more than usual as a surface wave from an 8.8-magnitude earthquake in Chile 3,000 kilometers away passed through the ice. Powerful earthquakes were known to trigger secondary quakes along faults in land; this was the first observation of triggered quakes in the ice. Washington University in St. Louis seismologist Doug Wiens says the finding is one of several discoveries made possible by POLENET, an array of seismic stations that reaches for the first time into the interior of Antarctica.

Storms, soccer matches hidden in seismometer noise

Who knew? The chance discovery that spikes in seismometer noise recorded in Africa corresponded with soccer matches has led to the discovery that there’s a lot more buried in the noise, including a signal from the famous storms of the Southern Atlantic Ocean, the bane of ships of sail.

Data show Antarctic ice stream radiating seismically

Image courtesy of Doug WiensDouglas Wiens (left), and a colleague ready equipment to emplace seismographs in Antarctica during a 2001 expedition.A seismologist at Washington University in St. Louis along with colleagues at Pennsylvania State University and Newcastle University in the United Kingdom have found seismic signals from a giant river of ice in Antarctica that make California’s earthquake problem seem trivial. Douglas A. Wiens, Ph.D., professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences, and colleagues combined seismological and global positioning system (GPS) analyses to reveal two bursts of seismic waves from an ice stream in Antarctica every day, each one equivalent to a magnitude seven earthquake.

Earthquake in Illinois could portend an emerging threat

Two seismologists at Washington University in St. Louis think the New Madrid Fault may have seen its day and the Wabash Fault is the new kid on the block. “I think everyone’s interested in the Wabash Valley Fault because a lot of the attention has been on the New Madrid Fault, but the Wabash Valley Fault could be the more dangerous one, at least for St. Louis and Illinois,” said Doug Wiens, professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences. “The strongest earthquakes in the last few years have come from the Wabash Valley Fault, which needs more investigation.”

Earthquake seminar addresses ways to lessen damage

The Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Structural Engineering continues its series of seminars and workshops on the topic of reducing the damage that would occur if a strong earthquake strikes the New Madrid fault area again. The first program covered subjects of hazards, codes, vulnerability and strengthening of infrastructure. The speakers were practicing engineers and […]

Study: Wireless sensors limit earthquake damage

Shirley Dyke (left) and Pengcheng Wang adjust wireless sensors onto a model laboratory building in Dyke’s laboratory. An earthquake engineer at Washington University in St. Louis has successfully performed the first test of wireless sensors in the simulated structural control of a model laboratory building. Shirley J. Dyke, Ph.D., the Edward C. Dicke Professor of Civil Engineering and director of the Washington University Structural Control and Earthquake Engineering Laboratory, combined the wireless sensors with special controls called magnetorheological dampers to limit damage from a simulated earthquake load. More…

Tonga quake not conducive to tsunami

The figure shows the dynamics of a slab-tear earthquake (top), compared with a shallow thrust earthquake (bottom). The slab-tearing event typically doesn’t feature an accompanying tsunami.Seismologists at Washington University in St. Louis and their colleagues in Australia, Japan and Tonga have determined why a large earthquake in Tonga did not cause a large tsunami. A tsunami warning was issued around the Pacific Rim following the magnitude 8.0 earthquake on May 3, 2006, but the resulting tsunami was very minor and caused no damage.