Seismic sense is a sub-skill of earthbending that constitutes for physical sense. This skill enables earthbenders to detect vibrations in the ground to perceive objects, people, and other aspects of their environment, essentially acting as sonar, but through earth and metal.


The Sound of the Earth

Artist Lotte Geeven traveled to what is perhaps the deepest hole on Earth, a 5.5-mile deep rift in the Czech Republic, and listened. This is the sound of the Earth, most likely seismic waves converted into the audible range. I find no fault in this music :)

We live on a creaking, grinding, swelling, shrinking, popping, and shaking blob of molten magma and magnetic metal surrounded by a thin candy shell. Never forget that.

Now that I think about it, Earth and I must be related because MY belly makes this same sound if you put your ear up to it. (via Verge)

Previously: Listen to a volcano scream before it erupts.


​​San Andreas fault movement has sparked major earthquake fears in California

The world’s most notorious fault line in San Andreas has massive seismic pressure just waiting to be released, new scientific evidence has confirmed. When it snaps, it could unleash a massive earthquake, possibly the long-hypothesized “Big One.” Scientists have predicted that once the fault ruptures, it will have catastrophic effects on California’s environment and infrastructure.

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The simplest kind of fault

When rocks tear and break they can do so in a variety of ways, depending on whether they are being pulled apart (aka extension to geologists), pushed together (compression) or slid alongside each other (strike slip, like the San Andreas) by the tectonic forces affecting the area. This example is a normal fault from Iran, produced by pull apart forces, at least on a local level. The layers pick out very well the block of rock that has dropped between two others, and the two fault lines bordering it. The tectonics in Iran are complex, the main forces are compressive as Arabia separates from Africa and is in a slow motion collision that is closing the Persian Gulf. As the rock is pushed out of the way and uplifted to form mountains such as the Zagros range some regions are twisting and buckling in a rotatory motion, leading to local extensive forces and normal faulting.


Image credit: Outcropedia

This is the New York Time Best Selling Graphic Novels list for 11/16/14.

1 SISTERS, by Raina Telgemeier. (Scholastic.) Raina is stuck in the back seat between her younger brother and sister for a weeklong road trip in this family memoir. Will such close quarters force the siblings to finally get along?

2 MS. MARVEL, VOL. 1, by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona. (Marvel Entertainment.) Kamala Khan has always dreamed of gaining superpowers, but when her wish actually comes true, can she use them to save the citizens of Jersey City without being grounded by her parents?

3  SMILE, by Raina Telgemeier. (Scholastic.) Raina experiences braces, an earthquake, boy troubles, frenemies and other plagues of the sixth grade.

4  THE WALKING DEAD COMPENDIUM, VOL. 1, by Robert Kirkman and others. (Image Comics.) This massive collected edition — over 1,000 pages — reprints the first 48 issues of “The Walking Dead.”

5  THE WALKING DEAD, VOL. 21, by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard. (Image Comics.) The causalities continue to mount as the war between the Survivors and the Saviors reaches its conclusion.

6  HAWKEYE, VOL. 3, by Matt Fraction, Annie Wu and Javier Pulido. (Marvel Entertainment.) Kate Bishop arrives in Los Angeles, intent on creating her own path as Hawkeye, and almost immediately finds herself in the crosshairs of Madame Masque.

7  THE WALKING DEAD COMPENDIUM, VOL. 2, by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard. (Image Comics.) This collected edition, of issues 49-96, follows Rick and his group of survivors as they try to stay alive — with zombies and some humans against them.

8  AMULET, VOL. 6, by Kazu Kibuishi. (Scholastic.) Max makes a promise to the Elf King that he may not be able to keep while Emily and Navin are ordered to go into the war-torn city of Lucien.

9  DRAMA, by Raina Telgemeier. (Scholastic.) Middle-school drama becomes much more intense when Callie becomes the stage manager for a production of “Moon Over Mississippi.”

10.  AMULET, VOL. 1, by Kazu Kibuishi. (Scholastic.) Emily and Navin are two ordinary children who discover a dangerous world filled with demons, robots, and talking animals under the basement of their great–grandfather’s house.

In addition to Ms. Marvel (a comic about identity and alienation with a diverse cast and a distinctly feminist slant) debuting at the number two slot, you know what I see?

Three of the ten are the stories of teenage girls, AIMED at pre-teen to teenage girls.  Two more (Amulet) are aimed at both boys and girls, but feature a central female character (Emily) and her single mother (Karen.)  And one is a superhero comic about a rarity in the female world: a female character who is not a “Ms.” who is not a “Lady” or a “She” or a “Madam” or a “Girl.”  She is just HAWKEYE, just like the man who carries the title, and that is encouraged and accepted within the narrative.

Seven of the ten are the stories of girls.  

But girls don’t buy comics, right?  8)

voltron avatar au headcanons:
  • shiro and keith are fire benders and pseudo brothers
  • haggar and her druids are blood(water)benders
  • shiro’s arm was created by metal(earth)benders and fused to him via blood bending
  • this makes him hella rad at lightning redirection
  • lance is a  water bender living in an earth kingdom village
  • hunk is an earth bender with an affinity for seismic sense (sensing vibrations through the ground)
  • pidge is a swamp earthbender with skills in mud bending (later on she  and hunk learn how to metal bend)
  • allura is an airbender (avatar)
  • coran is the nonbending friend™ who is their much needed moral support
  • zarkon is the mcfreaking fire lord
  • shiro was captured by zarkon and his posse™ because he opposed the fire nation
  • keith rescues him after the whole arm fiasco and, fleeing the fire nation, they run into hunk, lance and pidge who are travelling together to find a water bending teacher for lance
  • after reaching the northern water tribe, they find allura and coran in a mystical cave preserved in the ice 
  • klance with water bending vs fire bending shenanigans
  • shiro helping allura learn about the changes that have happened when she was frozen
  • the lions are eagle-lions (thas how they fly, my guy) from the spirit world who chose the five as their partners to help take down zarkon
  • keith: lance said i never cradled him in my arms!
  • pidge: that’s rough, buddy

Liquefaction! Clay minerals can have some resistance when you first step on them, but shake them, release fluids, and suddenly they lose all strength.


