Amo ini ka mahinungdanon an ato Mt. Hilong-hilong: Proclaimed Critical Watershed Forest Reserve na tag declare na sab na Protected Area for Endangered Wildlife (key biodiversity area or kba), vested with long use & water right pa nan NIA (since 1971), flood prone area pa based on the geohazard map … Pagkatapos MGB (Mines & Geosciences Bureau) pa gihapon an magbuot or mag-exercise nan administrative jurisdiction nan area. Unta mohunong na sila. Ihatag na jaon nila sa PAWB (Protected Area & Wildlife Bureau) nan DENR. Jaon nay isab tag-create na Protected Area & Management Board (PAMB) na amoy unta magplano sanan mag-manage nan jaon na area pero tagsuspende an tanan meetings sa rason na waya nam hibay-i. Amo ini kalisod an opisina na doble kara. Lisod tiboon sa isa ka opisina na an mandato mag-guba nan kabukiran (exploitation & utilization) sanan konserba o pagpanalipod nan kinaiyahan (protection & conservation).


Remarkable video of a debris avalanche / lahar that occurred on Mount Rainier in Washington State, USA on 25th June. Further details on the Mount Rainier Climbing blog. (via The Landslide Blog)

The earthquake in Kathmandu – a popular tourist destination – killed both locals and visitors. Here’s what travelers can do to pack for geohazards.

(Photo credit: Flickr/SIM Central and South East Asia)

Here are some tips from Professor Cindy Ebinger and students in her “Geohazards and Their Mitigation” class:

  • Just as we consult weather predictions when packing suitcases, travelers can consider the earthquake, volcano, and other related hazards from landslides, avalanche, and tsunamis worldwide.
  • Know the layout of the hotel or residential neighborhood, the tsunami safety point, and review the guidelines for disaster response on the Federal Emergency Management Agency FEMA, United States Geological Service, or national websites.
  • In earthquake-prone areas, tourists can request information on the age of hotels, the building standard, and preparedness for earthquakes. News reports indicate that many sightseers and tourists were killed in the historic districts of Kathmandu, constructed before building standards were established. Adobe (unfired brick) and brick structures lacking cement are particularly susceptible to damage. This was the case in many recent earthquakes, including in Izmit, Turkey in 1999, Bam, Iran, in 2003, and L’Aquila, Italy in 2009.
  • Centuries-old buildings are unique and beautiful, but visitors with choices may wish to choose beds in new structures adhering to strict building codes.


Two big quakes today, both shallow and centred just over 50km from my house.

#1 Reports of ‘Earthquake Felt’ with a variety of different intensities across NZ from the Geonet website.

#2 first earthquake deemed 'severe’ with a lot of aftershocks following all day.

#3 - 4 The drum activity on the nearest two drums to my house.

From the media:
THE Wellington region has been shaken by a second strong quake this afternoon, after a 5.7 earthquake rocked the capital city this morning.
The magnitude 4.4 quake, at 3.21pm, was centred 55km west of Levin at a depth of 16km and had a Mercalli Intensity reading of 6. It was not centred near the spot where the first quake struck this morning.
Earlier today, people screamed, dived under desks and sheltered in doorways as a “severe” magnitude 5.7 earthquake rocked Wellington this morning.
There were no reports of damage so far, but workers in the central city have described multi-storey office buildings swaying for at least 30 seconds as the quake hit at 9.06am.
GeoNet said the “severe” quake struck 30km east of Seddon, in Marlborough, at a depth of 8km.
There has been a flurry of smaller shocks since the initial magnitude 5.7 quake, the strongest recorded as magnitude 3.8 at 9.38am.
At least 10 other shocks were recorded in the Marlborough area by 9.45am.
A Fire Service central communications spokeswoman said there were no reports of damage in the Wellington region so far, although an alarm activation may have been caused by the quake.

Representatives of Geotecnica Corporation met with settlers of barangays Tongonan and Nueva Vista here to give their assurance that the on-going geo-hazard study commissioned by the Leyte Geothermal Business Unit (LGBU) through First Balfour is only intended to see how landslides can be mitigated in the affected areas.

Liberating Public Geospatial Data in the Philippines

No to monopoly of geospatial data that belongs to the national patrimony.

Aside from the paranoia regarding the forthcoming NCR earthquake and the valley fault, there is a related paranoia happening - the paranoia on how to release the fault and earthquake data to the public (pdf, shapefile, webmap, printed, etc.).

