Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The earthquake that will destroy Toronto - Part 7 - End

In the cold light of morning, I have decided to end my lurid story.  Naturally, it ends with a nuclear disaster.  I know that the backup power can't take this.  However, I have no wish to take on the PR firm that rules Ontario.  Their automated talking heads will just say everything is fine, and all the citizens will nod their heads.  It's wonderful to live in such a happy land.  :)


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The earthquake that will destroy Toronto - Part 6

And now we get to the good stuff.  In summary, people right on the rupture have been taken care of (**). The nature of earthquake goes far beyond that.  All the lifelines of the Golden Horseshoe have been destroyed.  Every transformer in the system has blown.  The natural gas pipes have broken, and fires have broken out everywhere.  The roads and bridges all have hunks torn out of them.  The airport is dead.  There is no electricity and no natural gas, and it's 20 below.

Jack and Sara live north of the magic line.  Their home wasn't badly damaged, but there is no power and no gas.  All the normal emergency shelters like school gyms and community centres were constructed of block wall and have been red-tagged.  They settle under their blankets for a long wait.  But they see fires in the distance, and they are in one of those subdivisions where large houses fill the entire lot.  Their friends, Bob and Sue, are in townhouses with a common wooden roof.  There was a reason why they separated houses in the old days.  **

Most tall buildings of Toronto are on the hanging wall of the fault.  The rupture terminated just short of downtown, but the pulse kept going.  In fact, the termination of the rupture caused its own problems.  Instead of just a positive motion, the pulse now has a whip-back.  All those buildings were designed with a sinusoidal motion on a shake table.  The engineers divided the building into 'modes' and made sure there was enough strength to shake and shimmy through any California basin earthquake.

But the pulse was a strong positive with a sudden reverse pull.  This caused 'fling' in the towers, something mentioned many years ago in papers, but always ignored.  When asked, the engineers had always stated that 'Tradition was the most important thing.'  Unfortunately, this fling was like snapping a bull-whip, and the top floors had sharp things flying about.  No help was expected for Judy, who had cut an artery.  **

Meanwhile, every perfectly good building was evacuating its people.  There was no power, and all the fire alarms were singing.  The subways were dead, and people jammed the streets, bringing traffic to a halt.  John was freezing without a coat, and he looked up at the Trump Tower.  Was that glass falling?  **

-- blah, blah -- on to the nuclear stations!

The earthquake that will destroy Toronto - Part 5

Up the road, the local Hamilton Maffie boss was having a house-warming party.  He had managed to combine every ethnic mafia in the country.  His giant mansion confirmed that, with every style jammed into the place.  He had a nice estate on the drained Hamilton sag pond, and the house was 3 stories.  He put his Italian stone lions on tall pedestals in the living room.  He was especially proud of the very heavy clay tiles for his roof.  That, and the super-monster waterbed on the top floor.  The engineer had complained, so he had him killed.  As the waves reached him, there was a slight tinkling of the champagne glass fountain, and then all Hell broke loose.  **

The fault ruptured for a distance of 30 km up the Hamilton Fault, making it a Magnitude 7.  Those on the firm ground north of the 'magic line', as drawn by the old crank, had ten times less PGV than those to the south.  Toronto was divided into North and South.  The North only had drywall damage.

The fault rupture was so fast, it was over in 10 seconds, unlike California faults which might take 30 seconds or more.  As such, it delivered a clean velocity pulse, but what a pulse it was!  The engineers had only designed for a California sinusoidal rumble, and never imagined what a pulse could do.

South of the line, right at the shore, Luxo Luxury Condos had a magnificent 40 story building, all glass, with glass balconies, and glass walls.  Nobody had curtains, and they never threw stones.  Mr. Luxo had it built by a design-build company.  He said to them.  Push the building codes until they scream, I want something good and to hell with that crazy guy.  They pushed and pushed so that nothing was a blatant violation.  After all, their engineers were money-crazy, and a lot smarter than inspectors.

