Monday, October 22, 2012

Episode 133 (10-22-12): Riverbed Research on Earthquakes

Please see below (after the transcript and show notes) for links to news and upcoming events.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of October 22, 2012.

This week, we get an introduction to the work of College of William and Mary geologist Chuck Bailey and student John Hollis, who are studying rocks along the North Anna River in central Virginia for clues to the history of ancient earthquakes and to where future quakes may occur.  Have a listen for about two minutes to this excerpt from the College’s video, “Looking for earthquakes: from the riverbed to the research lab.”


The Fall Line, or falls zone, along Virginia’s rivers helped shape the history of human settlement in the Commonwealth.  Through modern scientific study of Fall Line geology and chemistry, this distinctive geographic feature now is helping shape our understanding of the much older history of earthquakes in eastern Virginia.  Thanks to the College of William and Mary for permission to use this week’s sounds.

For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  From the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

 Figure: Blue shading indicates the Atlantic Coastal Plain, with its western edge marked by the Fall Line, or fall zone, the region in which the William and Mary earthquake research on the North Anna River is being conducted.  In Virginia, the Fall Line approximately follows Interstate 95.  Source: “Design, Revisions, and Considerations for Continued Use of a Ground-Water-Flow Model of the Coastal Plain Aquifer System in Virginia,” by E. Randolph McFarland, U.S. Geological Survey Water Resources Investigations Report WRIR 98-4085, accessed 10/22/12 online at

Acknowledgments: This week’s sounds were excerpted from the video “Looking for earthquakes: from the riverbed to the research lab” (approximately four minutes), produced by David Williard, College of William and Mary Office of University Relations, June 22, 2012; accessed online at (see under “Scholarship/Research”); used with permission.

Sources and more information: A U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) “live chat” video (about 28 minutes) on eastern U.S. earthquakes, held three days after the August 23, 2011, earthquake centered in Virginia, is available online at

A USGS report, “One Year Anniversary: Magnitude 5.8 Virginia Earthquake”, by Jessica Robertson, 8/22/12, is available online at

Recent Virginia Water News
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Water Meetings and Other Events
            For events related to Virginia's water resources, please visit the Quick Guide to Virginia Water–related Conferences, Workshops, and Other Events, online at  The site includes a list of Virginia government policy and regulatory meetings occurring in the coming week.