Wednesday, April 5, 2017

New page up!

I added a new page to the sidebar with an about me section. I decided to merge one of my other blogs with this one and I will be reporting on some of my geological research. Here are a few photos of me!:

Jamie Schutmaat salmon fishing in Alaska.
Jamie Schutmaat posing in front of the moon during Friens of the Pleistocene in Tecopa Vally
Me on a rockhounding trip to Wiley's Well
Jamie Schutmaat in Antarctica

Jamie Schutmaat in Antarctica, helicopter operations.

Jamie Schutmaat in Antarctica at Mt Erebus.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Tree falls in the forest and triggers earthquake sensor

At 5am this morning I awoke to a heavy squall of weather hitting my house at Prairie Creek. It woke me up and the wind was very strong. Then immediately after I felt my whole house shake from an earthquake. The house shook pretty good but it was very short lived maybe five seconds. My house is surrounded by old growth redwoods on all sides so I immediately thought one fell nearby. I quickly checked my seismometer data from my garage seismometer and it triggered and recorded the earthquake. I then got in my car to go drive around the employee housing and campground to see if anyone was hurt. I couldn't find the tree so I knew it fell in the safety of the forest.

I Waited till sunrise to go hike and look for it and I didn't have to travel far! A monster 15 foot diameter old growth redwood! This tree had to have been over 300 feet tall!

I've got peak acceleration around 17.583 cm/sec/sec which is .17583 m/sec/sec / 9.8m/s/s = .0179g which puts it is about magnitude 4 on the modified Mercalli scale which is similar shaking to a 2.1 in moment magnitude. It is important to note that this is just a reading of ground shaking, not a measurement of energy released. It was only that intense because of the proximity of the event to the sensor. And since it was an above ground event it wouldn't have propagated too far so the shaking wouldn't be felt at greater distances.

The base of the tree.

Tree blocking the trail.

The waveform looks pretty good!

Here is a link to the seismogram:

***edit I should clarify as to why I have an earthquake sensor in my garage. I'm a geologist and work for the park during the summers at the visitors center. I host the small car battery size sensor as part of the USGS netquakes program. There is a small cloud of these sensors that help generate the shaking intensity maps that accompany a USGS earthquake report.

****Update 4-2-2017:
I had to edit the post a bit to remove the location of the tree. I also was contacted by who had some measurements of the tree from 2015. he said in his email:

"I took DBH and height measurements on that tree in September of 2015. It was notable for DBH, checking in at 18.4'. A ground-based survey indicated the tree was 265' tall. It was a spectacular tree. 18' is considered the cutoff point for notable dbh, so this was a very special tree in that regard. RIP Earthquake Tree."

I think Earthquake tree is a good name for this one. I was there today and the trail crew had already cleared the new trail. Please feel free to visit this monster tree on the Cathedral Trees trail but please do not walk off trail as it will damage the vulnerable plants on the forest floor.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Habitat Forever uncovers Humboldt County marijuana permit loophole

Amy Gustin, founder of Habitat Forever discovers new flaw in Humboldt County's marijuana permitting process and shows us what Humboldt County's threatened forests look like. In this short video she explains how out of state growers are buying up parcels and applying for illegitimate permits in order to capitalize on Humboldt County's forests and lands.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Carrie Fisher remembrance celebration in Arcata California 1/13/2017

The town of Arcata California recently held a remembrance celebration for beloved Hollywood star Carrie Fisher. The town is known for it's spirited gatherings and Friday nights celebration was no exception. The event was slated to begin at 7pm but fans and revelers started to gather around 5pm around a cordoned off area.

The Humboldt State marching Lumberjacks marching band was front and center to the action and provided the music for the celebration. Many circus performers from the Humboldt Circus joined in and performed fire dancing and acrobatic stunts for the crowd to enjoy. The whole event would have made Carrie proud of our little coastal California town.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Crescent City 1964 Tsunami photos

I was looking at some Facebook groups recently and i added a group called " If you grew up in Crescent City you remember..." and it had some 1964 Tsunami photos that i hadnt seen before. They were posted by a Mr Jim Cowley from Keizer, Oregon, and were taken by his father Dallas Cowley. I copied the comments as there are some good observations.

Here is another post by Jim. This one shows some heavy Damage to a building.