He wanted an entire shopping mall on the first floor, and parking for thousands of cars.  As well, he had to please the local mayor with an outstanding design.  They put in so many disjointed floors, and curvy offsets that it looked like demented Hula Dancer from an Escher drawing.  As well as a giant transfer slab, on top of thin walls.  Everybody loved it.  Mr. Luxo was on the top floor beside his Olympic-sized pool when the waves hit.  **

--to be continued.  I'm in a manic phase.  I'm stopping now.

The earthquake that will destroy Toronto - Part 4


To keep my sanity, I am adding the following between the stars.  For total realists, do not read this, but assume when you see the '**' that these people have died a horrible death.

**The Wizard of Toronto looked on with some distaste.  He had tried to convince the 'Powers' through the crazy old guy, but they didn't listen.  Now it had come to this.  Everybody who was about to die would be instantly zapped to Happy Land, and he would replace them with horribly mangled realistic bodies.  The rescue people needed something to do.  He couldn't do much about the wounded.  **

Jim and Barb were enjoying the birth of their first baby at the old Burlington Hospital.  A magnificent structure of brick, it was built on the Hamilton swamp lands.  The fault rupture emerged under the hospital pushing a 'hammer pulse' of 50 cm/s in rock.  On the swamp it amplified to an unimaginable 200 cm/s.  Jim, Barb and the baby started screaming as the lights went out, and things started to shake.  **

Just down the road, Frank was sitting at his terminal for the Ontario Electrical Authority, which controlled all the high-voltage electricty lines throughout the province.  He only had a vague notion of the monitor coming for his head.  **

-- okay, I found a way around it.  I'll continue.

The earthquake that will destroy Toronto - Part 3

The famous Oklahoma earthquakes had gone off a few years before.  Although they rang church bells in Toronto, everybody laughed them off.  What was unknown is that the creeping stress field from that zone had finally reached the Hamilton Fault, and was taking it to the edge.

Ten kilometres down, a small magnitude 5 earthquake was about to go.  Normally, this would be almost unnoticed except by the crazy geophysics guy (He had just unchained himself, and headed for the hills), but this earthquake was special.  For a thousand years water had seeped down to the fault, weakening it by chemical action.  For a thousand years, the water pressure had increased because of glacial uplift, the drain of Lake Ontario being slowly lifted a few cm a century.  The stress energies, caused by the high horizontal stresses, stored energy that dwarfed nuclear bombs.

This earthquake would remove the last linchpin holding the fault together.  All the other 'hard spots' had been slowly removed by earthquakes over the centuries.  The fault was 'locked and loaded', and all greased up with water.

With a bang, the M5 zone released.  What would have normally ended at a distance of 300 m, broke out of its zone.  It started initiating the final fault movement, as with every other earthquake of this type.  A ring of dislocation spread out at the speed of sound in rock, making this a 'super earthquake', where the P-wave alone was enough to start shearing.  At incredible speeds, the fault stared dislocating, in an oblique thrust.  That was motion up the fault, and also to the North East.

-- that's it!  I'm not doing any more.  It's too scary!  At least I saved the old guy.  :)

The earthquake that will destroy Toronto - Part 2

I'm writing this in the style of the New Yorker and their piece on the Cascadia Fault.  That horribly weak subduction zone has as much chance of going as Toronto.  Although they are always saying that an earthquake is 'overdue', that's really a hunk of garbage.  There is no clock ticking, and the uncertainties swamp any estimate.

So, in that tone, the Great Toronto Earthquake is going to happen tomorrow.  Can we afford to be any less wild than the West Coast?  Of course not, we have a housing bubble to protect.  Toronto will really get up there in 'hipster land', if we are a "City That Waits to Die".  Think of the parties!

This is all based on good physics, and a lifetime of looking at this stuff for the nuclear plants.  At one time they put good money into all of this, and I'm proud of that.  Now, it's all run by a PR outfit, and not a speck of work on earthquakes.  I'd call them scum, but then the PR flacks would be after me, denying everything.

So, a beautiful M7 plus, will happen along this fault.  It already did it once, and left the sunken lands around Hamilton.  So lets start the scenario, just like the New Yorker.

