Reading Around the Internet: January 12, 2016

I guess having a cold makes me more likely to blog… It certainly puts me in front of the computer a whole lot more…

With apologies to those of you who follow me on Twitter and/or Facebook who likely already saw this, I wanted to post this for my DPP readers, too. I have been reading about the earthquake that happened in Nepal in April of 2015, and bumped into an article on-line in the Daily Mail titled “Deadly ‘kink’ in the fault line beneath Nepal causes the Himalayas to GROW but also threatens to unleash another earthquake.  It’s a fascinating discussion of the geology of the Himalaya mountains, and what caused the big earthquake in April. Anyone interested in earthquake science (or anyone who lives on a fault line) should find it an interesting read.

Also very importantly for disaster recovery purposes, the geologists studying the 2015 Gorkha earthquake are strongly suggesting that there may be another strong earthquake in the next few years. This is because only part of the pressure on the fault line was released in the earthquake — which means another section may yet move. If true, then those rebuilding in the area should consider the possibility of another strong earthquake sooner rather than later. Some organizations have, in fact, been working to help the Nepalese rebuild and develop more quake-resistant houses.

The summary of the research can be found at the link above (just click the title of the article). There’s graphics and a video or two. For the more scientifically minded, the research was published in Nature Geoscience. There’s some technical language here, but I applaud the authors for, mostly, explaining their work in language that I could understand. Here’s a link to that article (click here), which appears to be ungated thanks to the nature.come sharing initiative. In case the link doesn’t work, the full citation is:

Elliott, J.R., R. Jolivet, P.J. Gonzalez, J.-P. Avouac, J. Hollingsworth, M.P. Searle, and V.L. Stevens. “Himalayan megathrust geometry and relation to topography revealed by the Gurkha earthquake.” Natural Geoscience, advance on-line publication,

In the meantime, I do want to point out, since many of my readers have suffered through natural disasters, that the situation in Nepal has been sad and difficult.  Right now, however, relief efforts are also being complicated by winter weather. This is a major humanitarian crisis that has received some attention, but not nearly enough.


Reading Around the Internet, January 11, 2016

Good morning — we have a beautiful, cold morning here in Cape Girardeau. It’s a welcome change to the rainy weather we had all weekend.

A few noteworthy items popped up late last week and over the weekend around the Internet that I know various readers may find interesting:

Toxic Torts

There’s an interesting discussion about a toxic tort case in The New York Times Magazine, titled “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare.” Lawyer Rob Bilott has been working to expose a very long history of chemical pollution. Nathaniel Rich describes the history behind the case as well as some of the legal maneuverings. For those interested in groundwater issues as well as toxic tort litigation, it’s both a fascinating and frustrating read: fascinating, because of the manner in which the case came to Bilott and his commitment to it; frustrating, because there remain so many unresolved issues after years of litigating.

The Mississippi River Flood

As the flood that caused so much damage here in Missouri and in Illinois moves southward, the Army Corps of Engineers continues to activate flood works in various areas. Yesterday, they opened the gates on the Bonnet Carré spillway in Louisiana. This spillway is activated in order to allow waters from the Mississippi River to flow into Lake Pontchartrain. The goal is to keep the river below the 17 feet (the levees in New Orleans protect the city up to 20 feet). If the Morganza spillway needs to be opened, the earliest that will occur is October 13th. They expect the river to crest tomorrow. WeatherUnderground has some great coverage. If you click through, be sure to also check out their discussion of the subtropical storm that appears to be forming in the Atlantic.

Also, NASA has released images of the New Year’s Flood. For those of you particularly interested in flooding along the river the images are very interesting. If you scroll down, you’ll see that they have also provided links to various other sites that may be of interest, including the National Weather Service’s review of the event.

Huge Bushfire Creates Weather System in Western Australia

Finally, this story caught my eye. There’s a huge blaze in Yarloop, Western Australia that has (it appears), created its own weather system. Courtney Bembridge at ABC News ( reports on it, describing the ways in which this weather system is making it more difficult to fight the fire. Because the heat of the fire is rising to meet moisture in the atmosphere, lightning storms have formed. The story explains the process, with graphics and is well worth taking the time to read.