Friday Headlines: April 22, 2016

Friday Headlines, April 22, 2016

THE LATEST IN THE GEOSCIENCES

Today’s round-up:

Massive earthquake in Ecuador

Salt Lake City is in trouble

Migrating Marine Monkeys

 

Ecuador earthquake: ‘It’s going to take us years to recover’

On April 16, a Magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck the coastal Manabi Province of Ecuador, causing widespread destruction. Over 480 people have been killed.

Tectonic setting for the Equador Earthquake. Star indicates epicenter.

Tectonic setting for the Ecuador Earthquake. Star indicates epicenter.

Earthquakes in this region are associated with a subduction zone (black line with teeth on the map above) where the Nazca Plate is being drawn below the South America Plate.

The startling projections of a quake in Salt Lake City: What you need to know

A group of 14 scientists from academia, state and federal government, and private industry conducted research on the likelihood of a large earthquake occurring in the valley containing Salt Lake City. Their results were startling:

“In the next 50 years there is a 43 percent chance, or nearly 1-out-of-2 odds, of at least one large earthquake of magnitude 6.75 or greater. For a moderate quake of magnitude 5 or greater the probability is 93 percent, or greater than 9-out-of-10 odds.” Source USGS here.

So be careful, Utahns. Your “big one” is coming.

Monkey teeth hint at a miraculous marine migration to North America

North America and South America were not always connected across the narrow isthmus that includes Panama. Up until around four million years ago, Panama was nothing but a peninsula hanging off of the south end of North America.

When the isthmus formed, it has been thought that mammals migrated between the two continents in what is called the Great American Interchange. This was said to be the time when South American monkeys entered North America.

New research as discovered the teeth of South American monkeys in 21 million year old sediments in Panama. The question is, how did they get there? Scientists suspect that they may have rafted on mats of vegetation across the Central American Seaway that separated the two continents at that time. The distance they had to travel was about 100 miles, so feasible, but impressive nevertheless.

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