When an M8.2 earthquake struck offshore of the Alaska Peninsula on July 28, the eerie sound of sirens warning of a possible tsunami sent people along the coast scrambling for higher ground. Authorities lifted the warning within a few hours, and damage from ground shaking was limited. Viewed from a broad perspective, this event was only a minor distraction, but many earthquakes that are this powerful result in major disasters.
The deep and steep-walled Rio Grande gorge in northern New Mexico is remarkable. This large gash is developing because the Earth’s crust is pulling apart, creating a linear depression, or rift, that provides a convenient location for a large river to develop. On a recent trip I admired the river -- and desert bighorn sheep.