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What’s up? The Friday links (9)

While the Japan earthquake has dominated the media obviously, some other news came up in geoscience. A researcher team lead by Ludovic Ferrierè who works at the Natural History Museum in Vienna claims to have proven the first impact crater in central Africa. The Luizi structure in the Democratic Republic of Congo was described in 1919 by a German study, but has not been confirmed as an impact crater for decades. Ferrierè and his team now found shatter cones and shocked quartzes, strongly pointing to an impact.  The crater has a diameter of 17 km and a 350 m high rim, which led the scientists to assume a meteor of 1 km diameter and a velocity of ~20,000 m/s.

By the way, the beautiful Natural History Museum in Vienna, Austria, has one of the largest collection of fossils and rocks and is always worth a visit – maybe you have a free day during the EGU…?

Brian Romans from wired.com asks geoscientist to send in their best geological pictures for the “Beauty Rocks: Wired Science Geology Photo Contest“. Do you have a great shot of your favourite mountain front in the sunset? A nice image of your best fossil? A great picture of the most beautiful Loess ever seen? Submitt them with a short description! Deadline is 30 March.

Two Texas sixth-graders found a bone during hiking which turned out to be the pelvis of a mammoth! Now paleontologists surveyed the area and are crazy about a huge fossil gold mine.

The California Geological Survey has produced a great interactive map illustrating the 2011 tsunami inundation heights across the coast of California. The tsunami caused damages of $50,000,000 in the US. Again, the harbour of Crescent City was hit very hard and with very high waves. Why always Crescent City? It’s the offshore Mendocino Ridge that directs the tsunami waves to the city like a tsunami highway (timelapse video):

A powerful M6.8 strike-slip earthquake has hit Myanmar close to the border of Thailand, China and Laos, leaving at least 60 people dead and more than 100 injured. Although it’s known that this is an earthquake-prone area, strong seismic events do not occure too often. Building standards are very poor, and a shallow (10km) crustal quake can cause a lot of damages.

Have you ever thought you’d see a face in a rock? You are not alone. See a great photo gallery on wired.com!

Jody has posted another great article on lessons learned from previous tsunamis on her Paleotsunami blog. A must-read!

Is the Tokai Earthquake now closer or not? Some think, the stress was released partially. Others claim that stress was loaded to the fault. What do you think? However, maybe no other city in the world is better prepared than Tokyo. They do everything that can be done. That’s the good news. The bad news is, 35,000,000 people live in the region. Earthquakes do not kill people. Collapsing buildings do, fires, landslides and rockfalls. We can be prepared for that. To some extend it’s also possible to prepare for a tsunami. The Japanese people did and despite all the suffer and the death toll and the devastations and the nuclear desaster one has to remember that the Tōhoku earthquake could have been far more deadly if it had hit a poor country. The best protection is prosperity.

Have a nice weekend!

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Christoph Grützner

Christoph Grützner

works at the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge. He likes Central Asia and the Mediterranean and is looking for ancient earthquakes.

See all posts Christoph Grützner

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