There were also some photos posted by Kim Linker. At least one of these appears to be taken in Alaska, the one in the bottom left of the panel. After a google image search these photos are known and appear to have been widely published. The comments are interesting though.

Here are the full resolution photos along with a couple others I had on my computer:


Monday, January 18, 2016

Tsunami recorded on 1/17/2016? or just bad reporting?

Around 7am this morning I noticed a weird link in my newsfeed about a tsunami warning yesterday 1/17. It comes from a fake news site that put out misleading articles for clickbait. I couldn't find any other links or sources so I decided to check the gauge myself. Sure enough there it it on DART Station 46404. The buoy itself is designed to monitor tsunamis and it did register a tsunami "event". The only problem is that this "event" was only a six cm drop in sea level. It was also in the middle of a huge thunderstorm. At this time it appears that no statement has been issued from NOAA or the USGS. It looks like the NTWC (National Tsunami Warning Center) has not issued anything on it.
Link to article

On Sunday 1/17/2016 the seas were pretty rough out there at the time in question but it appears that the buoy did record a small drop in sea level at the time. I checked the other nearby buoys and they did not trigger any event recordings but they did show some rough seas.
Event data from buoy 46404

The closest DART buoy 46407 to the south did record a bit of a discrepancy around the same time 46404 did, which is interesting but not significant. There was a large storm moving through the area and I suspect the pressure gauge was just reading the storm. The metadata indicates that

"The data are recorded in pounds per square inch absolute (PSIA), but are displayed in meters of water after applying a constant 670.0 mm of water/PSIA conversion factor."

I bet this is the source of the discrepancy. The storm was pretty big triggering flood warnings across the Pacific Northwest.

Buoy 46407 data. This shows a bit of a difference in ocean height but not much.

After reading the article more in depth the author has made a fatal error in interpreting the data:

"As of 0231:30, the initial water column height is 2738.80 Meters deep (8985.56 feet).  Two minutes and thirty seconds later, that same water column height had dropped to 2738.66 Meters deep (8985.10 feet).  Where did the four inches of water disappear to?  Answer:  The earth sunk; and continued to sink for the next several HOURS.  As you can see from the second chart above, from 0230 GMT to 0600 GMT, the ocean continued to sink to 2737.7 meters deep (8981.95 feet).  The buoy is too far away from shore to be affected by high/low tide, so where did the four feet of ocean water disappear to?"

The key phrase here is "The buoy is too far away from shore to be affected by high/low tide". This is incorrect and the buoy clearly shows the tides moving in and out. The buoy did register four inches of drop but that is not anything significant. He asserts that the ocean continued to drop another four feet. This was just the tide going out. So it appears after reviewing the data that this is a non event and just a case of bad reporting and misinterpretation of raw data....

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Sea Monster of 1883

Humboldt County is widely known for a famous single legendary creature known as Bigfoot, but many do not know that there are other monsters, myths, and legends hiding in the dark corners of the county. A good portion of these stories originate on the banks of the Klamath River and the surrounding river mouth. The local tribes along the Klamath all have stories of creatures similar to serpents, dragons, and mermaids. One such creature is the Klamath River serpent known as knewollek to the native Yurok, Hupa, and Karuk. The knewollek legend lives on today and with serpent sightings as recent as 2012, there just might be some truth to the legends. Myths often originate from real events and happenings and the stories have been exaggerated and improvised to suit the needs of the narrator. Sometimes, as is the case with the native legend of knewollek, the stories often illustrate a moral or cautionary tale, and sometimes were used to illustrate the origin of illnesses and their cures.

In the March 14, 1883 issue of the Eureka based Daily Times-Telephone and interesting story was printed in the Trinidad letter. It details a story about a couple of young boys who were fishing near camel rock and happened upon a gigantic sea serpent while they were "engaged in hauling in all members of the finny tribe" (which I can only assume is a fancy way to say they were fishing). It's head was "erect and raised fully 20 feet above the level of the ocean, while about 70 feet further his tail was seen lashing the water into a white foam". Camel rock is located just south of Trinidad head about twenty five miles south of the mouth of the Klamath River. The beast they are describing is clearly a representation of Knewollek.


Monster white sturgeon weighing 1,100 pounds caught in Canada

Sturgeon have been know to grow to huge lengths. This beast caught in Canada could have had a grandpa that lived in the Klamath river. Giant sturgeon is likely the source of at least some of the Klamath water serpent legends.