Recently in Science Category

Do not forget this from October, 2019

Lots of pissing and moaning about how "extreme" the weather is these days.
It's that Climate Change I tell 'ya. We got to DO something.

Yes you do - study your history. These weather cycles have happened before and they will happen again.
From Active NorCal:

Remembering the Great Flood that Put Northern California Under 30 Feet of Water
If you take a look at Northern California on a map, it will show a large valley right down the middle of it. This vast valley, which many of us live in, was shaped over thousands of years of flooding through the middle of the state. In fact, most of our vast waterways drain into a small outlet in the San Francisco Bay, making Northern California very prone to flooding.

The history of the region has seen a lot of flooding, but among all the massive floods Northern California has seen, there was none more powerful or destructive as the Great Flood of 1862.

The Great Flood of 1862 was the largest ever recorded in Oregon, Nevada and California’s history. The flooding occurred from December of 1861 until January of 1862, drowning the state in water and leaving much of the Northern Valley unlivable until the summer months of 1862. The flood created a lake down the center of the state that was 300 miles long and 20 miles wide. It’s estimated that thousands of people were killed in Northern California during the event.

It all started late 1861, when NorCal experienced an unusually wet winter with heavy snow in the mountains and rain in the valley. In November of that year, the snowpack was unseasonably large and the valley floor was saturated with rainwater. That was just the start.

By early December, the Native American tribes, who had lived in the area for 10,000 years, saw the early warning signs and left the region for higher ground. The European settlers, who insisted on building their cities along rivers for transportation and drinking water, would experience tremendous devastation.

The locals knew their history, saw the signs and got the hell out of the lowlands.
And a warning:

The U.S. Geological Survey have hypothesized that these mega-floods come to California about once every 200 years, meaning we are due for one in the next 50 years. That future mega-flood could cause up to $1 trillion in damage and have a death toll in the tens of thousands. It would exceed anything we’ve seen in U.S. history.

The 2022-23 winter storms were just a warmup.  Not IF but WHEN

From what used to be an excellent journal - Scientific American
In the first paragraph nonetheless:

Making the Entire U.S. Car Fleet Electric Could Cause Lithium Shortages
The transition to electric vehicles could lead to lithium shortages unless the United States and other countries overhaul their transportation systems and move away from private cars as the primary means of travel.

Emphasis mine - it all comes clear now.  This talk about living in cities.  Living fifteen minutes from your work, your play, your shopping, your friends.

I used to read Scientific American religiously.  Had a subscription for over 20 years.  Dropped it around 2000 when it started having fewer and fewer hard science articles and more and more "woke" opinion pieces - global warming, the need for recycling, etc...  Sadly, the same thing is happening with the British equivalent:  New Scientist.  Both were once great, now? Organs of the propaganda state.

Because SCIENCE!

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It's a gas - the truth

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There is an excellent look at the source for this foolishness at A Chemist in Langley

Are Gas Stoves Really Responsible for 12.7% of Current Childhood Asthma Cases in the US?
The news has been full recently with stories about the risk of childhood asthma caused by natural gas stoves. As someone who specializes in risk assessment and has experience with indoor air chemistry this seemed like it was right up my alley. As I went digging through the research; however, I discovered that the research seemed less about providing a good scientific examination of the topic and and more about generating a lot of headlines and press discussion of the topic.

The furor is all derived from a recent study published in an open-source journal called Population Attributable Fraction of Gas Stoves and Childhood Asthma in the United States (Gruenwald et al., 2022). The paper itself doesn’t present any new data but rather applies a rather arcane type of mathematical attribution analysis (Population Attributable Fraction or PAF) to the results from a ten-year-old meta-analysis that summarized work from the 80’s and 90’s. Needless to say, the paper absolutely doesn’t advance the science in any useful manner and appears designed instead to induce political change rather than inform policy.