We have to look at the story of Project NOAH for inspiration for the solution to the situation. For decades, other mapping agencies have always required letters, payments, and whatsoever redtape/excuse for not releasing data that belongs to the public and taxpayers. In contrast, what NOAH did was to liberate the geospatial data by doing the following:

1. Rendering the hard and soft copies of maps onto a webmap (and apps);

2. Releasing the open-format geospatial data (read: shapefiles) to professionals (mappers, planners, dev workers, etc.) who need to serve the people through their work as soon as possible FOR FREE and without much formality; and

3. By actually going to cities and municipalities to discuss, validate, and disseminate the maps in popular formats - printed in tarpaulin! smile emoticon

Therefore, what the other agencies failed to do for decades, the NOAH team was able to accomplish in a few years.

Here’s another true story: after Super Typhoon Yolanda, because NOAH and other geospatial data groups released the data in open formats (read: shapefile), we, humanitarians, were able to respond more accurately to the postdisaster situation. Our mapping teams were more able to validate the maps. It was easier to bring the map to the people and improving the map with them through joint fieldwork and community validation.

(What we just did in return was to give credit to whom it was due through metadata, logo placements, and reference lists).

Now, the people of Barangay Suluan in Guiuan, Eastern Samar have their own set of community-validated geohazard and base maps. They are now using it for evacuations and DRRM planning. Since they don’t have an internet connection (even mobile phone signal! no printers!), they don’t have to go to a website, Fort Bonifacio, or C.P. Garcia Ave. just to get the map.

Figure 1. A geohazard map of Guiuan. This is a work of the mapping team sponsored by UN-HABITAT, UNICEF, and the Local Government Unit of Guiuan, Eastern Samar. Data credits indicated in the logos.

But why would we require a disaster for data to be released openly, freely, and without much formality?

Bakit kailangang mangyari muna ang trahedya bago ilabas ang datos?

Dear government mapper/data holder, you do not “own” the data. We are but custodians - stewards - of the people’s data. Since we are mere stewards of the people’s data, we are supposed to release the data in most accurate, appropriate, and accessible format in the least possible cost and time. Please, don’t lock the map data away in “ivory towers.”

If the people can’t go get the data, then bring the data to the people.

Again, no to data monopoly of geospatial information that belongs to the national patrimony. Citizens, let’s demand more free and open geospatial data.

(opinions are personal)

The most dangerous spots in the Mediterranean for natural disasters

The most dangerous spots in the Mediterranean for natural disasters

Threats of potential extreme geohazards against humanity became partial reality this month, following the spectacular eruption of the Calbuco volcano in southern Chile (photo above); and the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in northern Nepal.  The Nepal earthquake, occurring in one of the poorest countries in the world, has so far killed more than 7,400 people, made thousands homeless; and caused deadly…

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Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Shiveluch (Kamchatka): KVERT reported that during 8-15 May lava-dome extrusion onto Sheveluch’s N flank was accompanied by incandescence, hot block avalanches, and fumarolic activity. A daily thermal anomaly was also detected in satellite images. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange.

Sinabung (Sumatra, Indonesia): The eruption continues with no significant changes. Viscous magma effuses slowly from the summit vent and continues to grow a new lava lobe on the upper southern flank. Collapses of parts of this unstable lava mass generate small to moderate pyroclastic flows.

Ambrym (Vanuatu): Activity at the volcano remains elevated. Lava lakes are active in Bembow and Marum craters. Geohazards maintains volcanic Alert Level 2: “The danger remains in the caldera area around the volcanic craters of Benbow and Marum (including Maben-Mbwelesu, Niri-Mbwelesu and Mbwelesu) and on volcanic ash and gas prone areas exposed to trade winds.”

Colima (Western Mexico): Explosions continue to occur from time to time. On 16 May an ash plume rose from Colima to an altitude of 5.5 km (18,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 95 km ESE before dissipating. A new lava dome might have started to grow inside the summit crater, where a flat, elevated ash-covered area is visible on a recent aerial photo.

Ubinas (Peru): Activity remains low at the volcano. No explosions have occurred recently, only mild to moderate steam emissions, sometimes mixed with light ash, reaching up to 1-1.2 km height and drifting mainly east and northeast. On the other hand, SO2 emissions were elevated and seismic activity, in particular rock-fracturing earthquakes, picked up a bit during the past week. This suggests that the internal pressure has increased compared to earlier this month.

During my time at university my geology A level has continued to be unendingly useful to my surprise. But never before has it been as useful as now - when I have literally done 0 revision for my 9am geohazards exam tomorrow. Go me.