Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.5 Earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Izu Islands off Japan.

5.1 Earthquake hits Fiji.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Hindu Kush, Afghanistan.

New Theory on Major Earthquakes

A widely accepted theory about earthquakes has received a shakeup.

A team of geologists studying the San Andreas fault near Los Angeles found that bigger earthquakes aren’t necessarily preceded by longer periods of inactivity on the fault. The going wisdom about earthquakes is that the longer a fault goes without a major earthquake, the bigger the quake will be when it finally strikes. The theory seems particularly apt for the San Andreas fault, which marks the boundary between two tectonic plates. As the Pacific plate moves northward relative to North America at about 4.5 cm per year, friction stops the fault from slipping. The longer that strain jacks up, the farther the plates will jolt when they finally let go and the larger the resulting earthquake will be. Or so the thinking went.

But a group found that the theory doesn’t hold up for the segment of the fault near the southern California town of Wrightwood.

The team’s analysis provided the most complete long-term record of activity for any fault in the world. And it contradicts the conventional wisdom: Shorter quiet periods of less than a century were generally followed by larger earthquakes, and longer periods of several hundred years preceded smaller quakes. Although this appears counterintuitive, the larger pattern is more logical. It appears that strain is not released entirely with each earthquake but continues to accumulate through four or five or more earthquake cycles. Finally, the strain is released by one big quake or a cluster of smaller shocks.

The authors caution that they don’t know yet if the activity at the Wrightwood fault segment is typical of the entire San Andreas fault or of faults in general. But if it is, the research could change the way scientists estimate the probability of earthquakes.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

In the Eastern Pacific:

Tropical storm Flossie was located about 320 mi (515 km) E of Hilo, Hawaii. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Hawaii County, Maui County -including the islands of Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe, and Oahu. Heavy rainfall was expected to begin as early as Monday morning over Hawaii County and Monday afternoon over Maui County, with heavy rain spreading to Oahu by Monday night. Flossie is expected to produce total rainfall amounts of 6 to 10 inches over The Big Island and Maui County, with isolated maximum amounts of 15 inches possible, mainly windward.

Other News:

Heavy rains trigger landslides in which at least two people are missing in Shimane and Yamaguchi prefectures in western Japan.

Flooding near Charlotte in North Carolina, USA has claimed the lives of at least three people.

The EF-1 tornado brought 100 mph winds that uprooted large trees and damaged a barn Saturday evening near Troupsburg in upstate New York, USA.


Wildfires – Mallorca, Spain

A wildfire on the Island of Mallorca which started on Friday just east of the leisure port of Andratx has burned around 1,800 hectares, most of them of either pine forest or low-lying woodland.

About 700 people have been evacuated due to the fire in Es Grau, Ses Tanquetes and Estellenc.

About 370 firefighters, civil defense members and the military emergency unit are struggling to control the fire with the help of 24 planes and helicopters.

This is believed to the worst fire on Spanish Mallorca for 15 years.

Human Nature

Humans Not Natural Warriors

New studies of hunter-gatherer societies finds that warfare is not in human nature, but is a relatively new behavior that emerged from “civilized” cultures.

It is not in human nature for our species to make war, according to new research published in the journal Science.

Some scholars say that humankind inherited the inclination to wage war from its closest relative the chimpanzee, which exhibits a kind of war between groups.

But two researchers from Finland’s Abo Akademi University say that’s not the case and believe war developed with the rise of modern civilization, which caused conflicts over resources such as agriculture and livestock.

There is very little archeological evidence of war in our pre-civilized past.

So the researchers looked at modern-day hunter-gatherer people without livestock or the social class divisions that developed with the rise of civilization.

“When we looked at all the violent events about 55 percent of them involved one person killing another. That’s not war,” said Fry. “When we looked at group conflicts, the typical pattern was feuds between families and revenge killings, which is not war either.”

Only a very small number of more organized killings comparable to war were found, and almost all of them were in one of the 21 groups studied.

The researchers conclude that some of the most “primitive” peoples on Earth were actually quite peaceful compared to modern, developed nations.