Predicting the strength of earthquakes

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first_imgScientists will be able to predict earthquake magnitudes earlier than ever before thanks to new research by Marine Denolle, assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences (EPS).“For large-strike slip earthquakes like those that occur on the San Andreas Fault, which are likely to rupture for about 50 seconds, we would be able to predict the final magnitudes 2 to 5 seconds after getting the first seismic wave,” said Denolle, senior author of the study that appeared recently in Geophysical Research Letters.Denolle shares authorship with Philippe Danré, the first author and former EPS visiting master’s student; Jiuxun Yin, a Ph.D. candidate in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences; and Brad Lipovsky, an EPS researcher. The team also proved that the activity of earthquakes is actually organized, not chaotic as scientists had previously believed.“Our research, which is technically rather simple, provides answers relevant not only to earthquake dynamics, but to prediction of earthquake behavior before the earthquake ends,” said Denolle. While there is still no way to predict quakes before they begin, current detection systems consist of a series of sensors that transmit signals to determine the location and magnitude once rapid shaking occurs.Denolle and her team used data products and created numerical models to predict an earthquake’s final magnitude 10 to 15 seconds faster than today’s best algorithms — seconds that could provide enough time for people to exit a building or for officials to stop traffic before shaking starts.The team began by examining patterns of seismic signals — transient waveforms that radiate from the first rupture in a fault, a thin seam of crushed rock separating two blocks of the earth’s crust. An earthquake occurs when the blocks break free. Scientists read these waves using an underground instrument called a seismometer that translates motions into a graph called a seismogram. “Seismograms give us information about what happened on the fault at the place where the earthquake occurred,” said Denolle.Denolle and her team combined previous seismograms, which recorded changes in the waves over time as they traveled between the seismometer and the fault. This data product, known as “source time function,” provides a more accurate read on the waves from the source over long distances.Denolle and her team examined a catalog of source time functions from earthquakes around the globe between 1990 and 2017. They discovered that large earthquakes are actually composed of a series of subevents, smaller events whose size is nearly proportional to the size of the main one. The team concluded that they could predict the final size of an earthquake based on the size of the first few subevents.“The self-organization of earthquake ruptures is well-explained by heterogeneity on the fault, and our current knowledge of earthquake physics can explain our observations,” said Denolle.The researchers hope their work will continue to evolve and can one day help improve the algorithms for early warnings of earthquake. To do this, they will work on extracting more accurate high-frequency signals from earthquakes to understand more about their dynamics.“Eventually, we would hope that the study can provide some guidelines for proper modeling of large earthquakes, and serve as a tool for earthquake early warning, especially for regions expecting large earthquakes, like the Pacific Coast and Japan,” said Denolle.last_img read more


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first_imgSaint Mary’s religious studies professor Jessica Wrobleski spoke Wednesday night about the way contemporary views of sex can be understood in the context of Catholic teaching. The lecture, “The Meaning of Sex,” was one of a series of lectures called “Theology on Fire.” It was the first of several sponsored by Saint Mary’s Campus Ministry and the Center for Spirituality. The ideas for the lectures are developed from controversial issues concerning college students and the Catholic Church, senior Emma Hoffman, who organized the event, said. “We want to explore topics that come up in our peers’ conversation, or more importantly, what doesn’t,” Hoffman said. Wrobleski focused on students’ personal understanding of sex and sexuality in modern society. She said personal awareness of sex is necessary in contemporary culture. “Sex is an inevitable, unavoidable aspect of life. Whether you encounter it in a magazine, a television show or a relationship, it is something as young, single people, we can’t help but think about,” Wrobleski said. She spoke about the various definitions of sex and how students can discern significance from different settings, such as premarital sex, casual sex and sex between two people of the same gender, while observing Catholic understanding. “I want students to understand that sexuality is not primarily a list of arbitrary rules, but rather something that allows us to deeply connect with God as humans,” Wrobleski said. Junior Emily Kieffer said the lecture connected the different ways students view sex. “It went beyond what the Church tells you or what you read in Cosmo. I thought the lecture really brought sex in to a perspective that is valuable for me as a college student and as a human,” Kieffer said. Junior Teresa Cristarella agreed. “It was nice to discuss sexuality and in the Church in a non-condemning way, rather than the consequential way that it is normally viewed,” Cristarella said. Wrobleski encouraged students who have questions about their sexuality or sex’s role in their life to talk to peers, married couples and religious figures. “Sex, at its base, is a relationship, and it is best understood by discussing it with others that are in your shoes or have experience with your situation,” Wrobleski said. Wrobleski will also be offering a Religious Studies course this spring called “Theologies of Love.” The curriculum focuses on relationships and broader questions of love.last_img read more


