(PhysOrg.com) — The Rio Grande Rift, a thinning and stretching of Earth’s surface that extends from Colorado’s central Rocky Mountains to Mexico, is not dead but geologically alive and active, according to a new study involving scientists from the University of Colorado Boulder’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.
“We don’t expect to see a lot of earthquakes, or big ones, but we will have some earthquakes,” said CU-Boulder geological sciences Professor Anne Sheehan, also a fellow at CIRES. The study also involved collaborators from the University of New Mexico, New Mexico Tech, Utah State University and the Boulder-headquartered UNAVCO. The Rio Grande Rift follows the path of the Rio Grande River from central Colorado roughly to El Paso before turning southeast toward the Gulf of Mexico.
Sheehan was not too surprised when a 5.3 magnitude earthquake struck about 9 miles west of Trinidad, Colo., in the vicinity of the Rio Grande Rift on Aug. 23, 2011. The quake was the largest in Read more…
GOLDEN — A magnitude 5.3 earthquake shook southern Colorado late Monday, waking some people up and startling hundreds of others, including some in Colorado Springs.
Colorado Springs residents reported feeling the temblor about 11:49 pm Monday on Twitter at @csgazette.
The USGS link online confirmed the tweets’ accuracy.
The magnitude 5.3 earthquake was recorded at about 11:46 p.m. MDT Monday about nine miles southwest of Trinidad, and about 135 miles south of Colorado Springs, according to the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden. The quake followed two smaller ones that hit the area earlier in the day.
The quake is the largest in Colorado since a magnitude 5.7 was recorded in 1973, U.S. Geological Service geophysicist Amy Vaughn said. That one was centered in the northwestern part of the state — about 50 miles north of Read more…
Unemployment rates rose in more than 90 percent of U.S. cities in June, according to a report released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Unemployment rose in 345 large metro areas during the month, according to the report. Rates dropped in 20 cities, and remained steady in seven.
The national unemployment rate increased in June to 9.2 percent.
The statistics show a drastic change in unemployment rates in recent months. In May, unemployment rates rose in only 210 cities. In April, rates decreased in nearly all metro areas.
In June, employers added just 18,000 jobs, the lowest number in nine months. It was also a sharp decrease from the average of 215,000 jobs that were added in February, March, and April.
Many of the highest unemployment rates were seen in metro areas that are college towns. Champaign-Urbana, Ill., the home of the University of Illinois, saw its unemployment rate rise from 6.9 percent in May to 9.6 percent in June. College towns in Read more…
From the University of Nebraska-Lincoln , a new record in the 12 year old drought monitor.
US sets drought monitor’s ‘exceptional drought’ record in July
Worst classification for drought in nearly 12 percent of contiguous US
The percent of contiguous U.S. land area experiencing exceptional drought in July reached the highest levels in the history of the U.S. Drought Monitor, an official at the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln said.
Nearly 12 percent of the contiguous United States fell into the “exceptional” classification during the month, peaking at 11.96 percent on July 12. That level of exceptional drought had never before been seen in the monitor’s 12-year history, said Brian Fuchs, UNL assistant geoscientist and climatologist at the NDMC.
The monitor uses a ranking system that Read more…
The storm resulted from thunderstorm-cooled air plummeting into the ground like mist pouring from an open freezer, only exponentially more powerful. Combine those winds with extremely dry conditions, and the result was a wall of dust 100 miles wide and 5,000 feet high.
Dust storms are common in the U.S. southwest, but not storms this big. No formal records are kept, but meteorologists said it was the largest such storm in at least 30 years. It was on par with storms seen in China’s Gobi desert and Australia. Some commentators invoked the apocalyptic storms of the 1930’s Dust Bowl.
As dry as it’s been in the southwest this year, with precipitation 50 percent below mid-20th century levels, there’s reason to think that extra-dry conditions will Read more…
BY P. SOLOMON BANDA AND SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN
LOS ALAMOS, N.M. — The U.S. government sent a plane equipped with radiation monitors over the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory Wednesday as a 110-square-mile wildfire burned at its doorstep, putting thousands of scientific experiments on hold for days.
Lab authorities described the monitoring as a precaution, and they, along with outside experts on nuclear engineering, expressed confidence that the blaze would Read more…
CHICAGO — Epic floods, massive wildfires, drought and the deadliest tornado season in 60 years are ravaging the United States, with scientists warning that climate change will bring even more extreme weather.
The human and economic toll over just the past few months has been staggering: hundreds of people have died, and thousands of homes and millions of acres have been lost at a cost estimated at more than $20 billion.
And the United States has not even entered peak hurricane season.
“This spring was one of the most extreme springs that we’ve seen in the last century since we’ve had good records,” said Deke Arndt, chief of climate monitoring for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
While it’s not possible to tie a specific weather event or pattern to climate change, Arndt said this spring’s extreme weather is in line with what is forecast for the future.
“In general, but not everywhere, it is expected that the wetter places will get wetter and the drier places will tend to see more prolonged dry periods,” he told AFP.
“We are seeing an increase in the amount (of rain and snow) that comes at once, and the ramifications are that it’s a lot more water to deal with at a Read more…