Earthquake rocks Pakistan

Epicenter and population map for the Jan. 18th, 2011 earthquake in Pakistan.

Epicenter and population map for today's earthquake in Pakistan. Yellow and orange indicate populated areas. Image courtesy of UN World Food Program. (Click to enlarge)

On the show this morning we asked our guest, University of Colorado earth scientist Roger Bilham, about the possibility of a major earthquake in the Himalayan region. He confirmed that the region was overdue for a major quake and that people living in poor, rural areas would certainly be at risk from building collapse if — or when — such a quake were to occur.

Just a few hours later, Balochistan province in southwest Pakistan was hit with a magnitude 7.2 quake. How On Earth contributor Tom Yulsman, who hosted the interview with Bilham, has more details and further comments from Bilham at the CEJournal blog.

UPDATE: It appears that the epicenter was in a relatively unpopulated area. About 200 mud-wall homes were destroyed, but there were very few casualties. Contrast that with the 2005 earthquake in Kashmir, during which around 75,000 people died — most of them buried under the rubble of collapsed buildings.

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Earthquakes & corruption / Astrology shake-up

A collapsed building in Haiti following the Jan. 2010 earthquake.

Government corruption may have lead to poor building practices in Haiti prior to the Jan. 2010 earthquake. Image courtesy of AIDG.

This week on How On Earth, University of Colorado earth scientist Roger Bilham joins us in the studio to talk about his latest study, which shows a correlation between the prevalence of corruption in a country and the likelihood of civilian deaths during an earthquake. And Shelley Schlender talks to HOE contributor and astrophysicist Joel Parker about how the science of astronomy can have an impact on the pseudoscientific world of astrology.

Hosts: Tom Yulsman, Ted Burnham

Producer: Tom Yulsman

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MAVEN: Mission to Mars // Communicating geophysics

Mars’ atmosphere may have been depleted following the loss of the planet’s magnetic field. Illustration courtesy of NASA.

On this week’s How On Earth, we’re joined by the University of Colorado’s Bruce Jakosky, principle investigator on the MAVEN satellite mission that will investigate Mars’ upper atmosphere. NASA granted final approval to MAVEN last fall, and the spacecraft is scheduled to launch in 2013. Also, Ted Burnham speaks with Carol Finn, incoming president of the American Geophysical Union, about the need for scientists to communicate better with the public.

Hosts: Joel Parker, Ted Burnham
Producer: Shelley Schlender

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