Blair goes in to a lot of the reasons why this is a bad study - they used a bad statistical tool to do the analysis and they cherry-picked the data.  Cherry-picking to the extent that they ignored the definitive research paper on this very subject:

By making this editorial choice the authors managed to exclude the definitive research on the topic: Cooking fuels and prevalence of asthma: a global analysis of phase three of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC). The ISAAC study was

a unique worldwide epidemiological research program established in 1991 to investigate asthma, rhinitis and eczema in children due to considerable concern that these conditions were increasing in western and developing countries. ISAAC became the largest worldwide collaborative research project ever undertaken, involving more than 100 countries and nearly 2 million children and its aim to develop environmental measures and disease monitoring in order to form the basis for future interventions to reduce the burden of allergic and non-allergic diseases, especially in children in developing countries

The ISAAC study collected data from 512,7070 students between 1999 and 2004. It has incredible statistical power due to its massive sample size and one of its signature conclusions was:

we detected no evidence of an association between the use of gas as a cooking fuel and either asthma symptoms or asthma diagnosis.

Like I said, cherry picking.  They are pushing the narrative and not doing real science.

Just as a heads up, this kind of activity is also prevalent in "climate science" these days.
They are just as shameless.

He he he he he... ITER delays

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Don't make me laugh - ITER is the acronym of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor
Pronounciation is like "eater" - appropriate as it has been consuming massive finances and resources with zero guarantee of performance.
And now this - from The Daily FInancial Trends:

ITER Fusion Reactor Faces More Delays
In an interview with the AFP news agency this week, Pietro Barabaschi, Director-General of ITER, said it may be years before the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), currently under development in France, produces any useful energy.

First launched in southern France in the 1980s, the project was designed to produce commercial electricity through nuclear fusion. It had been anticipated it would become a major large-scale source of carbon-free power by 2025.

Barabaschi has now conceded that the startup date, “wasn’t realistic in the first place,” and that now two new challenges impeding the project have emerged.

The first of the two new challenges is that the measurements for the joints of blocks which must be welded together for the reactor’s chamber have turned out to be wrongly calculated. The second issue is the recent discovery of traces of corrosion in a thermal shield which is required to contain the heat required to sustain the nuclear fusion reaction.

Barabaschi noted that fixing these issues “is not a question of weeks, but months, even years.”

But then again, this is nothing new - some headlines:

2009 - Schedule Concerns Delay ITER's Go-Ahead
2010 - Budget Red Tape in Europe Brings New Delay to ITER
2021 - Fusion Reactor Waylaid by Latest Waves of Covid Pandemic
2022 - ITER Reactor Assembly Delay Will Be at Least One Year

Like I said, nothing new...  And yes, our tax dollars are paying for this boondoggle.


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Actual Honest to God Science - not cherry picked data, not "finely-tuned" computer model projections.
Go outside and actually measure what you are talking about.

Bioweapon indeed - it is what they were doing in the Wuhan lab

Kary Mullis on Dr. Fauci

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We all know Dr. Fauci but who is Mullis? From InfoGalactic

Kary Banks Mullis (December 28, 1944 – August 7, 2019) was an American biochemist. In recognition of his invention of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique, he shared the 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Michael Smith and was awarded the Japan Prize in the same year. His invention became a central technique in biochemistry and molecular biology, described by The New York Times as "highly original and significant, virtually dividing biology into the two epochs of before PCR and after PCR.

So, Dr. Mullis is a Nobel Prize winning scientist and Fauci is a government administrator
A very telling video:

His autobiography Dancing Naked in the Mind Field is well worth reading.
He was one of those geniuses that come along every 10-20 years.  A treasure.

Mars and the Moon - celestial Tango

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The Moon will occult Mars tonight - around 6:30PM PST for Seattle area.
It will pass behind the moon at around 4:30 o'clock on the lunar disk.
More information and times can be found here: Shadow and Substance

Studied biology in college

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True this:


A voice of wisdom - climate change

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An Earth-shattering Ka Boom

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From the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory:

MAUNA LOA (VNUM #332020)
19°28'30" N 155°36'29" W, Summit Elevation 13681 ft (4170 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: WARNING
Current Aviation Color Code: RED

The eruption continues at the summit of Mauna Loa. All vents remain restricted to the summit area. However, lava flows in the summit region are visible from Kona. There is currently no indication of any migration of the eruption into a rift zone.

