Join Google Earth Engine at EGU 2014

This year, in addition to having an exhibit booth at European Geosciences Union General Assembly (EGU GA), Google Inc will be hosting a side event on Google technologies for working with geophysical data.

edu-photoA special workshop themed Google Geo for Research and Higher Education Workshop, will be held in Vienna during the week of the annual EGU GA. This free workshop is intended for scientists, researchers, students, and faculty who regularly work with geospatial data and are interested in learning about Google’s geospatial analysis and management tools.

Attendees will gain hands-on introductory experience with Google’s Geo cloud technologies including Google Earth Engine for geospatial data analysis and Google Maps Engine for geospatial data management and publication.

The workshop is to be held Monday, 28 April, 2014 between 18:00-22:00 PM at Hotel Das Triest, Wiedner Hauptstrasse 12, Wien (near the EGU 2014 venue). If you plan on attending fill in the online form. A light meal will be provided free to participants. Deadline for application is March 26th.

Ideal participants will meet one or more of the following requirements:

  • Demonstrated ability to make effective use of Google geospatial technology within a research or academic setting.
  • Currently working on geo/mapping-related projects
  • Intermediate-to-advanced technical experience in one or more of the following areas:
    • GIS and/or Remote Sensing
    • Google Earth, Maps, Maps Engine or Earth Engine
    • Web/multimedia development
    • Programming for Google Geo APIs

A bibliography of seismic events

A bibliography of seismic events

Search for previous scientific work is never an easy task. Thanks to the internet and good search engines such as Google Scholar this process has been made a bit more easier. (It makes young scientists wonder how searching was done in the pre-internet days!). Although searching nowadays seems to be a simple tasks, it still requires putting in the correct combination of search terms. Furthermore you cannot just assume that if something does not show up on the internet search then it does not exists.

Seismologists studying a specific earthquake now have a new tool that can help them with their scientific search. The International Seismological Centre (ISC) has just launched the ISC Event Bibliography database ( The database allows users to search for publications linked to a seismic event (earthquake or anthropogenic event) in the ISC Bulletin ( The search can include various event parameters (e.g., location and time of the event) and/or publications parameters (e.g., author name, journal, year of publication). A detail explanation can be found in this month edition of the Seismological Research Letters – freely available online (

Earthquake locations of most scientifically discussed events

Earthquake locations of most scientifically discussed events. The grey circles refer to events with less than 20 associated publications, dark gray squares to events having 20–54 associated publications, and black stars refer to the 50 events listed below the map. Bottom: The first 50 seismic events and the number of associated publications (N).

The work on the ISC database has been ongoing since 2012, linking parametric data related to seismic events in the ISC Bulletin to publications considering specific seismic events. The database starts with publications from the 1950s and also includes events (mostly earthquakes) from the first half of last century. As new publications become available the database is regularly updated. The new entries in the database are, for now, from selected journals that encompass a wide range of disciplines related to geoscience.

Although the database is quite extensive, the collection is not entirely comprehensive yet, and users are welcome to contribute via a submission form ( or by contacting the ISC directly (

Earthquake lights (2)

The phenomena of earthquake lights, mysterious lights in the sky during seismic activity, is still not clearly understood (check out the previous post about Earthquake Lights). Now, new research reveals interesting discoveries that might give a better scientific explanation about the phenomena. A presented research at the Bulletin of the American Physical Society, APS March Meeting in Denver, Colorado demonstrates that high voltage signals can be generated by shifting soil layers. This process could result in a substantial electrical  discharge. The authors explain that the phenomena can be simply reproduced by filling a plastic container with flour and tipping it back and forth until cracks appear. 

Electrical spikes of 100 volts or more can result when a crack opens and closes in bed of powder

On a larger geophysical scale, during large catastrophic slip events (such as landslides and earthquakes) such a process can potentially be responsible for the observed earthquake lights.


Read the abstract here.

Read the interview with Professor Troy Shinbrot:

Sailors wake up call


Camp Shields, Okinawa, Japan

A magnitude 6.6 earthquake shook the island of Okinawa Japan during the early hours of the morning on March 3rd this week. Sailors from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion were preparing to attend their morning physical training session when the tremor rocked Camp Shields.

Read the full story here.