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first_img August 1, 2003 Jan Pudlow Associate Editor Regular News Associate EditorFor Eddie Mulock, who once served on The Florida Bar’s Board of Governors, the idea sprang to mind while stretched out in a hospital bed preparing for a heart transplant. After he’d been given one day to live, Mulock learned precious perspective: “Getting fills your pockets. Giving fills your heart.” If he survived, he vowed he’d work to create a summer camp for special-needs kids.For Norman Gerstein, an 11th Circuit judge, inspiration came from his own two young sons, now 5 and 9, realizing how much time and attention kids need to flourish. Yet, he realized, so many foster children don’t have the same opportunities to thrive and just be carefree kids. Many live in neighborhoods so dangerous they spend entire summers locked behind doors watching TV.They are two Florida lawyers, one in Bradenton and one in Miami, who looked beyond their own privileged lives and dreamed up a way to let kids be kids – with nurturing, constructive programs fueled by not-for-profit corporations they head. Both Mulock and Gerstein say the biggest reward for their charitable work is seeing the smiles on the faces of the children they serve.Since the Florida Bar News first reported about each program (Mulock’s in the August 15, 2001, issue, and Gerstein’s in November 1, 2002), much has happened, thanks to generous donations and grants that both programs need to keep going. Here are their progress reports: Foundation for Dreams A major heart attack sent Mulock to Shand’s Hospital in Gainesville, where he was connected to a heart and lung machine while awaiting a new heart. Within those stark and sterile walls, Mulock had met a lot of very sick children stuck in hospitals too, and he wondered what they had to look forward to. He’d found out about special-needs camps, but learned there were none on Florida’s West Coast, and pledged to do something about it. When he got out of the hospital in 1995, he got busy making good on his promise and created the Foundation for Dreams. It would take more than five years of preparation before the first campers arrived and “Mr. Eddie” greeted them with teary enthusiasm.On more than 200 acres of a little used Boy Scouts of America property, Camp Flying Eagle in East Manatee County has been transformed into Dream Oaks Camp, an inclusive, barrier-free campground for children ages 6 to 18, who are terminally ill, mentally and physically challenged, as well as at-risk kids.“The Foundation is to establish dreams, mine and theirs, to help these kids have fun like any other children,” said Mulock.“They don’t have to worry about anybody making fun of them, because a lot of kids are just like they are.”All-terrain wheelchairs roll along nature trails. A slanted wooden ramp brings disabled children to saddle level where they happily trot away on gentle horses. Downs Syndrome children snuggle in the bottom of canoes while counselors do the paddling down the Manatee River. Blind children create art for others to see.Water-skiing clinics provide two-on-one instruction, using adaptive “sit skis” adjusted to a child’s weight, height, and ability.Sailboats are completely accessible and give kids a chance to pull the lines and steer the boat.Golf clinics provide one-on-one instruction for children of all abilities, including adaptive equipment.Wheelchair sporting events include basketball, hand-cycling, and boccie.When the first campers arrived in the summer of 2001, Dream Oaks was open only as a day camp and served 56 children.This summer’s seven weeks of camp, Mulock is pleased to report, served about 200 campers—a 30-percent increase over last year—and there are also residential “sleep-over” camp programs thanks to donations that have financed the construction of cabins.Construction is completed on the first four of 10 cabins. Three new cabins — funded by the Kiwanis Club of Bradenton, the Sertoma Club of Greater Sarasota, and the Norton Family — are under construction and are scheduled to open in the fall. Those new cabins will provide space to serve an additional 30 children each week.The new residential cabins have sidewalks connected to the dining hall and Manatee Memorial Health Lodge, where a full-time nurse carefully doles out medications and checks blood pressure and monitors vitals, and doctors are on call.Renovations are finished on the Splash Pools Aquatic Center. A new fire pit and Rotary Pavilion have been built. Fishing excursions on a newly outfitted pond are a new attraction. The Pat and Charlene Neal Nature Center is an ecology building and aviary, where children bend over microscopes studying plants and animals. Thanks to the Pilot Club, there is a better sound system for dances and talent shows.Each week of camp is geared to a special group. For example, June 22-27 catered to campers with hemophilia and other blood-related diseases, and July 14-18 was especially for children with developmental disabilities.This year, one more week of camp was added — a residential outdoor adventure camp open to individuals of all abilities. In the spring and fall, the agenda has been expanded to weekend retreats.The Dream Oaks Camp provides 2-to-1 or 3-to-1 ratio of campers to counselor, based upon the needs of the participant.Staff has been hired from as far away as South Africa, Russia, and Great Britain. All staff completed a week of training and hold CPR and First Aid certifications.