The Volcano Alert Level and Aviation Color Code for Mauna Loa remains at WARNING/RED.

HVO is continuing to monitor conditions carefully and will issue additional notices as needed.

First eruption in 40 years.  Webcams

Earthquake - Solomon Islands

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Preliminary reports - Mag 7.0 and 15km deep.

That is going to do a lot more than just rattle the china.  No reports yet but...

What a whopper - IEEE

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IEEE is the  Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.  They should have known better than this.

In the current issue of their Spectrum magazine there is this article:

Light Makes Might
For eons, leaves have been creating the fuel that plants run on virtually out of thin air. A little sun, plus some oxygen and water, is enough to keep a plant going strong. Now, scientists are making strides in the ongoing effort to reverse engineer the leaf. The aim is to pull the carbon dioxide from the air and, using a catalyst, generate a cleaner alternative to the fossil fuels on which we so greatly depend. Researchers will continue trying to improve the yield and efficiency of photovoltaic devices designed to produce hydrogen fuel by splitting the water covering about three-fourths of the Earth’s surface. But a team at the University of Cambridge has demonstrated an artificial leaf that sits on the surface of a body of water and does a fairly good job of producing syngas from carbon dioxide and water. The version shown here (floating on the River Cam near the Cambridge campus) has a surface area of only 100 square centimeters. The Cambridge team already has its sights set on bigger models that would each be capable of powering dozens of homes in carbon-neutral fashion.

Emphasis mine — channeling my inner Steve Martin:  Well Excuuuuuuuuuse me

A little sun, plus some oxygen and water  ?¿?¿?¿?¿ 

Photosynthesis takes in Sunlight and Water and Carbon Dioxide.  The oxygen that the author is referring to is a (very fortunate) waste product.  Photosynthesis makes the complex carbohydrates that are the building block of life.  Note the CARBO (as in carbon) and HYDRATE (as in water).  Carbon Dioxide is plant food.

For an organization of their stature, the IEEE really goofed here.  Simple basic high-school biology.

Chinese biotech lab in Florida?  Just doing some basic research.  Not a problem.
Oh. Wait. From The Gateway Pundit:

Chinese Biotech Firm with Deep Links to China’s Military and its COVID-19 Program Just Bought Land in Florida for a Massive Research Complex
In July 2022, a Chinese biological research company, JOINN Laboratories, bought 1,400 acres of rural farmland in Morriston, Florida, primarily for a non-human primate (monkey) breeding and quarantine facility.

Current law prohibits the construction of such a facility on that property, but JOINN Laboratories is filing a re-zoning request with the State of Florida.

What is not widely known is JOINN Laboratories’ close connections to China’s People’s Liberation Army and what is arguably its biowarfare program.

The Founder of JOINN and Chair of the Board of Directors is Yuxia Feng, a military physician and graduate of the Academy of Military Medical Sciences in Beijing.

The Co-Founder of JOINN and the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors, Conglin Zuo, appears to have also worked at the Academy of Military Medical Sciences in its Institute of Biotechnology.

Couple of others in the company have PLA and other military ties.  Not good.  Not good at all.
Still do not know if the Wuhan Flu was an accidental release.  Their lab practices are not as good as ours by a long shot:  Here, here, here, here and here just for starters (and I could keep going for quite some time).  Having this near a major population center and Disney World is insane.

A tale of two launches

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NASA has gone downhill fast. The Webb is amazing but that was the last big project from the old NASA that actually hired engineers based on their engineering ability.

