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Unique features of 2012 Sumatran earthquake

18 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 27 September 2012

Unique features of 2012 Sumatran earthquake
Scientists analysing the data from the earthquake which struck off the coast of Sumatra in April 2012 have discovered several unique factors. The earthquake was actually 4 earthquakes occurring in quick succession. They occurred, not at the edge of the tectonic Indo-Australian plate, but nearer the middle, possibly causing two new plates to be formed and the 8.6-8.7 earthquake triggered a number of smaller quakes all over the globe.

50th Anniversary of Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring
The book ‘Silent Spring’ by Rachel Carson was published in 1962. Said to be a key factor in launching the environmental movement. Carson wrote about the effects of chemical pesticides and especially DDT and the consequences it had, not just for insects and plants, but also the wider wildlife and human health. She speculated that the harm of unregulated pesticide use, could lead to a spring devoid of birdsong and the buzz of insects. The book triggered a ban on DDT for agricultural uses.

In a related report, Jen Whyntie finds out about recordings of our planet’s changing avian soundscapes which are kept in international archives that are becoming available online. These ‘sound libraries’ include thousands of the bird songs that Carson warned could be lost forever. And now, people are starting to discover a greater variety of uses for these recordings - from helping bird enthusiasts to restoring mental health.

Also how changes in pesticide use and scientific understanding of them has changed over the past 50 years.

  • © Keith Koper, University of Utah Seismograph Stations

    © Keith Koper, University of Utah Seismograph Stations

    This map of the Indian Ocean region shows boundaries of Earth’s tectonic plates in the area, and the epicenters (red stars) of two great earthquakes that happened April 11, 2012. A new study from the University of Utah and University of California, Santa Cruz, says the main shock measured 8.7 in magnitude, about 40 times larger than the previous estimate of 8.6. An 8.2-magnitude quake followed two hours later.The scientists explain how at least four faults ruptured during the 8.7 main shock, and how both great quakes are likely part of the breakup of the Indo-Australian Plate into separate subplates. The northeastward-moving plate is breaking up over scores of millions of years because the western part of the plate is bumping into Asia and slowing down, while the eastern part is sliding more easily beneath Sumatra and the Sunda plate.

  • Unique features of 2012 Sumatran earthquake

    Consisting of 4 linked earthquakes. They occurred in the middle of the Indo-Australian plate, possibly causing two new plates to be formed and triggering a number of smaller quakes all over the globe.

  • 50th Anniversary of Silent Spring

    Rachael Carson’s seminal book on pesticides and their effect on wildlife and the environment. We look at the importance of bird song and current pesticide use and effects over the past half century.


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