Researchers are calling for further studies regarding the possible connection between hydraulic fracturing and earthquakes, following a 4.0-magnitude temblor near a natural gas well in Youngstown, Ohio. "To me it seems that, especially if more research were done, it's possible to establish some areas of the country where you could do almost any amount of injection," said Cliff Frohlich, a University of Texas researcher.
Recent quakes such as the destructive tremor in Japan and the insurance industry's preparations for Europe's Solvency II regulation are pushing up demand for reinsurance, prompting Aon and Marsh to consider increasing their rates, according to Stifel Nicolaus. "This confluence of events pushes up the amount of severity that these regulators will use. They'll insist that insurers have more reinsurance," said Meyer Shields, an analyst with the firm.
San Francisco's Bay Bridge will be capable of withstanding a major earthquake when a replacement span is completed, officials said. A computer-generated simulation released by state officials shows the bridge moving with an earthquake's vibrations instead of resisting them. It is designed to withstand the largest plausible earthquake in a 1,500-year period. "It will be one of the safest places to be in an earthquake," a Caltrans spokesman said.
Global warming could alter the Earth's crust and lead to more earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis, a group of scientists warned. The geological impact also could set off the release of greenhouse gas stored underground in quantities greater than all the carbon dioxide present in today's atmosphere, they said.
AIR officials say inspectors examining damage from Italy's April 6 earthquake found that several buildings made of reinforced concrete endured strong gravitational forces with minimal harm. Paolo Bazzurro, AIR Worldwide's director of engineering analysis, says the buildings endured ground motion in excess of what they were designed to withstand. "This finding will likely prompt thorough investigation in the engineering community to better understand how these buildings could survive relatively unscathed under such severe ground motion," says Bazzurro.