NASA's latest?  From SPACE.COM:

Fuel leak delays NASA's Artemis 1 moon mission launch
NASA called off the second attempt to launch an ambitious test flight of its new moon rocket on Saturday (Sept. 3), this time because of a stubborn leak that delayed fueling.

The space agency hoped to launch its Artemis 1 moon mission atop a towering Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket at 2:17 p.m. EDT (1817 GMT) on Saturday, but a hydrogen fuel leak detected about seven hours before liftoff thwarted the attempt.

SpaceX? From The Silicon Graybeard:

SpaceX to Target 100 Launches in '23
A rumor surfaced over the last couple of days, later confirmed by Elon Musk, that SpaceX will aim for 100 launches next year, another doubling of their launch rate from 2021.

Much more at the second site - this is how space will be done.  NASA needs to be put out of its misery.  Cut their budget for rockets.  Let them do the exotic science experiments and then use SpaceX to launch them.

Heads up - literally

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People in Northern latitudes have a very good chance of seeing a nice Northern Lights display.
Seattle meteorologist Cliff Mass has the details:

Significant Aurora Possible Tonight
Folks in the northern half of Washington State may well see an impressive auroral display tonight.

A major Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) on the solar surface has resulted in a flux of particles moving into the earth's magnetic field.

A measure of the disturbance of the earth's magnetic field is Kp: auroral activity moving southward into our area generally requires Kp of 5 or more. The estimated value right now is 6.

Heading out around 9PM tonight.  Sit for a while to dark-adapt my eyes and see what is happening...
We do live on an amazing planet

A good run - RIP James Lovelock

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Gaia theory?  A bit of hooey if you ask me but he did reallye as well.
From the New York Times:

James Lovelock, Whose Gaia Theory Saw the Earth as Alive, Dies at 103
James Lovelock, the maverick British ecologist whose work was essential to today’s understanding of man-made pollutants and their effect on climate and who captured the scientific world’s imagination with his Gaia theory, portraying the Earth as a living creature, died on Tuesday, his 103rd birthday, at his home in Dorset, in southwest England.

His family confirmed the death in a statement on Twitter, saying that until six months ago he “was still able to walk along the coast near his home in Dorset and take part in interviews, but his health deteriorated after a bad fall earlier this year.”

Dr. Lovelock’s breadth of knowledge extended from astronomy to zoology. In his later years he became an eminent proponent of nuclear power as a means to help solve global climate change and a pessimist about humankind’s capacity to survive a rapidly warming planet.

One of a kind - he will be missed.


The first tranche can be found here:  First Images from the James Webb Space Telescope

Here's one - the Carina Nebula


Fullsize image with additional information and data here

First light - James Webb telescope

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Gorgeous - from NASA:

NASA’s Webb Delivers Deepest Infrared Image of Universe Yet
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has produced the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe to date. Known as Webb’s First Deep Field, this image of galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 is overflowing with detail.

Thousands of galaxies – including the faintest objects ever observed in the infrared – have appeared in Webb’s view for the first time. This slice of the vast universe covers a patch of sky approximately the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length by someone on the ground.


More to be released tomorrow: NASA Updates Coverage for Webb Telescope’s First Images Reveal

Great work - this is what NASA should be doing.  Rockets need to be commercialized. Be made a commodity.
Deep science is NASA's core competency.

Our planet dodged a bullet - from Infogalactic:

Tunguska event
The Tunguska event was a large explosion that occurred near the Stony Tunguska River, in what is now Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia, on the morning of 30 June 1908 (N.S.). The explosion over the sparsely populated Eastern Siberian Taiga flattened 2,000 km2 (770 sq mi) of forest and caused no known casualties. The cause of the explosion is generally thought to have been a meteor. It is classified as an impact event, even though no impact crater has been found; the meteor is thought to have burst in mid-air at an altitude of 5 to 10 kilometres (3 to 6 miles) rather than hit the surface of the Earth. Different studies have yielded varying estimates of the superbolide's size, on the order of 60 to 190 metres (200 to 620 feet), depending on whether the meteor was a comet or a denser asteroid. It is considered the largest impact event on Earth in recorded history.