It's nine AM in January, temperature at -20 deg Celsius.  A beautiful clear day, and the only news is that some crazy 99 year old geophysicist has chained himself to the sag ponds of Hamilton, declaring "The End is Nigh".  The old brick schools are filled, traffic is jammed on the Gardner.  The nuclear plants are humming at full power, and natural gas is pumping all through the network of high-pressure pipes.  What could go wrong?

-to be continued.

The earthquake that will destroy Toronto - Part 1

You can use this as your screen saver.  :)

I once wrote 'The Great Toronto Earthquake'.  A few days later everybody felt an earthquake from up North.  I had 10,000 hits in a day.  It was a glorious day, and one I hope to never repeat.  If I am lucky, I won't see this upcoming big one.  :)

Underneath Toronto, we have a fault that is every bit as good as New Madrid or Oklahoma or Italy.  The only inconvenience is that it last let go a thousand years ago.  No stories from the first people, since they were in endless war around here.  No settlers, no nothing.

The only record is in the sediments of Lake Ontario.  I've seen all the geophysics from the lake.  Anybody else who has seen the records is dead.  The records lie buried in landfill, or made into toilet paper by Harper.  Or even worse, unindexed in huge digital files.

This is a monstrous fault, in the Precambrian.  It has many twins, some of which go to New Madrid and Oklahoma.  I call them our Megathrusts, because they formed during a mountain building period about a billion years ago.  The Grand-daddy of them all, the Grenville Front is right under the proposed Bruce nuclear waste thing.  A geologist associated with that project said, "No worries, it's off in the lake."  But as my yellow arrow shows, the faults are shallow-dipping.

At the outcrop of these faults, the hanging wall is all broken.  That is why you can plot straight sections of rock all the way down the line.  On one side, the rock is solid (the footwall), on the other, there is no rock because it's all broken up.  Our CN Tower was built on this rock, there was no continuous bedding across the site.

All our local seismicity is on this fault.  They are 3's and 4's, and only the seismometers feel them.

-- to be continued.

Italian earthquakes at very low ground motion

They did have accelerometers at Amatrice, for which I am extremely grateful.  Here is a downloaded plot of horizontal velocity.

That gives a PGV of 20 cm/s.  I'm a big proponent that pgv is the universal measure of damage potential, since it is a direct measure of induced shear strain.  PGA doesn't represent anything in the physics world, since effects wildly vary with frequency.

I, and the Taiwanese, fight with everybody about this.  Our stupid engineers all go with shake tables and pga.  They are idiots, and that's why we are getting soft-story condos.

Anyway, 20 shouldn't do anything, only knock down piles of rubble, as we see in the pictures.  Or buildings with Maffie Concrete.  All our old brick buildings might be at this capacity, or maybe even 40 cm/s.  Our frame houses can take 100 before they kill us, although the region will have a billion dollar drywall bill at 60.

Most of the world is at 20 to death.  You can't be much lower and still stand up in the wind.  40 cm/s tilted the condos in Chile, but frame houses were untouched.  80 tipped the condos over.

ps.  5 will shatter all your precious knick-knacks, so secure them with seismic wax.  That level will also drop all the heavy books and trophies on your kids' heads if there are shelves over the bed.

pps.  Dear Starving Media people, and wannabe novelists.  I love being the guy who says "There's a shark in the water.", as long as nobody powerful pays attention to me.  As soon as the stupid people who run this place start to notice, I run into a deep hole.  :)  There are vested interests who build crap condos and nuclear plants.  I don't want to meet them.

Random Discussion -- Does Infrastructure money do anything?


The latest news has the Bank of Japan acting as the gov't.  They are funding huge grandiose projects such as fancy sewers and maglev trains.  This is what MITI has done for years.  All governments want fancy projects that give them good photo ops.

As a country, you can have the best infrastructure and still be stagnant.  Sure, if the roads crumble and the sewers back up, this can put a damper on the economy, but you need to do something else.  There's no hope for Japan because of their racist isolation, but Canada can do something better.

