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6.1-magnitude quake strikes off Indonesia's Java: USGS
by Staff Writers
Jakarta (AFP) Jan 25, 2014

'Virtual earthquake' study suggests LA would shake more than expected
Palo Alto, Calif. (UPI) Jan 24, 2013 - Los Angeles would experience stronger-than-expected shaking in a major earthquake, U.S. researchers producing "virtual earthquakes" say.

Scientists at Stanford University report using weak vibrations generated by Earth's oceans to produce "virtual earthquakes" to predict the ground movement and shaking hazard to buildings from real quakes.

The new technique has produced a prediction Los Angeles will experience stronger-than-expected ground movement if a major quake occurs south of the city, the university reported Friday.

"We used our virtual earthquake approach to reconstruct large earthquakes on the southern San Andreas Fault and studied the responses of the urban environment of Los Angeles to such earthquakes," said study lead author Marine Denolle, who recently received her doctorate in geophysics from Stanford and is now at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego.

The researchers took advantage of the fact earthquakes aren't the only phenomenon that can produce seismic waves.

"If you put a seismometer in the ground and there's no earthquake, what do you record? It turns out that you record something," Stanford geophysics professor and study leader Greg Beroza said.

What is recorded is a weak, ongoing signal known as the ambient seismic field, generated by ocean waves interacting with solid Earth.

The researchers said they've devised a way to make the ambient seismic waves function as proxies for seismic waves generated by real earthquakes, allowing them to predict actions of much stronger waves from powerful earthquakes.

The technique suggests more variable, ground motion if a large earthquake -- magnitude 7.0 or greater -- were to occur along the southern San Andreas Fault south of Los Angeles near the Salton Sea.

"The seismic waves are essentially guided into the sedimentary basin that underlies Los Angeles," Beroza said. "Once there, the waves reverberate and are amplified, causing stronger shaking than would otherwise occur."

A 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck off Indonesia's main island of Java on Saturday, the US Geological Survey reported, flattening homes and sending panicked residents running onto the street.

Dozens of buildings were damaged, including 16 houses and that collapsed in the town of Banyumas, as well as a mosque that crumbled, National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.

"Authorities are continuing to asses other buildings for damage," he said.

"So far there are no reports of casualties."

People in the town of Adipala near the epicentre said they felt the ground shaking hard for up to 20 seconds, as the quake struck in the sea off the coast of southern Java.

"We all just ran onto the street, there were so many people," Astri, a florist who goes by one name, told AFP by phone from her flower shop.

"But it doesn't seem to have damaged anything around here, and we're getting back to work," she said.

The quake struck 39 kilometres (24 miles) south-southeast of Adipala, according to the USGS. It was felt in several towns up to 50 kilometres from the Javanese coast, including in the more densely populated Yogyakarta city, where at least eight homes were damaged, Nugroho said.

The quake hit at 12:14 pm (0514 GMT) at a depth of 83 kilometres, and Indonesia's meteorology, climatology and geophysics agency said there was no risk of a tsunami.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", where tectonic plates collide, causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity.

A 6.1-magnitude quake that struck Aceh province on Sumatra island in July 2013 killed at least 35 people and left thousands homeless.

'Strong' 5.8-magnitude quake rattles Greek island of Cephalonia
Athens (AFP) Jan 26, 2014 - A 5.8-magnitude earthquake struck the Greek island of Cephalonia in the Ionian Sea on Sunday, the Athens Observatory said, but there were no immediate reports of injuries.

The quake took place at 15:55 pm (1355 GMT) and was described as "very strong" by the Observatory. Its epicentre was 6 kilometres (3 miles) from the island's main town of Argostoli, some 280 km west of Athens.

"For the moment no casualties have been reported," a local police official told AFP. Early indications suggested there had been some damage to roads, he added.

"Some rocks have fallen onto roads and the roofs of some old houses have been damaged," the spokesman for the fire brigade, Nikos Tsongas, told local radio.

There were also reports that shop windows had been broken in Argostoli.

The tremor brought nervous residents into the streets, according to local authorities.

The quake was felt on several Ionian islands and as far away as Athens.

Several smaller aftershocks have been recorded.

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has asked Interior Minister Yiannis Mihelakis to pay a visit to the island, ANA news agency reported.

Greece is one of Europe's most earthquake-prone countries.

Cephalonia has previously been struck on several occasions and in August 1953 virtually every house on the island was destroyed during a major earthquake.

The island was also the setting for the popular novel Captain Corelli's Mandolin, about a Second World War romance between an Italian soldier and a local woman. A 2001 movie of the same name, starring Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz, was filmed on the island.


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Shallow 5.0-magnitude earthquake jolts Solomon Islands
Sydney (AFP) Jan 23, 2014
A shallow magnitude 5.0 earthquake struck off the Solomon Islands early Friday, with seismologists putting its epicentre at just one kilometre deep, but no immediate tsunami warning was issued. The US Geological Survey said the moderate quake struck at about 4:26 am local time (1726 GMT Thursday). Its epicentre was located in the ocean 70 kilometres (43 miles) south-southeast of Chirova ... read more

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