Energy released was about 1,000 times greater than the Hiroshima nuclear bomb.
A few hours either way and our history would be a lot different.  Ka-Boom?

Science project anyone?

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Sweet little girl - from Canadian Broadcasting Company:

'She's perfect and she's beautiful': Frozen baby woolly mammoth discovered in Yukon gold fields
A perfect storm of events has led to a once-in-a-lifetime discovery for a gold miner, a First Nation, a veteran paleontologist and a territory.

"I don't know how to process it all right now, to be honest with you. It's amazing," said Dr. Grant Zazula, the Yukon government's paleontologist.

A little after noon on June 21, National Indigenous People's Day, a young miner working in Yukon's Eureka Creek, south of Dawson City, was digging up muck using a front end loader when he struck something.

He stopped and called his boss who went to see him right away.

When he arrived, Treadstone Mining's Brian McCaughan put a stop to the operation on the spot.

Within half an hour, Zazula received a picture of the discovery.

According to Zazula, the miner had made the "most important discovery in paleontology in North America."

It was a whole baby woolly mammoth, only the second one ever found in the world, and the first in North America.

"She has a trunk. She has a tail. She has tiny little ears. She has the little prehensile end of the trunk where she could use it to grab grass," said Zazula.

"She's perfect and she's beautiful."

Great photo - almost expect her to wake up, shake off the mud and start romping around.  Probably been through a few freeze/thaw cycles so no word (yet) on the quality of the genetic material - if they are able to do somatic cell nuclear transfer.  That would be very cool.

Down the 'ole memory hole

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A report from MSN (Microsoft News) published an inconvenient truth - unvaccinated people had fewer cases of "severe" COVID-19.  Needless to say, the link to the story redirects to the MSN Homepage.

See for yourself:

Fortunately, The Internet Archive remembers:

Severe COVID-19 ‘Rare’ In Unvaccinated People, Survey Reveals
A survey has found that people who did not get the vaccine had a lower rate of suffering severe COVID-19 amid the pandemic.

The survey uploaded to the preprint server ResearchGate presented data from more than 18,500 respondents from the “Control Group” project with more than 300,000 overall participants. An analysis revealed that compared to those who got jabbed, unvaccinated people reported fewer hospitalizations.

The international survey also found that the unvaccinated people from more than 175 countries were more likely to self-care to prevent and manage COVID-19 infection. They used natural products like vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc, quercetin, and drugs, such as ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine.

The paper can be found here: Self-reported outcomes, choices and discrimination among a global COVID-19 unvaccinated cohort

So true - quantum mechanics

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From Chris Lynch:


So true...

Physics teachers

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Found over at Chris Lynch's


Now this could be fun - Azores

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Potential volcanic action - from Global News:

I have been following the quakes for the last month or so - a very similar thing happened last year on the Spanish island of La Palma.

Yikes - big earthquake in Japan

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7.3 Magnitude 63.1km depth so not as strong on the surface but still...

No tsunami warning for CONUS or Hawaii 

And happy Pi day everyone

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A wise Latina - Justice Sotomayor

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These notes from an upcoming case:


Unnnhhhhhh...  Has anyone bothered to explain photosynthesis to her?  How plants take in sunlight, water and carbon dioxide and using chlorophyll as a catalyst, make glucose.  The resultant waste product is oxygen gas. If you eliminated all CO2 on this planet, you would eliminate all green plants and algae.  You would condemn the planet to death by starvation.

Carbon dioxide is not a toxin - it is plant food.  Simple as that.

URM - driving around

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It has been interesting noticing my blatant prejudice against brick and masonry buildings on this trip.
I look at a 3-4 story brick building and the first thing that comes into my mind is: "Ewwww - URM" 

The left coast is a lot younger than this area so Unreinforced masonry buildings are an object of aversion due to the high level of seismic activity. In Appalachia, things are a lot quieter. Sure, there were the New Madrid quakes of 1811 and 1812 (three major ones) but that fault zone is over 400 miles away.

