July 7, 2021

More Beavers

In Placer County, beavers were re-introduced to a dried-out floodplain. In three years, and at a cost of only $58,000, the beavers restored 60 acres of floodplain. Estimated costs for doing it the "traditional" way with heavy machinery were one- to two-million dollars for a project that would have taken a decade.

permalink | July 7, 2021 at 09:08 AM | Comments (0)

June 9, 2021

Brilliant!

Anyone familiar with the federal government should know that the Earth's orbit falls under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Reclamation, not the Forest Service! Sheesh!

permalink | June 9, 2021 at 10:12 AM | Comments (0)

May 24, 2021

Lunar Eclipse Wednesday Morning

This info comes from the Launch Alert mailing list.

If the sky is clear, observers across the Pacific will be treated to a total lunar eclipse on May 26. For the West Coast of North America, the display occurs during early morning and dawn. The key times are as follows:

PDT         Event
-----     ----------------------
02:45   Partial eclipse begins

04:11   Totality begins

04:19   Maximum eclipse

04:27   Totality ends

05:53   Partial eclipse ends

permalink | May 24, 2021 at 08:48 PM | Comments (0)

April 6, 2021

Bees

A man corrals a swarm of bees, apparently without protection or smoke.

permalink | April 6, 2021 at 05:48 PM | Comments (0)

March 28, 2021

Wolf OR-93 Reaches Fresno

Farther south than any wolf in "modern times," they say, and along the way he managed to cross route 99.

permalink | March 28, 2021 at 09:04 AM | Comments (0)

March 25, 2021

More About The Mission Creek Fault

L.A.'s biggest quake threat on overlooked part of San Andreas - Los Angeles Times Amina Khan

Scientists have pinpointed a long-overlooked portion of the southern San Andreas fault that they say could pose the most significant earthquake risk for the Greater Los Angeles area — and it’s about 80 years overdue for release.

But there could be a silver lining. If their analysis is right, experts say it’s possible that when a long-predicted and much more devastating earthquake hits, it may not do quite as much damage to the region as some scientists previously feared.

“That’s a significant reduction in risk for L.A. if this is true,” said longtime seismologist Lucy Jones, who was not involved in the study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.

The San Andreas fault is a roughly 800-mile fracture that runs much of the length of California and is capable of producing a much-feared, massive temblor known simply as “the Big One.”

The San Andreas also serves as a major marker of the boundary between the Pacific and North American plates. As the plates move past one another, so do the two sides of the fault.

But the fault itself is caught by friction, and as the two sides move, strain builds up until it’s eventually released through earthquakes. The southern San Andreas carries roughly half the strain resulting from the plates’ motion, as much as 25 millimeters (about one inch) per year.

Not every part of the fault carries that strain equally, though. In Southern California, the San Andreas fault system is made up of many smaller “strands,” and it’s difficult for earthquake researchers to identify which parts of the fault system are most at risk of rupture.

Case in point: the bouquet of fault strands — Garnet Hill, Banning and Mission Creek — that crosses the Coachella Valley. Scientists long thought much of the southern San Andreas fault’s slip occurred along the Banning strand and the Garnet Hill strand; the Mission Creek strand, they said, didn’t take much of the strain at all.

But the new findings turn that idea on its head.

Kimberly Blisniuk, an earthquake geologist at San Jose State University, went looking for evidence that earthquakes had caused landforms to move across the surface. She found them at Pushawalla Canyon, a site along the Mission Creek strand in the Little San Bernardino Mountains.

There, right next to the water-carved canyon, she saw a series of three ancient “beheaded channels” — long depressions in the desert that looked like they were once part of the original canyon before earthquakes shoved them aside.

Blisniuk walked the area to get a better look at these telltale signs of ancient rupture. In each of the channels, she and her team dated the ages of rocks and soil.

The oldest channel, which lay about 2 kilometers (more than a mile) away from the current canyon, was roughly 80,000 to 95,000 years old. The second, about 1.3 kilometers (less than a mile) away, was about 70,000 years old; and the third beheaded channel, about 0.7 kilometer (less than half a mile) away, was about 25,000 years old.

Based on these three landmarks, the researchers calculated that the average slip rate for the Mission Creek strand was about 21.6 millimeters (less than an inch) per year. At that rate, they realized, it accounted for the vast majority of the strain along the southern San Andreas fault.

By contrast, they calculated that the Banning strand had a slip rate of just 2.5 millimeters per year.

“I was really excited,” said Blisniuk, who said it took years to produce the data needed to make a convincing case that the ancient channels did indeed once connect to Pushawalla Canyon.

“The San Andreas fault is one of the best studied faults in the world, and there’s still so much we can do” to better understand it, she said.

Because the southern San Andreas fault is likely to experience ground-rupturing earthquakes at an average rate of one every 215 years or so — and because the last such earth-shaker in the southernmost section took place in 1726 — we’re about 80 years overdue, Blisniuk said.

About six to nine meters of elastic strain have likely accumulated along the fault since the last one, the scientists said — which means that when it finally releases, the ground will likely shift roughly 20 to 30 feet. Whether it takes a single quake, or many of them, to go that distance remains to be seen, Blisniuk said.

