Sunday, June 29, 2014

M5 Earthquake in Eastern Arizona last night (June 28, 2014)

This is quite interesting and unusual historically. There was an earthquake in SE Arizona near the New Mexico border at about 10 pm local time. Here are a few links:

  1. USGS site on the event
  2. USGS site Did You Feel It shows that it was widely and lightly felt across southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico
  3. TUC vertical long period seismogram from Tucson show the event and aftershocks
  4. Arizona earthquake history from AEIC does not show a lot of activity historically there
  5. AZ Oil and Gas information I wonder if associated with oil and gas activities? AZ Is Hydraulic Fracturing a Threat in Arizona? (from AZGS).
Normal fault focal mechanism with roughly N-S striking planes is generally consistent with the few active faults in the area (USGS QFaults; see also AZGS fault map). I will post more when I have some more time.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Structure from Motion micro documentary from Merri Lisa Trigilio

Readers may know my current obsession with Structure from Motion (SfM). Here is a new 5 minute long documentary from Merri Lisa Trigilio on SfM. It is based on some work we have been doing on the volcanoes around the San Francisco volcanic field and the interaction between a possibly active fault and the 50-60ka SP lava flow.

Structure From Motion from Merri Lisa Trigilio on Vimeo.

Here are more SfM posts

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Links and comments on M8.2 - 95km NW of Iquique, Chile April 2, 2014

This evening there was a M8.2 earthquake along the northern Chilean subduction zone. It caused very strong shaking along the Chilean coast. There have been numerous aftershocks. It was appropriately configured to generate a tsunami. Max heights in the source region are 2 m. It appears that beyond Chile and Peru the tsunami concerns are low (I saw that the expectation was ~20 cm in coastal California).

The Chilean portion of the subduction zone along western South America has generated the largest recorded earthquake historically (in 1960 M9.5; That was on the southern end of the zone). This is in an area where there has been some strong locking noted.

Here are some links:

  • USGS main page: Summary Includes estimated losses (pager) and also expected (shakemap) and felt (dyfi) intensities.
  • Here is low dip focal mechanism consistent with expectations: scientific

Here is the IRIS Teachable moment page. I has some nice content for presentations on the event.

This map may work to show the local seismicity: Navigate to the region and zoom in.
Try this one too: see this: Regional focus

Pacific Tsunami warning center: Pacific region see the Pacific region statement: text Here is the forecast tsunami height map and the travel time map

This site is accumulating observations:

Image showing degree of seismic coupling and location: See this paper:

Good blog entries:

Here are a few useful news links:,0,2045484.story#axzz2xgQBG1Wx

Some more educational links:
Tsunamis Generated by Megathrust Earthquakes from IRIS

Monday, March 31, 2014

Exploiting high resolution topography data for advancing the understanding of mass and energy transfer across landscapes: Opportunities, challenges, and needs (USGS Powell Center working group)

"TIME FOR IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS WITHOUT DISTRACTIONS"--That is one of the opportunities presented to USGS Powell Center Working Groups. Indeed and quite pleasantly we have begun our discussions in the working group entitled "Exploiting high resolution topography data for advancing the understanding of mass and energy transfer across landscapes: Opportunities, challenges, and needs". This project is lead by Paola Passalaqua (UT Austin) and Patrick Belmont (Utah State). Here is a flyer on our project: link. We had our first meeting a couple of weeks ago in Fort Collins at the Powell Center and it was extremely stimulating. Lots of great discussion and sharing of ideas among a dynamic group. I very much enjoyed seeing old and new friends. We mostly worked on brainstorming a big review of the state of analysis of high resolution topography and so I think there will be a publication coming from that. We also had a quite interesting field trip to appreciate the geomorphic responses to the High Park Fire (for which there is some repeat lidar topography coverage). Here are some pictures. Stay tuned for more cool stuff and many thanks to my friends and colleagues for the chance to work together.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Science videos: naive efforts and connecting with the pros (for example,

I have been playing around with video production for science explanation and tutorials since some efforts in graduate school for the The Stanford Rock Fracture Project. Lately, I have generated many tutorial and lecture videos and pushed then to my youtube site: jrarrowsmith youtube. There are also many videos, some have been viewed more than 10,000 times on the OpenTopography youtube site.

My friend Merri Lisa Trigilio is a geoscientist who is now in the Film program at Montana State University. It has been fun to talk to her about filmmaking and we will work together in the coming weeks on a video project. Stay tuned for updates. I the meantime, have a look at the Life on Terra website--run by the film students at MSU.

As part of a Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) and OpenTopography collaboration, Sarah Robinson (former ASU M.S. student) and Andrew Whitesides (USC undergraduate) - supported by SCEC's ACCESS program (Advancement of Cyberinfrastructure Careers through Earthquake System Science) and in collaboration with numerous SCEC scientists and the OpenTopography team - produced a new educational video entitled LiDAR - Illuminating Earthquake Hazards. The video provides an introduction to both LiDAR technology as well as the earthquake science that is being done with the data.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Spring 2014 Active Faulting and Surface Process Seminars

We have two nice seminars going now: Active Faulting and Surface Processes.

We have started to run the Active Faulting seminar and track it the last few semesters. Thanks to Emily Kleber and the other students for taking the lead and organizing and documenting. Emily says: "This semester we are focused on discussing current research projects and trending topics in active tectonics and tectonic geomorphology. Subject matter is centered around (but not limited to) quantitative structural geology, geomorphology, paleoseismology, and the acquisition and application of high-resolution topography to all of the above." Here is the web site: .

The Surface Process seminar has been going since at least Spring 2008. The topics vary and it is run in the evenings at a faculty member or student home. We enter the critical zone of commentary and sometimes the topic is about the Critical Zone (from the top of the canopy to the bottom of the roots). This semester's topic is generally hillslope processes.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Exploring the Topographic Evolution of Cinder Cones

At the Fall AGU 2013, I presented a summary of work done by Emma Gleeman (Brown) and Sarah Zibart (Western Kentucky University) along with Amanda Clarke (ASU) and Fabrizio Alfano (ASU) as part of the Research Experience for Undergraduates: Landscape evolution in a monogenetic volcanic field led by Nancy Riggs at NAU and supported by the US National Science Foundation. Among other things, we used the 2D non linear diffusion code developed by Mattia de’ Michieli Vitturi (de’ Michieli Vitturi and Arrowsmith, Two-dimensional nonlinear diffusive numerical simulation of geomorphic modifications to cinder cones, Earth Surf. Process. Landforms (2013) and built on our good collaborations with Mattia.

Here is the presentation: pptx and pdf

Picture from the Autokite

Conclusions include:

  • Agglutinate is important in controlling cinder cone topographic development
    • Not extremely important for h/w ratios (age approximation)
    • Significant in controlling slope histogram
  • High resolution topography is required for good characterization of slope distributions, esp. for cones with agglutinated tops
  • 2D non-transport-limited linear diffusion and 1D production-limited linear diffusion models reasonably captured evolution of both agglutinated and non-agglutinated cones
  • Laboratory experiments agreed with histogram evolution predicted by numerical modeling for both agglutinated and non-agglutinated cones
  • Additional process rules (short range sheetwash, fluvial, and debris flow) of scoria and aeolian material is a next step