Christy Hansen, NASA via Wikimedia Commons
Ice in Antarctica was rattled by a 8.8 earthquake 3,000 miles away in Chile in 2010.
USEPA Photo by Eric Vance
This week, our top Earth snapshots include an amazing Alaskan flyover, the Space Station's peaceful view of Russia and Eastern Europe -- and a red tide that's causing havoc in Florida. The EPA maintains these controlled growth chambers (above) in Corvallis, Ore. They enable researchers to study the effects of air pollution, heavy metals and toxic substances on plant life.PHOTOS: Massive Mayfly Invasion Marauds Midwest
This image of Alaskan forest land was shot from a Piper Cherokee aircraft by NASA scientists. They're conducting an aerial survey of 174,000 square miles of forests in the Alaskan interior, which are difficult to reach on the ground.BLOG: A Huge Alaska Quake Could Devastate California
From the International Space Station, an astronaut captured this view of the southern Baltic sea. Russia, Poland and Lithuania are in the foreground, while Norway, Denmark and Sweden are seen in the distance.PHOTOS: Costa Concordia's Final Journey
USDA photo by David Kosling
California is suffering through a severe drought. This image, taken back in February, shows a dried-up riverbed along Highway 99 near Bakersfield.NEWS: Southwest Groundwater Disappearing at 'Shocking' Rate
Kim Parsons/NOAA Fisheries
A group of killer whales, also known as orcas, are seen swimming here in a tight pattern. NOAA scientists recently published a study of killer whale genetics, in which they reported that the creatures form distinct sub-populations that don't have much cross-breeding.VIDEO: Whales Get Sunburned, Too
Typhoon Rammasun, AKA Glenda, battered the Philippines in mid-July. The storm is seen here in a satellite photo.BLOG: How Do Summer Superstorms Form?
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Staff; Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
A sergeant major fish and an angelfish swim in a reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. These fragile underwater habitats are threatened by rising levels of carbon dioxide in the water, due to climate change.NEWS: When Fish Go Deeper They Glow Brighter
A red tide off the coast of Florida has killed thousands of fish along with sea turtles and crabs,reports the AP
. The algal bloom is caused by a marine organism,
which is naturally occuring buttoxic to humans and wildlife
.PHOTOS: Earth Shots: Must-See Planet Pics (July 18)
In February 2010, a massive 8.8 earthquake struck off the coast of central Chile. Even though it occurred nearly 22 miles beneath the surface, it was still powerful enough to cause the deaths of 300 people and severely damage buildings and other infrastructure, according to a CNN report.
But the quake also had an effect 3,000 miles away, in Antarctica. According to a newly-published study in Nature Geoscience, scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology found that during the Maule temblor, as the quake was named, 12 of the 42 seismic stations on the frozen continent registered “icequakes,” probably due to fracturing of the ice as the planet’s crust shook. It was the first-ever proof that the frozen continent’s ground can be affected by waves being transmitted through the Earth by distant seismic activity.
“We interpret these events as small icequakes, most of which were triggered during or immediately after the passing of long-period Rayleigh waves generated from the Chilean mainshock,” said Zhigang Peng, an associate professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, who led the study.
The study adds further proof of a disturbing phenomenon, in which giant quakes can actually trigger other earthquakes thousands of miles away. A 2013 study, described in this New Scientist article, found that there’s about a 1-in-10 chance that a big one will set off quakes on other distant faults.
Yet another study in 2012 of the Indian Ocean megaquake linked it to a five-fold increase of quakes with a magnitude 5.5 or greater across the planet, for up to a week afterward. How this happens is still being figured out. The upshot of this is that if there’s a quake far away from you, it’s conceivable you’ll feel the effects.