The best money I ever saw spent was in expanding Canada's seismic monitoring.  This immediately put our companies in the forefront of installing seismic monitoring all over the world.  That was good stuff.  30 years ago we were putting hydro dams everywhere, and that, again, translated into big money for our consultants.

I did want Toronto to turn into Palo Alto, but that's hopeless because of our tight-fisted banks. There's no use in improving Toronto transit, that just puts up house prices.  I'm still hoping for a nuclear research area in Port Hope, but those people are crazy.  I can't really think of anything else.  :)

--cars are hopeless
--we're in the worse spot in the world for solar and wind
--although I like the 407 extension for my cottage, it doesn't do anything

Friday, August 26, 2016

An Italian earthquake in Toronto

Every few years an M6 earthquake hits Italy.  At the epicentre all the buildings fall down and kill everybody.  Yet, for any given location, an earthquake only hits every 500 years.  So, all those people are dancing in the streets like the little pig with the straw house.

I have decided there is a 'sweet spot' at the 1 in 500 per year probability, where you  have the most deaths. At the 1 in 100 years, you have living memory and everybody builds better, like California.  As well, all the old buildings from a 100 years ago have been already knocked down in the last earthquake.

Every single disastrous  earthquake has been at these odds, yet nobody does anything.  I'm just picking on Toronto for now, but it goes for every city.  Basically, officials always think that if it is out of living memory, it can never happen.  We'll call this event an M7, although it could be 6.5.

Toronto is like every Italian hilltop village.  Why worry?  Why do anything?  The only way to get people concerned is to lie through your teeth, and say if Vancouver hasn't had an earthquake for 300 years, it's going to happen tomorrow.  In reality, they are still at the same odds as everybody else.  There is no master clock that ticks down.

Vancouver is lucky that the Japanese were around to record the earthquake.  In India, because of the wars and such there are no ancient records of earthquakes.  The Chinese have some old records.

If you look at the lake sediments, you can see that this type of big earthquake is a regular thing for Toronto, yet we have not had the benefit of Japanese record keeping.  Ignorance is bliss.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Time to move all of old Toronto onto deep piles


It's not that difficult.  Obviously this building will be placed on deep piles because of the subway.  It will then remain functional through any type of earthquake, including our 'upcoming' M7.  It's more important for buildings on soft soil, which will be disrupted even for the Oklahoma M7.  Downtown Toronto has just taken pieces of the old brick buildings and put them in steel frames for new buildings.  But no building codes addresses the functionality of the building after an earthquake.  Piles offer a factor of 10 to 100 in pgv seismic ruggedness especially related to functionality.

Of course, this also applies to what Torontonians refer to as 'real seismic zones'.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Small Italian earthquake with big consequences

This is the standard earthquake that is expected all the time along the spine of Italy.  The PGV was probably 20 cm/s, which any rugged building should survive.  But all the buildings here are piles of rocks.  Thus is the consequence of no seismic capacity.  Such beautiful, ancient towns, no chance to knock them all down and put up something with the more 'normal' capacity of 50 cm/s.

We'll continue to see this every few years.  The above plot of 'estimated fatalities' takes into account the construction.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Oklahoma Earthquake Zone Strain Field

You can think of the OK zone as an excavation in a highly stressed rock.  It has an effect several times its diameter.  If you wanted to do actual work (which I never do), you can plot the contours of stress disturbance, using discrete finite element results as a guide.  This is what we did at the height of Rock Mechanics before that all went into the privy.

Right now, the shattered zone of New Madrid is reacting.  Sometimes it really pops.  Now we have the fractured zones of Colorado.  I'm sure they stopped injecting at these spots.  If we could get the fault mechanisms of all these surrounding earthquakes, they would make a nice pattern.  Not going to happen.  This whole thing is tied up in politics.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Cottage Report

An idyllic summer day.  Hot and humid during the day, with the lake water being just refreshing.  Some clouds for relief, and storms coming for the evening to cool things off.  Last night had a nice cool breeze for sleeping.  The last two weeks have been storming, and we got over 6 inches of rain.  The cliffs are oozing water, and everything seems so fresh.  