The discovery “looks like it could be a landmark study,” said Thomas Heaton, an emeritus professor of engineering seismology at Caltech who was not involved in the research.

Lucy Jones is now retired from the U.S. Geological Survey. But in 2008, she led a group of more than 300 scientists, engineers and other experts to study the potential consequences of the Big One in detail. The result was the ShakeOut Earthquake Scenario, which predicted that a 7.8 magnitude earthquake on the San Andreas fault could result in more than 1,800 deaths, 50,000 injuries and $200 billion in damage and other losses.

The new findings could alter that scenario and make it less grim, Jones said. Here’s why: The Big One can only be triggered by a massive rupture on a long stretch of the San Andreas fault, something on the order of 200 miles. If that rupture ended up traveling along the Banning strand — as the ShakeOut model assumed — its east-west tilt would send energy into the San Bernardino Valley, the San Gabriel Valley and finally into the Los Angeles Basin.

But if the rupture were to follow the Mission Creek strand, its more northwesterly orientation would divert some of that energy away from the L.A. Basin, sparing it some of the devastation.

Sarah Minson, a research geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Northern California, stressed that the new findings did not change the region’s total seismic hazard — just the way it’s distributed.

“I personally would love to see this sort of [analysis] applied to more areas,” she said.

Ultimately, Jones said, “This is a piece in an ongoing debate and not yet completely resolved — probably won’t be, until we have the earthquake.”

Heaton agreed.

“It would almost be a surprise to me as a scientist if the real earthquake, when it happens, plays out in a way that’s really close to what we imagined,” he said. “The earth is always surprising us — it’s always reminding us that we need some humility in this business.”

permalink | March 25, 2021 at 09:17 AM | Comments (0)

March 24, 2021

8 More Millimeters

While [the Mission Creek strand of the san Andreas fault] was long believed to have a slip rate of around 14 millimeters per year, the paper, published in Science Advances, argues that it's actually around 22 millimeters..

Part Of The San Andreas Fault Is Moving Way Faster Than We Previously Thought

Updated March 24, 2021 11:17 AM Published March 24, 2021 11:15 AM

As if the San Andreas fault wasn't concerning enough, research just released today shows that a nearby portion of it is moving much faster than scientists previously thought.

It's called the Mission Creek strand and it runs from around Indio, through Desert Hot Springs and into the San Bernardino Mountains.

While it was long believed to have a slip rate of around 14 millimeters per year, the paper, published in Science Advances, argues that it's actually around 22 millimeters.

"This particular strand of the San Andreas fault has been interpreted to not be very active," said Kimberly Blisniuk, a geochronologist at San Jose State University and lead author on the study. "It's actually very active and is the fastest slipping fault for the San Andreas in Southern California. Therefore it has the highest likelihood of a large magnitude earthquake to occur on it in the future."

A few millimeters might not sound like a lot but when we're talking about massive tectonic plates pushing up against each other, the stress adds up.

"Higher slip rates on faults mean more risk," said Morgan Page, a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey in Pasadena and one of the developers of the Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast. Page was not associated with the recent study. "It means stress is accumulating faster on that fault and you would need basically either more earthquakes or larger earthquakes over centuries to relieve that stress."

All of which means that this particular strand on the San Andreas has a greater risk than was previously understood. How much of an additional risk? It needs to be assessed.

Any infrastructure in that area, like water or gas lines which run over the fault itself, will need to be looked at with a critical eye, given that offsets of as much as 30 feet could occur in the event of a major quake.

"Their study is in a region where the San Andreas fault is quite complex," said Sally McGill, a geology professor at Cal State San Bernardino. "This is a substantial step in improving our understanding of how the Southern San Andreas fault works."

Regardless of what happens on the Mission Creek strand, we know that sizable earthquakes on the San Andreas are possible.

Like... at any moment.

So now is always a good time to get your earthquake kit ready.

permalink | March 24, 2021 at 01:14 PM | Comments (0)

March 5, 2021

Lunar Sodium

Every new moon the earth is bathed in a stream of sodium atoms carried from the moon by the solar wind. This was first identified in the late 1990s using an all-sky-imaging camera operated by Boston University researchers.

permalink | March 5, 2021 at 07:02 AM | Comments (0)

May 15, 2018

Photos of the Library of Congress

Library of Congress (4807)
The ceiling in the grand hall where one enters the Jefferson building.

Library of Congress (1916)

Library of Congress (1915)
A bit of the ceiling.

Library of Congress (1913)

Jefferson's Library (1917)
Thomas Jefferson's library.

Baseball - Library of Congress (4814)
Naked baseball players on the ceiling of the Library of Congress.
I've got another photo showing football players.

Library of Congress (4827)
Down in the tunnels connecting the Jefferson and Madison (and I'm sure other) buildings.

Library of Congress (4825)
Some of the floor.

Library of Congress floor tiles (1912)
More floor.

Madison Memorial building (8120)
Columns at the entrance to the Madison Memorial Building.

