GOOD

Here's Why Chile's Latest Giant Earthquake Didn't Hurt Anyone

Chile was just hit with an earthquake bigger than Haiti's and suffered no injuries or damage. How'd they do that?


Just two days into 2011, almost a year after being ravaged by a massive earthquake, the nation of Chile again shook with the force of a 7.1 magnitude tremor. Unlike last year, however, this quake killed not a single person and left minimal damage (phone and power lines were down for a few hours). Haiti was outright crippled by a 7.0 quake in early 2010, and yet Chile is sitting pretty after an even more powerful natural disaster. How did that happen?

As with swimming pools, the difference is the depth. Next time you hear of an earthquake and are trying to assess the damage it will cause, don't just consider its Richter scale rating. Also important is whether the quake is shallow-focus or deep-focus. A shallow-focus earthquake, the most common kind, occurs when the tectonic shift's "hypocenter"—the subterranean spot at which the slip of an earthquake begins—is located within 70 kilometers of the earth's surface. (The "epicenter" of an earthquake is "simply the point on the Earth's surface directly above the hypocenter.) Conversely, deep-focus quakes are energy releases occurring several hundred kilometers underground. It's simple: The deeper the quake, the less shaking here on terra firma.


"The bottom line is that even though Chile was enormous, it was not shallow, reducing the shaking on the surface," says Aaron Velasco, a professor of seismology at the University of Texas at El Paso. "This isn't always true, but it's pretty consistent."

As an example of a relatively smaller quake whose shallow hypocenter made it devastating, Velasco points to 1994's Northridge, California, tremor. Despite being smaller on the Richter scale than both Chile and Haiti's recent quakes—6.7—the Northridge shift still killed dozens and injured thousands of others. "The damage done in Northridge was the direct result of it being shallow and in the middle of Los Angeles," says Velasco, "even though California leads the country in earthquake preparedness."

Articles
via Douglas Muth / Flickr

Sin City is doing something good for its less fortunate citizens as well as those who've broken the law this month. The city of Las Vegas, Nevada will drop any parking ticket fines for those who make a donation to a local food bank.

A parking ticket can cost up to $100 in Las Vegas but the whole thing can be forgiven by bringing in non-perishable food items of equal or greater value to the Parking Services Offices at 500 S. Main Street through December 16.

The program is designed to help the less fortunate during the holidays.

Keep Reading Show less
Communities

For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
via Truthout.org / Flickr and Dimitri Rodriguez / Flickr

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
Photo by HAL9001 on Unsplash

The U.K. is trying to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, but aviation may become the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.K. by that same year. A new study commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and conducted at the Imperial College London says that in order for the U.K. to reach its target, aviation can only see a 25% increase, and they've got a very specific recommendation on how to fix it: Curb frequent flyer programs.

Currently, air travel accounts for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, however that number is projected to increase for several reasons. There's a growing demand for air travel, yet it's harder to decarbonize aviation. Electric cars are becoming more common. Electric planes, not so much. If things keep on going the way they are, flights in the U.K. should increase by 50%.

Nearly every airline in the world has a frequent flyer program. The programs offer perks, including free flights, if customers get a certain amount of points. According to the study, 70% of all flights from the U.K. are taken by 15% of the population, with many people taking additional (and arguably unnecessary) flights to "maintain their privileged traveler status."

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet