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Latest earthquakes news and updates

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earthquakes

15 killed in Afghan earthquakes

Kabul, Afghanistan April 17 -- Two earthquakes hit eastern Afghanistan Friday, killing at least 15 people and destroying dozens of houses, a government spokesperson said.

Ahmad Zia Abdulzai said the tremors, which occurred about 90 km east of Kabul, have killed 15 people, injured 20 and destroyed about 100 houses.

The two earthquakes, of 5.5 and 5.1 magnitude, hit eastern Afghanistan in the early hours of Friday, the US Geological Survey reported.

One quake of 5.5 magnitude rattled the Hindu Kush border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan at 1.57 a.m. (GMT2127) at a depth of eight km and was followed by another other one of 5.1 magnitude at a depth of three km two hours later, the website said.

China shaken by 4.2-magnitude earthquake

Beijing -- China's seismological network says the country's northern region was rattled by a 4.2-magnitude earthquake Saturday.

China's state-run news agency, Xinhua, reported the quake in Shanxi province had not resulted in any reported casualties or damages.

The seismological network said the quake that rocked Yuanping City was detected at a depth of 3.1 miles at 38.9 degrees north latitude and 112.9 degrees east longitude.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International.

Scientists go underwater to study quakes

Madison, Wis. -- U.S. scientists say they are conducting the first geologic study of underwater subduction zone faults that produce mega-thrust earthquakes and tsunamis.

University of Wisconsin Associate Professor Harold Tobin, the international project's co-chief scientist, said the goal of the Nankai Trough Seismogenic Zone Experiment is to understand the basic mechanics of faulting.

The project's scientists are using cutting-edge deep-water drilling technology to reach the fault zones for the first time.

"If we want to understand the physics of how the faults really work, we have to go to those faults in the ocean," Tobin said. "Scientific drilling is the main way we know anything at all about the geology of the two-thirds of the Earth that is submerged."

Scientists go underwater to study quakes

Madison, Wis. -- U.S. scientists say they are conducting the first geologic study of underwater seduction zone faults that produce mega-thrust earthquakes and tsunamis.

University of Wisconsin Associate Professor Harold Tobin, the international project's co-chief scientist, said the goal of the Nankai Trough Seismogenic Zone Experiment is to understand the basic mechanics of faulting.

The project's scientists are using cutting-edge deep-water drilling technology to reach the fault zones for the first time.

"If we want to understand the physics of how the faults really work, we have to go to those faults in the ocean," Tobin said. "Scientific drilling is the main way we know anything at all about the geology of the two-thirds of the Earth that is submerged."

Masonry infills can protect against quakes

West Lafayette, Ind. -- U.S. engineers say they have created a simple, inexpensive method of strengthening some buildings that are dangerously vulnerable to earthquakes.

The Purdue University civil engineers said many buildings in China, Latin America, Turkey and other countries have too many partial-height walls between structural columns, making them vulnerable to an earthquake.

Assistant Professor Santiago Pujol, who led the research, said partial-height walls do not extend all the way to the ceiling, sometimes causing structural columns to fail during powerful quakes.

But the engineers said their research determined the flaw could easily be corrected by replacing some windows with ordinary bricks.

"The most important result is that we showed that buildings with partial-height walls … can be improved very easily with not a lot of investment by simply rearranging the masonry walls," Pujol said. "Granted, this is not the best technology can offer, but this is cheap, and people can do it with their own hands."


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