Thursday, January 26, 2012

Christchurch, New Zealand

EDIT: I had the wrong dates on the images.  They are now correct.

On February 2nd, 2011, Christchurch, New Zealand was struck by an magnitude 6.3 aftershock from a quake in the October 2010.  Despite the 2010 quake being a magnitude 7.1, the February 2011 aftershock was rated a IX on the Mercalli intensity scale, causing heavy damage and liquefaction across the city.

These images take some scanning, but if you look at the top left of the "before" image, you should see the shadow of the large bell tower on the Christchurch Cathedral.  On the "after" image, notice that the bell tower has collapsed.  If you look at the bottom right, you'll see the CTV building that collapsed during the quake, killing 115 people.

February 14, 2011

February 25, 2011

You can find it yourself on Google Earth using these coords:      43°31'54.62"S     172°38'21.66"E

Check back next week to see my blog's first entry on a landslide!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Burnet, Texas

If you've been following this blog, you've most likely realized by now that I do a lot of Texas posts.  Well, being a native Texan, I've spent a good chunk of time looking around Texas on Google Earth and following Texas news so I feel like I can always find good material there.  Currently, with the fires and extreme drought this past year, I've been waiting for images from this summer and fall to make their way into public availability.  These past two months have really given me a lot to work with so I may have multiple Texas posts.  That being said, I'll try not to overload y'all with Texas imagery.

With the drought being slightly alleviated but still ongoing, Lake levels have been falling all over the state.  Some lakes more than others have really been affected.  Lake Buchanan is one in particular that has fallen significantly.  This graph from shows the levels for the 2011 and 2012.

After that especially steep summer drop, the lake has leveled off around 988 ft. 

I thought I'd try and provide topo maps for some of my posts from now on so here's the topo for Lake Buchanan followed by the Google Earth imagery.


January 31, 2008

October 17, 2011

You can find it yourself on Google Earth using these coords:     30°49'25.35"N     98°24'35.90"W

Check back next week to see the effects of an earthquake in a large, southern-hemisphere city.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Bastrop, Texas (II)

Man, I've been looking forward to this post for a while.  I wanted to do this back in November but was limited by available imagery.  However,  imagery became available in December so I finally got what I wanted and am proud to present to you:

The before and after of the Bastrop County Complex Wildfire!

So when this fire first broke out,  my attention was caught immediately because Bastrop State Park is one of my favorite parks in Texas.  A bad combination of drought, heat, and extreme winds helped this fire quickly became the most destructive in Texas history.  According to Wikipedia, 1,645 homes were burned across over 34,000 acres and two people were killed.  Just looking at this picture from Wikipedia's page on the event gives an idea of the magnitude of this fire:

"Oh, hello Mr. Apocalypse. ...So you vacation in Bastrop too?"

I decided to see if those clouds were tall enough to register on the Doppler RADAR and low and behold, I was able to save this gif:

That's a roughly 4-hour span where at least three smoke plumes can be seen southeast of Austin.  Two other fire plumes from other fires can be seen north-northwest of Houston.

March 31, 2011

September 7, 2011
You'll all be happy to know that LUECKE is untouched.

You can find it yourself on Google Earth using these coords:      30°06'45.25"N     97°13'43.59"W

Check back next week to see the effects on a lake during extreme drought.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sundial, West Virginia

Mountain destruction is one of the biggest problems facing the Appalachian region.  However, this problem is not part of some natural erosive process; it is entirely caused by the work of humans.  In fact, a handful of people have the power to put a stop to it right now if they wanted, but they aren't going to.

Mountaintop removal is a method of coal mining where the top of a mountain is blasted off in order to give cheap and easy access to coal seams.  The overburden material is then typically dumped in a valley or tossed back onto the remaining mountain as a pile of rubble.  As long as coal is in high demand, and no legislation is passed to end this practice, it will go on.

Not only is mountaintop removal an incredibly dangerous source of pollution (with coal dust and overburden being dumped at stream headwaters), but it is also a devastating loss of an iconic mountain system.  More and more people everyday have to watch as the mountains around their homes and towns are left in ruin, leaving a dirty, flattened wasteland where there was once a beautiful landscape.

April 23, 1996

December 31, 2002

June 07, 2009
If you want to help stop mountaintop removal, you can follow the "More info" link below.

You can find it yourself on Google Earth using these coords:     37°54'16.10"N      81°33'16.39"W

Check back next week to see devastation by wildfire.