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Powerful Oklahoma thrust earthquake hits the city

I'm calling this an m5 (to the single digit), since some stations have reported that, and thrusts are always underrated.  This is finally the start to my m5 'prediction' about 2 years ago.  The price of oil and gas has zoomed so the state is now in what I call my high rate.  That's 6 m3's a day and a 5 every month.  It would take an m6 thrust, just like this one to start dropping bricks in the city.  I can expect that by the end of the year, if we keep the high rate.

ps.  downgrade to a 4.0 probably because of the small felt area.  They have only one square hole and all the round pegs must fit.  Very sad, because then they don't get the full picture of how the energy rate is going exponential.   Till the next quake....

Friday, August 12, 2016

Physics - Equatorial ocean currents completely stop

I've only been looking at this ocean current plot for a year or two now.  It showed why the Caribbean had that horrible Sargasso weed problem last year (the current was tied up in knots), and showed the whole El Nino process and why Callie didn't get a lot of rain.

Now I just looked at the update (once a week) and see, to my surprise, that the Atlantic current has completely gone into reverse.  There is now a gap with Gulf Stream, and we will see next week what this does.  Right now the GS is continuing with momentum only.

It is my hypothesis that our ice ages come because of such current fluctuations.  If the GS were to stop completely, then Britain would freeze.  For Canada to freeze, we would need a full stop of the Japan current, but you can also see in the video that something funny is happening there, too.

But a full ice age only comes every 10,000 years, and that's because of isostatic motions of the crust.  Between, we get all sorts of fluctuations from extremely hot to extremely cold, but the ice can't catch.

Anyway, there are no 'earth shaking' consequences here, but it is interesting.

ps.  if the GS were to actually stop, this how I would expect it to develop.  Instead of one large current, it would divide up into small loops.  I can't wait for next week, it either restarts or it doesn't.  If it doesn't the UK is in for shock, and perhaps cold for us too.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Get on with normalizing Cannabis


In the US, senators are leaning on the DEA to produce more cannabis for research, but no research can be done as long as it is scheduled as a Class I drug, on par with elephant tranquilizer.  We are facing the same thing in Canada.  They give with one hand and take away with another.

Right now, they are tied up with 'fear factors', namely that its release will kill more people in accidents than texting.  I don't think so.  Responsible people will know their limits, irresponsible people will veer all over the road.  I've caught a lot of them on my dashcam, and everybody should get one.

I will go on the record as a pro-cannabis person for old people.  I'm mainly for high CBD oil, which has huge benefits, and is better than drinking.  We old people don't need THC, since we've been on the floor lots of times, and who needs it?

I want to galvanize the old people for this.  Everybody should grow it in their window boxes.  You can keep trimming the buds to keep it small.  Radical old people should get themselves arrested.  Pictures of 90 year old ladies will do something.  This stuff is a medical marvel, clears your brain, and stops bone problems.  If Rob Ford had just gone with this, and dumped the crack and ethanol, he'd still be embarrassing us today.  :)

Plant it in your garden, be active.  The oil really stinks and tastes like cigarette ashes so just pretend it's the old cod-liver oil of your youth.  :)  I couldn't feed the brownies to anybody.

Do it for Rob!

ps.  it's a constitutional test to deny it to all old people if it stops degenerative diseases.  It would win in any court, but I'm not rich enough for that.  We need some old retired lawyers.  :)

Condo Boom is Earthquake Hell


“They figure that, surely it’s designed well. To be totally clear, I don’t think anybody realizes it. The more exciting and interesting your building is, the more likely you won’t be able to use it after a significant earthquake.”

All condos are built cheaply as compared to bank towers.  A conventional bank tower on columns down to bedrock will be usable after any type of earthquakes.  I've never seen any condo go up that I wasn't worried about.  And I think they get worse every year because they are designed for energy absorption with sinusoidal earthquake motions.  And many of them may be on soil foundations.