Madison Memorial Building (5943)

Click here to see all 22 of my photos from the Library of Congress.

permalink | May 15, 2018 at 09:04 PM | Comments (0)

February 14, 2018

Match Sphere

Scientists at Los Alamos Laboratory had a betting pool for Trinity, the first atomic bomb test. One of the betting options was that the bomb would work, but would ignite the atmosphere, wiping out all life on Earth. This video allows you visualize what that might look like from the moon.

permalink | February 14, 2018 at 09:44 AM | Comments (0)

February 1, 2018

Lost Satellite Found

IMAGE was a satellite launched in 2000 that suddenly stoped broadcasting in 2005. NASA declared it dead after 2007. They had waited that long to see if the batteries would drain which would trigger a reset that might make everything right again.

Then in January 2018, amateur radio astronomer Scott Tilley quite accidentally found IMAGE happily broadcasting away. They think the battery-drain-triggered reset happened sometime later than 2007.

permalink | February 1, 2018 at 10:45 AM | Comments (0)

November 30, 2017

Autopsy of an obese person

Here's a very good video that explicitly depicts the autopsy of an obese woman who died of heart failure. It includes clear, matter of fact explanations from the experts.

permalink | November 30, 2017 at 04:43 PM | Comments (0)

August 21, 2017

NASA Photo Of The Eclipse

2017 Total Solar Eclipse

permalink | August 21, 2017 at 11:23 PM | Comments (0)

January 14, 2017

SpaceX Launch And Landing This Morning

If you don't want to watch the whole thing, start it at 22:25 which may seem a bit early, but I think you'll find it entertaining. There's some great photography on this 100% successful mission that launched from Vandenburg. Cameras on the first stage give you a few glimpses of much of the coast of California (mostly clear everywhere, it seems) as it ascends. You also get to watch the perfect descent from the POV of the first stage. The second stage gets screen time too.

Maybe I've just missed it before, but the speedometer constantly displayed in the upper right is new to me. I notice that the speedometer and the altimeter both have red lines. What happens if it red lines? It's not going to throw a rod. Does it mean it's overreached and achieved escape velocity? Milky Way here we come?

permalink | January 14, 2017 at 02:07 PM | Comments (0)

December 6, 2016

Weather Channel tells Breitbart to cut the BS

What is it that right wingers don’t like about the facts supporting climate change? They seem to be okay with a round earth orbiting the sun, the proof for which is more abstract than the proof for climate change.

permalink | December 6, 2016 at 07:02 PM | Comments (0)

September 27, 2016

The Voyage To Mars Using Something Smaller Than A Saturn V

As visualized by SpaceX.

permalink | September 27, 2016 at 08:53 PM | Comments (0)

May 13, 2016

Vandalism At Devil's Hole

Devil's Hole is a non-contiguous part of Death Valley National Park over on the Nevada side. It's completely off limits to tourists as it is a home to the rare pupfish. It made the news (a little bit) in 2010 when it showed dramatic effects of the Mexicali earthquake hundreds of miles away.

On April 30 three men broke through the fence surrounding Devil's Hole by shooting off the locks. They then proceeded to vandalize the area and actually enter Devil's Hole itself.

One of the men waded and swam in Devils Hole, causing potentially significant disruption to their habitat. The shallow underwater shelf is vital to the Devils Hole pupfish’s survival, providing algae and invertebrates for food and a spawning surface. Video footage recorded this man walking on the shallow shelf, potentially stressing and crushing pupfish, which are slow-moving, docile, and as they have no natural predators, curious by nature. April through May is the peak spawning season for this annual fish, and so the intruder likely crushed and destroyed eggs on the shelf. Many peer-reviewed reports, published scientific studies, as well as a Supreme Court case (Cappaert v. United States 1976) have identified the integrity of the shallow shelf ecosystem as critical to the survival of the Devils Hole pupfish. Any impact to the habitat of this critically endangered species is a concern.

At this link you can see the underwater security video of the man walking on pupfish habitat.

A map of Devil's Hole:

UPDATE: The vandals have been identified, but not apprehended yet, I think.

permalink | May 13, 2016 at 11:05 AM | Comments (0)

May 4, 2016

Rocket Video

UP Aerospace Inc.attached a lot of GoPros to a rocket they launched last November. One camera is on one of the stages jettisoned from the main rocket. This allowed them to catch clear images of the rest of the rocket just sitting there in space like a 1950s science fiction magazine. Here’s the video.

permalink | May 4, 2016 at 11:47 AM | Comments (0)

April 23, 2016

Seeing Clearly Underwater

Here's an article about the children in a Thailand tribe who can see clearly while swimming underwater. The researchers ruled out genetics and have determined that the children learn to voluntarily contract their pupils to their smallest size and change the shape of their lenses. A group of Swedish children learned to do it in one month. The ability disappears in adults.

permalink | April 23, 2016 at 05:02 PM | Comments (0)

March 7, 2016

Excavating A Wasp Nest

Pretty interesting, no magic about it. You just have to have a protective suit on that you rely on completely.

permalink | March 7, 2016 at 11:29 PM | Comments (0)