Archive for January, 2010|Monthly archive page


I don’t have much to say about the human side of the Haitian earthquake except that it’s terrible, as media reports will tell you.  I saw the waves coming in on our seismograph drum, which gave some idea of the distance and size of the earthquake but not the location. The location in itself is about as bad as possible — a large, shallow earthquake very close to a major city, in a country too poor to afford earthquake-resistant construction. All I can do is suggest that you donate to relief organizations and press the Canadian and other governments to get aid in place as quickly as possible.

I can, at least, say something meaningful about the seismology. Continue reading


Today I made maps.

Geophysics is a visual science. Nearly every paper I’ve written has started with the figures. The reason for this is that the end result of data analysis or calculation ends up making sense only as an image; the figures in my papers usually contain the results that the text seeks to obtain or interpret.

Continue reading