I am confident that you'll walk out of this alive, but that's it.  The solution is to insure for the full price of the condo with the Clueless Swiss directly.  Don't go local.  Since most of these luxury condos are empty, there will be no problem evacuating.  :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Oklahoma Earthquake Summary - Life Again

There is good physics to correlate natural gas prices with OK earthquakes.  That's because the decision of "Should I frack for gas today?"  is very dependent on what people think the price will be in a month or two.  Then the trucks fill up with fresh water fracking waste, and go to OK.

Earlier in the year, it looked very good for natgas, and earthquakes shot up, doubling the normal rate.  Then in the past month or so, gas was down, and no earthquakes.  Now we have action on both fronts.


Lots of articles saying gas will go up.  Time to frack!

And this brings lots of OK earthquakes.  There's been quite a swarm, right in the centre.  Most recently, we had a shallow m4, strike-slip, int 5, directed to the NE.

We'll see what happens.  If natgas stays up, then I predict a high rate, etc.

ps.  more quakes, so the rate is now at the max for the year, 6 m3's a day, 2 m4's a week, 1 m5 per month.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Physics - El Nino still dominates our weather

In Toronto, we are about to enter a super heat wave that makes all the others ones look cool.

Here is the latest satellite microwave background plot.  It's a measure of how much the Earth glows in the lower frequencies, which is the only way it sheds off heat.  As I've written, we owe much to the efficiency of the Great Heatpump.  I'm surprised I'm the only one writing about it, I guess no physics person actually wants to touch the 'third rail' of global warming and cooling.  For example, if just look at physics, carbon in the upper atmosphere is one of our main coolants.  Thank goodness, or life would have died during our mezozoics (plates all coming together).

What you read in the meda is that all the gorlings have forgotten 'Old El', and blame all the heat waves on you know what.  But this is a super-el and the effects may go on for a long time.  After that, we plunge into cold due to all the heat energy being dumped into space.

All our ocean currents are still majorly screwed up.  So far all the hurricanes are forming west of Mexico, the Gulf Stream is getting mucked and there is still backwash in the Pacific.  Fun times.  :)

Our Arctic ice volume has taken a big hit, but it should climb up soon.  I hate ice.  :(

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Nothing can phase nuclear toadie-land


People in the nuclear industry get so frustrated that they send an anonymous letter.  Not too many people since any old person who can blink is working for the big refurb.  That's where they are tearing the guts out of Darlington because of a major design flaw.  That flaw is still there, so if they think the refurb will last 50 years they are smoking crack.  :)  Actually, my opinion is that they are all fordies.

I was raised to make the odds of a major nuclear incident to be about one in 10 million per year.  Unfortunately, by throwing me out, they have reduced those odds to about one in a thousand, or the odds of an m7+ under Hamilton.  Maybe one in 10,000, but the last major earthquake was several thousand years ago as seen in the sediments.

So, they go on their merry way, with the toadies as regulators.  With those odds I'll be dead anyway, and nobody really cares any more.  :(

ps.  It's funny to think that you would get the exact same type of answer no matter what you wrote.  I know with the Bruce Deep Black Hole, I wrote "You're right on top of the dang Grenville Front.", and they said it was irrelevant.  This is Canadian 'old boy' corruption at its deepest.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Cottage Report Aug 6

The kids went home after the long weekend and the old folks stayed up for the week.  Hot, hot, hot, and it was a bitch to fall asleep under the ceiling fan while sweating to death.  On Friday, the wind picked up and I could see storms headed our way.  Had to go into full tornado alert.  A few years a tornado zoomed over the lake and straight for us, but our steep topography lifted it.  These storms were coming in from the SW where I have a lot of tree shelter.

Once everything was tied down, it started to rain slightly.  It's sweltering hot inside the tin shack, so I had all the windows and the front door open.  I was prepared with a mop for a little rain to get inside.  Suddenly, big cracks of thunder, the dog swooshed under the bed, and there was absolutely horizontal rain in a deluge hitting our front.  I had to whip outside to close the door and then go for the windows.  Water got into everything.  Lucky for us, it only lasted a minute (if that), and the only damage was a knocked-over patio chair.


But the important thing was that we got 2 inches of rain, where most people are still dry.  This may save my plants.