EARTH Magazine: How earthquakes affect the upper atmosphere

Travels with the Blonde Coyote

The June 2014 issue of EARTH The June 2014 issue of EARTH

As many of you know, I don’t just write for fun. This is also how I make my living! If you’re curious about my science writing, my latest story for EARTH magazine, on how earthquakes affect the upper atmosphere, just went live. This is one of my favorite pieces I’ve written for EARTH lately, where I usually cover the geophysics beat – think earthquakes, plate tectonics and volcanoes.

On Jan. 12, 2010, a magnitude-7 earthquake rocked Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, destroying much of the city and killing more than 200,000 people. Satellite records of atmospheric electron activity high above the island reveal an unusual pattern of behavior in the ionosphere in the months leading up to the quake — information that could be used in the future to forewarn of major earthquakes.

Scientists have long known that some minerals — quartz, for example…

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