In a typical month, the planet is shaken by an average of one or two medium-to-large earthquakes. This past month was not typical. Things were running on track up until the end of March, and then the ground went totally bonkers.

There was an incredible 13 quakes of magnitudes 6.5 or higher in April. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, which issued bulletins for each one, says that is “easily a record for this institution." Five of these temblors were powerful enough that the center also put out tsunami warnings. They include the massive quakes in northern Chile at the beginning of the month, as well as three more that shook the Solomon Islands in the following weeks.

The unusual spike in seismic activity is shown in this animation, which displays the locations and depths of quakes for the first four months of 2014.

-April Had a Record Number of Big Earthquakes


Moulin Seismics

Moulins are deep vertical shafts on a glacier/ice-sheets that helps drain meltwater from the surface. Meltwater streams and supraglacial lakes (lakes on the surface of the glacier/ice-sheet) drain their water into moulins and make their way right to the bottom where they help lubricate the path of the glacier, thereby accelerating its flow (watch this clip for an example - Since these drainage systems directly influence the basal motion of glaciers and ice-sheets an understanding of these systems are essential for calculating glacier mass balances and thereby global sea level rise.

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Today, March 11 marks the five year anniversary of the deadly Tohuku earthquake and tsunami. The earthquake was the strongest in Japanese recorded history, registering 9.0 on the Moment Magnitude scale, and one of the 5 strongest recorded in the world since 1900. The epicenter was located about 70 km (43 mi) off the coast of the Oshika Peninsula at a depth of 32 km (20 mi). Although the death toll and damage from the earthquake was severe, the greatest destruction was caused by the deadly tsunami that followed.

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Offshore Drilling Part 1: What Is It, and Its Impacts on the Marine Ecosystem

I had started writing about the Arctic offshore drilling happening right now off the coasts of Alaska, but as I rambled on and on, I figured I needed to first start by explaining what offshore drilling is, and what it does to the marine environment.

  • What Is Offshore Drilling?

We consume more than 93 million barrels of oil every day worldwide. To meet our ravenous demand for fossil fuels, petroleum companies constantly comb the planet for new reserves, and a vast majority of these resources are under the oceans. 

Most of the world’s petroleum is trapped between 500 and 25,000 feet (152 and 7,620 meters) under dirt and rock. How did it all get there? All this oil actually began as plankton, which died in the ancient seas between 10 and 600 million years ago. This decaying matter drifted to the bottom of the ocean, and over time was covered with sand and mud. Without oxygen, and millions of years of heat and pressure, this organic material eventually transformed into vast deposits of liquid, gas and solid petroleum, all capped in traps under thick layers of rock. 


Offshore platforms are giant structures used for the purpose of drilling and extracting these gas and oil from wells, located deep beneath the ocean floors. They are strongly built and are designed to last decades in the harsh environment. Depending on the requirements, they can either be floating or fixed to the ocean floor.

Nowadays, modern oil rigs are gigantic floating cities, employing and housing hundreds of people. Some go down to the bottom at depths of over 4,000 feet (1,200 meters). 

  • How Does Offshore Drilling Affect the Environment?

Seismic blasting - Offshore drilling has a number of negative impacts on our environment. First of all, you have to find the oil. One of the ways to find the oil is through the use of seismic surveying. This method involves sending shock waves down through the water and into the ocean floor. With the aid of computers, seismologists can then analyze the shock wave results to pinpoint possible oil locations in the ocean floor.

(Source: Oceana)

Survey ships use both compressed air guns and explosives to emit shock waves. However, this kind of acoustic pollution poses a threat to seismically aware sea animals such as the endangered blue whale, and to other marine mammals relying heavily on marine echolocation. The incredibly loud blasts have also been found to damage or kill fish eggs and larvae and to impair the hearing and health of fish, making them vulnerable to predators and leaving them unable to locate prey or mates or communicate with each other.


Oil Spills - Obviously, offshore drilling also increases the risks of oil spill from drilling itself or from the transportation of the oil from the rig. As we have learned from the Deepwater Horizon, the Exxon Valdez, or simply after hurricanes pass through the Gulf of Mexico, thousands of animals die as a result of these oil spills. In the long-run, an oiled and degraded habitat reduces productivity, affects the health and immune system of marine animals, disturbs the food chain, and reduces the chances of development in fish eggs and larvae. It is also extremely costly for the fishing and tourism industries for the coastal communities that rely heavily on them.

Recovery from an oil spill takes years. In 2014, NOAA published this graphic showing the recovery timeline for different species after the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill. As indicated, 25 years later, some species are still in the process of recovering, and some have not shown any signs of recovery at all.

(Source: NOAA; see full size)

Toxic waste pollution - In addition to environmental damage from oil spills, the routine operations associated with offshore drilling produce many toxic wastes and other forms of pollution. Each oil platform can discharge hundreds of thousands of gallons of contaminated water daily, affecting both local waters and those down current from the discharge.

Policy-makers need to remember that our oceans create over half of our oxygen, drive our weather systems, govern the flow of nutrient and energy around the world, and provide us with vital sources of protein, energy, minerals and other products. In the face of the climate crisis, every nation need to look for ways to decrease petroleum consumption, not for ways to increase it.