A good thing to be aware of but not as much a concern here as it is out there in shaky-town...

The Tsunami hits Oregon

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Ho. Li. Crap - after coming so far.  I pray for Tonga.

Here is a GIF from Japan's Himawari-8 weather satellite:


Interesting news item - moon rocks

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From Gizmodo:

Vacuum-Sealed Container From 1972 Moon Landing Will Finally Be Opened
Apollo mission planners were really smart. Recognizing that future scientists will have better tools and richer scientific insights, they refrained from opening a portion of the lunar samples returned from the historic Apollo missions. One of these sample containers, after sitting untouched for 50 years, is now set to be opened.

The sample in question was collected by Gene Cernan in 1972. The Apollo 17 astronaut was working in the Taurus-Littrow Valley when he hammered a 28-inch-long (70 cm) tube into the surface, which he did to collect samples of lunar soil and gas. The lower half of this canister was sealed while Cernan was still on the Moon. Back on Earth, the canister was placed in yet another vacuum chamber for good measure. Known as the 73001 Apollo sample container, it remains untouched to this very day.

But the time has come to open this vessel and investigate its precious cargo, according to a European Space Agency press release. The hope is that lunar gases might be present inside, specifically hydrogen, helium, and other light gases. Analysis of these gases could further our understanding of lunar geology and shed new light on how to best store future samples, whether they be gathered on asteroids, the Moon, or Mars.

Wonder if Cernan left any kind of surprise there. An Easter Egg.  Still, this will be an interesting story to follow. Very smart move by the planners.  You think about the changes that computers have made in 50 years.  Analytical chemistry has advanced just as much - what once was several days in the lab and several thousand dollars worth of reagents is now a simple tabletop test for 50¢

Post mortem - Oregon Earthquakes

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Good initial write-up on the quake swarm a couple days ago.  From the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network:

Blanco Fracture Zone swarm: Active, unusual, interesting... but not concerning
As of the writing of this blog (Dec 9, noon), 88 earthquakes have popped off on the Western extent of the Blanco Fracture Zone. Fifteen have been magnitude 5.0 and greater with the two largest events being M5.8. The smallest (reported) earthquake is M3.2 though there surely are many smaller ones, but the seismic stations used to detect and locate the events are 300 miles away on land. At those distances, the ground motions from smaller earthquakes will fall below background noise levels and thus go undetected. The magnitude scale is logarithmic, such that a M5.0 earthquake releases 32 times the amount of energy as a M4.0, so the vast majority of action has been properly detected, characterized and cataloged. Note that while the USGS lists all of the event depths as 10 km, their actual depths are best described as “shallow”. Constraining depths with data from stations far away and for shallow events is very difficult, so 10 km is just a default number given for shallow events with source-station geometries like we have here.

And some history:

How unusual is this? In the history of well-recorded M4.5 and greater earthquakes in this region, which is about five decades long, there have been many other swarms, including in the summer of 2019 when the largest event was a M6.3. However, there has not been as active a swarm as this one in terms of number of moderate sized events (see the figure below).

What defines a “swarm”? It’s a nebulous term that generally means a group of earthquakes close in space and time, depending on the background seismicity and how long a time window you are considering. Those can vary greatly, but in general we talk about swarms as being within a distance of a few rupture lengths of the largest event(s) and lasting a few days in time. What are the rupture lengths of these events? The two M5.8s probably had rupture lengths of a few miles long, which may have seen slip of maybe a foot or so. If these events were on land and you were nearby, 24 magnitude 4.5-5.8 earthquakes within a day would be a lot of shaking! And maybe some cracked streets and foundations and a few broken plates, but probably not collapsed buildings.

More at the site.  There is a lot more number-crunching that needs to be done but this is a great preliminary report.

