john's picture

Queen Charlotte Islands Earthquake (2012)

Yesterday a magnitude M7.7 earthquake occurred at 8:04 pm local time on the Queen Charlotte Islands fault system near Haida Gwaii, Canada.  This event occurred near the junction of a series of spreading centers (mid ocean ridge) with the Queen Charlotte Islands strike slip plate boundary.  Historically, most of the earthquakes in this region have a sense of motion that is parallel to the plate boundary.  These are called "right lateral strike slip" earthquakes.  Yesterday's event actually had normal faulting mechanism, characteristic of local crustal tension. 

john's picture

The APEC Cooperation for Earthquake Simulations

The ACES group has been meeting at various sites around the Pacific Rim since 1998.  Started by Professor Peter Mora from the University of Queensland, the organization was approved by the Industrial Science and Technology Working Group of APEC at the 1997 Singapore meeting.  The first meeting was held at UQ in Brisbane, AU, and Noosa Heads, on the Gold Coast. It was a memorable meeting with many of the worlds' leading seismologists in attendance. Details can be found at:

john's picture

Earthquake Prediction in Italy

The news on earthquakes was dominated today by the conviction of 7 Italian seismologists on charges of manslaughter for failing to adequately convey the risk of earthquakes during the April 6, 2009 L'Aquila earthquake sequence [1,2].  News stories characterize the reason for the conviction as failing to predict the magnitude 6.3 earthquake in which 308 persons perished. 

john's picture

Increase in Earthquake Probabilities in Southern California

The earthquake viewer tool can be used to plot contours of equal probability (chance of an earthquake) globally, as well as regionally in California and Japan.  The global forecast is a lower resolution forecast for earthquakes having magnitudes M>6.5 within the next year from today.  The regional higher resolution forecast for California is for earthquakes having magnitudes M>5 within 1 year from today.

john's picture

The Shakeout Earthquake Drill

Get ready for the California Shakeout drill on October 18.  Go to  for details.  And when you're done shaking out, come back to the Open Hazards residential home damage estimator under the Tools tab to determine how much damage your home might sustain.  Or go to the earthquake viewer to see what the chance of an earthquake near your home might be.  Then visit our hazards viewer to see your flood risk, or read through our blogs and view our videos for more information on other hazards. 

john's picture

The Santa Fe Institute Morgan Stanley Risk Conference

Elliot Turner has written a great summary of the conference.  You can find it at:  As recalled by Elliot, one of the more interesting stories that Ed Thorp told was concerning a student at Duke University who got interested in Ed's ideas about risk.  He decided to apply them both in casinos and in the markets.

john's picture

Changes Near Japan are a Little More Obvious

...or at least a little clearer than for southern California as below.  Here are contours for chance of an earthquake having magnitude M>6.5, for the next 1 year interval...

john's picture

Spatial Changes in Earthquake Risk in Southern California

I decided to compare the change in earthquake risk in southern California from September 29,2012 through today, October 12, 2012, a time span of only about 2 weeks.  From screen shots on both days, I made the below comparison.  The red boxes show the change in spatial extent of the forecast (chance of an earthquake M>5 within 1 year). Small but increasing....

john's picture

Risk and the Financial Markets

Today was the Santa Fe Institute symposium on Risk and the Financial Markets. This is a meeting that happens once a year about this time, usually at the Morgan Stanley building on Times Square in New York city.  This was particularly interesting meeting for me, since Ed Thorp, the original "quant", lectured.  Ed was the first who understood how to beat the game of Black Jack with a combination of card counting and the use of the Kelly Criterion to limit risk (see, for example, William Poundstone's book, "Fortunes Formula" for a popular discussion.  

Steve's picture

Swiss Tsunami


 What do you think of when you hear, Switzerland? 

 Swiss Chocolate?  Swiss Cheese? Swiss Steak? Swiss Army Knives?

 How about Swiss Earthquakes?  or Swiss Tsunami? 


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