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Hazard Roundup--March 2008

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Detailed Description

A roundup of the previous month's hazard-related events around the world, with some newsworthy tidbits.




Public Domain.


Thanks for listening to the USGS CoreCast, I'm Jessica Robertson. You are now tuning in to the Hazard Roundup for the month of March 2008.

First, I will bring you up-to-date on seismic activity around the world.

There was a magnitude 6.9 earthquake in the Philippine Islands region on the 3rd, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake in the Vanuatu Islands in the South Pacific on the 12th, and a magnitude 7.2 earthquake in the Xinjiang-Xizang border region on the 20th.

On a related note, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued information bulletins about five earthquakes in March. Each of these earthquakes was deemed too small to pose a transoceanic tsunami threat.

To read the bulletins and view a map, visit

I also want to point out that the USGS will award up to $3.4 million in grants and cooperative agreements for earthquake research in 2009. Interested researchers can apply online at Applications are due May 15, 2008.

Switching over to landslides ... heavy rains this past month were responsible for numerous landslides in the Eastern U.S. Roads were closed in the beginning of March due to storms that hit Pennsylvania, covering roads in Squirrel Hill and Beaver County. Storms on the 18th-19th closed roads in Cincinnati, Ohio, and across the state of Kentucky. Earlier in the month, a landslide in Westwood, California, closed a major commuter road and knocked out power to about 1,800 homes and buildings in Westwood and Belair. Heavy rains also brought landslides in Bogor, Indonesia, and destroyed many homes and roads.

Now, let's talk about volcanoes.

On the 19th, Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii experienced its first explosive eruption since 1924. Eruptions and toxic emissions of sulfur dioxide prompted scientists to work around the clock to monitor emissions and seismic activity to help keep the public out of harm's way. The USGS is issuing frequent updates, which can be accessed at

To listen to a podcast interview with USGS Volcano Hazards Program Coordinator John Eichelberger describing the activity at Kilauea, visit

I also want to mention that the United States recently signed an agreement with Indonesia to create a regional volcano observatory in the North Sulawesi-Sangihe Islands. This observatory will allow for the capability to monitor volcanic activity and provide early warning of volcanic eruptions.

Let's now move on to wildfires.

Wildland fires continue to burn in Alabama, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Texas. Fire activity also remains active in the southern states, and a total of 18,178 acres are burning throughout the country.


There have been several flood occurrences in March as rainfall of as much as 12 inches impacted portions of the nation's midsection. Affected areas include Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Texas. The USGS flood response began on the 18th and in some states is ongoing. Impacts include several deaths and missing people reported in affected areas, multiple road and schools closings, and floods in houses and businesses throughout local communities. A Presidential Disaster Declaration was also proclaimed for Missouri, with the possibility of expansion of the Disaster Declaration into Arkansas, Illinois, and Indiana.

A series of winter storms has left parts of the Midwest and New England buried under snow, and many USGS Water Science Centers are anticipating significant spring flooding.

Well, that's about it for the March Hazard Roundup. For more information on natural hazards and related USGS research, visit

The USGS CoreCast is a product of the U.S. Geological Survey, Department of Interior.

Until next time, thanks again for listening - I'm Jessica Robertson. Don't forget to join us again next month!

Mentioned in this episode:

Music Credit:

"A Mastermind's Plan of Evil", Edgen

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