“Every time I see a parent or a caregiver of one of our campers, I become overjoyed to hear how the camp has made an impact on their child’s life,” Mulock said, telling of the time a mother cried to see her son laugh, a rarity in his challenged life.“The smiles and pure joy I witness when I stop out to camp would not be possible without the support of our friends.” For more information, contact the Foundation for Dreams, Inc. 2620 Manatee Avenue West, Suite D, Bradenton 34205; phone: 941-748-8809, email at info@FoundationforDreams.org, or visit the Web site at www.FoundationforDreams.org. Summer Fun for KidsIf you’re at the Miami Seaquarium, the Miami Museum of Science, the Miami MetroZoo, or a park in the Miami area and happen to see a swarm of kids in Day-Glo lime-green T-shirts, chances are they belong to Judge Gerstein.“You can see them a quarter-mile away,” says Judge Gerstein of more than 400 children taking part in his Summer Fun for Kids program wearing their special shirts.As the name suggests, the program is all about providing fun activities for kids, most who have been removed from their homes by the State of Florida because of abuse, neglect, or abandonment, and are in emergency shelter or foster care.“The mission is to improve the lives of at-risk children by providing them the opportunity to enjoy summer activities in safe, nurturing environments that promote the development of their creativity, self-esteem, and independence,” Judge Gerstein said.It all started in 1999 when Judge Gerstein and his wife, Jackie, general counsel for Children’s Home Society, reached into their pockets to send eight foster children to camp at Temple Judea. They wanted these children to experience some of the same advantages their own boys enjoy.That kind gesture to help eight children grew into a nonprofit program that reached more than 140 children the summer of 2001 and has now grown to serving 400-500 kids.“It’s growing faster than I ever thought it would,” said Judge Gerstein, who has a trusted board of directors that does the fundraising and applies for grants.They’re doing a good job. The rapidly expanding program has reaped grants from the Heckscher Foundation for Children, the George and Ethel Kennedy Family Foundation, and The Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention and Treatment — and that influx of money has made all the difference.That financial support has made possible three new programs. More than 100 children attend the National Football League’s Youth Education Town for 10 weeks of camp.And more than 200 children attend Shake-a-Leg, a sailing camp for persons with disabilities, where the program includes a week of sailing in unsinkable boats, motorboat trips, and kayaking on Biscayne Bay.Shake-a-Leg was able to use funds from Summer Fun for Kids as a match for funds from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in order to provide a greater number of camp opportunities for special needs children, including those with developmental and physical disabilities.“One of the hallmarks of our program is that we work out a collaboration with agencies. For example, the Children’s Home Society is watching their own kids. They case-manage their own kids,” Judge Gerstein explained.“The University of Miami people asked if we could devise field trips for the Pediatric AIDS clinic,” Judge Gerstein said. The idea, he explained, was these children have to take their drugs and go to counseling, and the field trips would be an incentive to follow their rigorous treatment regimens.“It’s part of a reward system and actually has a medical-social bent,” Judge Gerstein said.The reward for the Gersteins and the lawyers who volunteer their time on the Summer Fun for Kids board of directors is seeing smiles on the faces of children who’ve had a rough time in their young lives.“I know these children are our future,” Judge Gerstein said. “There are some kids who can get into horrible situations and have lots of problems. That’s also our future if we ignore our children. But if we step in and do something, these children who are our future can be happy and successful.”One of the many benefits of the program, Judge Gerstein said, is that foster kids are “mainstreamed” with children who don’t come from dysfunctional homes.“They learn as much from other children as the program themselves. They learn about attitudes, about kids who did not grow up in foster care.”The original Summer Fun for Kids gave at-risk and special needs children an opportunity to attend camp or field trips throughout Miami-Dade County, including 110 kids who attended camp at the Museum of Science, the Miami Seaquarium, Danny Berry Baseball Camp, and the City of South Miami Parks and Recreation Department. In addition, 30 children with special needs went on field trips to more than 20 locations twice a week.This summer, about 70 children attended the City of South Miami’s camp, 25 children to the YMCA and Trinity Church Camp, and 30 to 40 special needs children will go on field trips twice a week to about 20 different locations. (Some of these field trips will take place during Christmas and spring breaks, too.)Counting the happy faces on kids having fun this summer, Judge Gerstein knows first-hand: “Each one of us can make a huge difference in a child’s life.” For more information about Summer Fun for Kids, write 2900 Middle St., Suite 700, Miami, FL 33133, call 305-442-2815, or email sumfunforkids@aol.com. Lawyers go to bat for kids Two programs strive to let kids be kids Lawyers go to bat for kids:last_img read more