Thursday, November 24, 2011

Port-au-Prince, Haiti


This post marks my final piece of a three-post-series special for Thanksgiving.  This post, as well as the previous posts, will remind us what we have to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.


This post also happens to be my final post for 2011.  I'm taking the month of December off in order to enjoy my holidays, contact graduate programs, and find a ton of new blog material.  Keep sharing, and commenting though, I'll still be on and off!  See y'all on January 5th, 2012!

The 7.0 magnitude Haiti Earthquake of January 2010 was one of the biggest disasters of the 21st century.  The Haitian government estimated the death toll at 316,000 which would make it the third largest earthquake death toll in history.  Because of Haiti's poor building codes and a general lack of decent infrastructure, the damage was very widespread and severe.  Humanitarian aid came from many different countries though and worked hard to get medical supplies, food and drinking water, and clean up crews in.  The country is still rebuilding and still in need of many kinds of aid.  As many of my readers are in developed nations and countries that would recover from disaster much more quickly than Haiti, it is crucial to remember to be thankful.  Thankful that we live in countries that can get food, medicine, and drinking water to areas of need in a matter of hours. 

December 22, 2007


January 16, 2010
That's the partially collapsed National Palace after the earthquake.


You can find it yourself on Google Earth using these coords:       18°32'35.34"N     72°20'19.26"W

Check back January 5th, 2012 for ...???

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Soma, Japan

This post marks my second piece of a three-post-series special for Thanksgiving.  This post, as well as the previous and my next post, will remind us what we have to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season.

I was actually in a hospital recovery room after having a bone tumor removed from my leg when I saw this on the news.  Of every major event so far in my 22-year lifetime that I was mature enough to observe and understand, this definitely had the biggest impact on me.  I had seen footage of the even deadlier Indian Ocean tsunami back in 2004, but the footage that came from the March 11, 2011 tsunami in Japan was incredible.  The 9.0 earthquake that occurred off the coast of Japan was the most powerful ever recorded in the country.  The resulting damage was incredibly widespread as entire towns and prefectures were leveled.
However, the people of Japan are a very hardy, very tight community and they began rescue operations and rebuilding immediately with the help of many foreign nations.  We should all remember that disasters can strike virtually anywhere, even in the most advanced nations.  During these times, we should all be thankful for the help and support that the citizens and governments around the world can give to each other during these times.

September 20, 2010


March 12, 2011



You can find it yourself on Google Earth using these coords:       37°49'49.00"N     140°57'22.02"E

Check back next week to see one of the worst earthquakes of the western hemisphere.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dubai, UAE

This post marks my start of a three-post-series special for Thanksgiving.  This post, as well as my next two posts, will remind us what we have to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season.

Dubai has grown immensely in the past few decades.  In 40 years from 1965-2005, the population increased 24 times from 50,000 to 1,200,000.  It has become a major business center and tourist area with many large malls, hotels, and currently the world's tallest skyscraper.  Dubai's oil wealth is largely responsible for its quick rise in infrastructure.  However, the city has struggled with much of the rest of the world after the ongoing financial crisis.  According to human rights groups, many workers stopped receiving pay but have been unable to leave the country.  In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I believe that the people of Dubai should be thankful for the great new living standards and infrastructure they have achieved and remember to support the workers that built this city.

December 4, 2004

August 14, 2009

February 10, 2010
Note that these images span 6 years.  If you look right above that man-made, blue lake in the top center, you'll notice the Burj Khalifa (world's tallest skyscraper) and the 12 million square foot Dubai Mall.


You can find it yourself on Google Earth using these coords:       25°11'28.49"N       55°16'24.81"E

Check back next week to see one of the most destructive forces of our lifetime.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Bastrop, Texas

So the other day I went to look and see if there were any updated satellite images from the Bastrop State Park wildfire in Texas.  Unfortunately, no images have been loaded on to Google Earth yet as far as I'm aware.  However, while searching I found something else that caught my eye, and rightly so considering...


October 21, 2005
...that's about a 3/4 mile font size! This massive forest-text that spells out the name "LUECKE" apparently belongs to a man of the same name.  I'm not even sure how he managed to do this but that's some serious landscaping.  The entire name is 2.5 miles long and holds the record of largest text in the world.


January 22, 1995
So here's the same area before he etched it.  



You can find it yourself on Google Earth using these coords:     30° 05'01.59"N     97° 08'28.16"W

Check back next week to see some of the fastest anthropogenic development in history.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Happisburgh, UK

Happisburgh is a small town in Norfolk County, England.  It is currently facing some pretty severe coastal erosion.  The tides have been cutting into the cliffs and slowly moving them inland towards houses and other structures.  According to the British Geological Survey, Happisburgh never used to be a coastal town, because at one point there was a whole parish between it and the sea.  The town is unfortunately sitting on layers of glacial till that do not hold up well against pounding waves.


December 30, 1999


July 1, 2009




You can find it yourself on Google Earth using these coords:       52°49'23.11"N       01°32'20.53"E

Check back next week to see the largest (supposedly) text in the world.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN, FOLKS!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Greensburg, Kansas

On the night of May 4th, 2007, Greensburg Kansas (population 1600 at the time) was leveled by an EF5 tornado.  Ninety-five percent of the town was destroyed and 11 people lost their lives.  It was the first tornado to be given a classification of "5" on the Enhanced Fujita scale went into effect earlier that year.  The town has since been rebuilt into a "green town", running mostly on wind turbines.