My personal hope was that this was the Cascadia Subduction Zone letting off some steam.  Not to be:

The slip on these earthquakes are unlikely to have caused significant changes in stress along the Cascadia Subduction Zone 200 km closer to shore, which in the past has produced M9 earthquakes as recently as January 26, 1700. This is true for a few reasons:

So we are still primed and ready and overdue for a big one.  The last time it let loose was in 1700.  These quakes happen about every 300 years.  That would make the next one due in 2000.  Oh. Wait.

A very well researched and fascinating telling of the 1700 quake can be found here:

The orphan tsunami of 1700—Japanese clues to a parent earthquake in North America

Just one two this morning.  Quite the cluster of quakes - should be a writeup in a few days analyzing this event.

A bit wobbly - Oregon coast

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UPDATE: Two more - one 5.3 and one 5.5  Good that it is a bunch of smaller quakes.  It could be saving it all up for one big rip.

UPDATE:  Upgraded from 5.7 to 5.8 Mag.

UPDATE:  4:37PM PST  Another one - 5.7 Mag this time.  The Magnitude scale is logarithmic so an increase of one whole number represents a tenfold increase in measured amplitude as measured on a seismogram.

Glad I don't live on the Pacific coast - I am inland and sheltered by a few land masses.
A conscious decision on my part.   From the USGS:


Those red dots are a 5.5 Mag quake - depth is 10km which is about optimal for coupling to the surface.
No tsunami danger at this time.

My concern is the Cascadia Subduction Zone - it experiences a 9 Mag quake every couple hundred years or so — 41 of them so far.  The tsunamis from these events are huge. We are seriously overdue.

A brilliant hack - Dragonfly (updated)

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I had written about the original back in 2015: A brilliant hack - Dragonfly

Back then, it was an array of ten commercial telephoto lenses synched together.  Much simpler and cheaper to implement than a mirror of that same size. Fast forward to today. From DP Review:

Canon USA is providing 120 EF 400mm F2.8 lenses to expand Dragonfly Telephoto Array
Canon USA has announced that the company will provide technical assistance to Project Dragonfly, an international research team from Yale University and the University of Toronto, in its plan to expand the Dragonfly Telephoto Array.

The Dragonfly Telephoto Array is a telescope concept designed to capture images of extremely faint structures in the night sky. It is believed that the structures offer insight into the distribution and nature of dark matter.

Canon USA will provide the team with 120 Canon EF 400mm F2.8L IS II USM large-aperture super-telephoto lenses. Canon Inc. will also provide technical assistance. The telephoto array currently consists of 48 Canon EF 40mm F2.8L IS II USM lenses given to the team in 2013 and 2015. The lenses are arranged in two clusters of 24. The additional 120 primes will significantly enhance the array's capabilities.

If they tried to do this with a conventional mirrored telescope, the mirror would be 1.8 meters in diameter but with a focal length of only 40cm (400mm).  There are, of course, light losses in any optical system but the theoretical aperture would be F 0.22 - that is a very fast lens (there are some commercial lenses with F 0.9 but they are rare and expensive - here is the fascinating story of one that is F 0.7)   The curvature on a conventional mirror would be prohibitively deep but easy to do with a simple lens - each lens is focused on a CCD sensor and the images are combined and stacked to give a lot better detail of fine structure.

Here is one cluster with 24 lenses:


The scope's home page is here: The Dragonfly Telephoto Array

It was cloudy and I missed it - Aurora

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Saw the cloud deck pulsating with lights but an overall dismal display.  The K-Index was rockin' - still is:


Oh well...

Running late - solar storm

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There was a large Coronal Mass Ejection a few days ago and we were forecast to have some nice aurora borealis last night.  No such luck - it was running slow and just now is hitting the Earth's magnetosphere.


So we will have the aurora but in the daytime.  It needs to be at Six before we can get a good display.  This updates every three hours or so.  We what happens when it gets close to dusk tonight - see if there is any activity remaining.

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