August 2, 2006


May 6, 2007


RADAR:




You can find it yourself on Google Earth using these coords:      37°36'10.07"N     99°17'33.41"W

Check back next week to see beach erosion.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Buxton, North Carolina

Spit... but not the kind you're probably thinking of.  A spit is a coastal landform that forms from longshore drift.  It can basically be summed up as a long pile of sand that has extended off of a cape.  They tend to change frequently depending on ocean currents and this series of images is a great example of that:


February 28, 1993


February 14, 1998


February 18, 2004


September 1, 2005


October 16, 2005


July 30, 2006


October 3, 2008


October 18, 2009


 August 27, 2011



You can find it yourself on Google Earth using these coords:      35°13'00.33"N     75°31'47.45"W

Check back next week to see an EF5 tornado's effects on a small town.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Manama, Bahrain

Near the beginning of this year, a wave of political demonstrations swept across the Middle Eastern and North African Arab nations.  Millions of people organized using social media to protest government repression and corruption.  The event became known as Arab Spring.  In Bahrain, Shia Muslims protested the government to ask for more freedoms and equality.  The protestors in Bahrain began organizing around the Pearl Roundabout on February 14th.  The Bahrain government began a violent retaliation on protestors resulting in a number of protestor deaths.  The government also decided to tear down the Pearl Roundabout statue on the 18th in order to deter protestors.  Amazingly, a satellite caught an image of the protestors around the Pearl Roundabout in the 4 days that it was still up.


June 16, 2010
This was the site the year before the protests

Sometime between February 14, 2011 and February 18, 2011
During protests




You can find it yourself on Google Earth using these coords:       26°13'49.26"N    50°33'41.00"E

Check back next week to see an always-changing landform

ATTENTION! This weekend is the 2011 Annual Geological Society of America Meeting in Minneapolis, MN.  If you see me there, say hello! My badge will say "Brian Schrock Olivet Nazarene University"

Thursday, September 29, 2011

New Orleans, Louisiana

Hurricane Katrina's landfall on New Orleans in 2005, to this day, is still considered the most costly disaster in U.S. history.  The staggering $133,800,000,000 price tag of it's damages is over three times the amount that Hurricane Andrew caused in 1992.  The death toll was roughly 1200 people, with even more deaths due to indirect effects of the hurricane.  The most damaging and deadly aspect of this storm however was the broken levee that inundated the Ninth Ward.


August 16, 2005


August 30, 2005


September 20, 2005


Landfall NEXRAD Loop:



You can find it yourself on Google Earth using these coords:      29°58'16.64"N    90°00'58.35"W

Check back next week to see a protest caught on satellite image.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sidoarjo, Indonesia

On May 29, 2006, a natural gas well being drilled in Sidoarjo, Indonesia seemingly caused a mud volcano to erupt some 600 feet away.  There are a few different hypothesis as to how exactly this happened, including the company blaming the volcano on a distant earthquake, but most outside opinions say that a blow-out during drilling caused a fracture in a confining layer that was holding back the mud.


June, 2006


November, 2006


July, 2010


You can find it yourself on Google Earth using these coords:      07°31'34.16"S   112°42'42.61"E


Check back next week to see the destruction caused by the costliest disaster in US history.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lesterville, Missouri

Taum Sauk is (was?) a reservoir in the St. Francois mountain region in southern Missouri Ozarks.  On December 14, 2005, the wall of the reservoir failed and released one billion gallons of water in 12 minutes. The resulting surge of water tore a path through the mountain leaving it bare down to the bedrock making geologists everywhere very very happy.


August, 2005


August, 2007


You can find it yourself on Google Earth using these coords:     37°32'07.79"N     90°49'06.80"W


Check back next week to see unstoppable mud.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Doha, Qatar

There's been quite a lot of development in the Middle East over the past decade related to oil wealth.  Countries like the UAE and Qatar in particular have really boomed in development.  Using the time machine feature on any of these country's larger cities shows enormous growth.  One thing in particular that these cities seem to be doing is building artificial islands in the shape of symbols or other designs.  Here is one that popped up in Doha:


October, 2003


September, 2010


You can find it yourself on Google Earth using these coords:    25°22'03.80"N    51°32'59.83"E


Check back next week to see where 1,000,000,000 gallons of water goes when it breaks free.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Friendswood, Texas

In March 1989 the Brio Industrial site in Friendswood, Texas was listed as a Federal Superfund site, giving Federal authority to come in and clean up hazardous waste that would endanger public health and the environment.
After irresponsible disposal practices of toxic waste, the groundwater became contaminated, resulting in illnesses, elevated miscarriage rates, birth defects, and the deaths of 3 young children. The surrounding neighborhood was quickly cleared out.
During the clean up, a large incinerator was built with the intention of burning the waste, but the San Jacinto South campus Science department was crucial in shutting down the incinerator before it was ever used, as it would endanger the health of people for miles all around.

All the official legal documents for the Brio Superfund site are located in the San Jacinto South campus library across the street, they are open for public viewing.


December, 1989


December, 2002

March, 2011



You can find it yourself on Google Earth using these coords:     29°34'30.55"N    95°12'33.52"W


Check back next week to see the creation of a man-made island.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

During the April 25-28th 2011 Super Outbreak, a series of tornados moved through the Southeastern United States. On April 27th, one of those tornados went through the heart of Tuscaloosa, Alabama as an EF4.  The path of destruction can easily be seen on satellite as an eerie brown line trending Northeast through the suburbs.

October, 2010


April, 2011


You can find it yourself on Google Earth using these coords:   33°11'42.87"N    87°32'03.62"W


Check back next week to see what you do with a neighborhood built on a toxic waste dump.