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Earthquake on Land, Trinidad, December 21 2008

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Posted by: Karl Ramjohn

From: Seismic Research Centre, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago

Sources: Update: Earthquake on land Trinidad , Earthquake East of Trinidad

On Sunday 21st December an earthquake occurred near east Trinidad at 8:55am local time. The revised location for the event is 10.77°N 61.46°W.

The revised magnitude is 4.3 and the focal depth was 40km. 

The map shows the location of the earthquake.

The earthquake was reported as felt in Westmoorings, Cocorite, Port of Spain, St. Augustine, Arouca, Arima, Chaguanas, San Fernando and Princes Town in Trinidad. This earthquake occurred within the same general area as the 2006 earthquake sequence.



Earthquake Northwest of Trinidad, Nov.28.2008

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Posted by: Karl Ramjohn

From: Seismic Research Centre, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago

Source: Earthquake northwest of Trinidad

On Friday, 28th November at 12:18a.m. local time, an earthquake occurred north of the Paria Peninsula near Trinidad.

The preliminary location for the event is 10.84°N 62.23°W.

The earthquake was of magnitude 4.0 and the focal depth was 84km.

Please note that these results are preliminary and may vary slightly when additional data is processed.

Mud Volcanoes Erupt in Santa Flora, Southern Trinidad (Trinidad & Tobago)

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Submitted by: Karl Ramjohn

Link to article …> Mud volcanoes erupt in Santa Flora | Trinidad and Tobago’s Newsday : : 

By Cecily Asson, October 26, 2008 

An unexpected early morning volcanic eruption in an oilfield area in Santa Flora sent about 100 villagers including several children scampering out of their homes to safety. Many of them have since fled their homes and are now seeking shelter at relatives’ homes until a disaster relief shelter at Los Bajos is fully prepared. Up to Press time, mud continued spewing several feet into the air from two large craters lying in close proximity to a pumping jack in the Los Bajos Field located at Francis Trace. The erupting mud was accompanied by the strong scent of methane gas. Long time residents of the area told Newsday this was the first time that the area ever experienced a volcanic eruption and that there were never any signs of activity to cause concern. Shocked villagers said they were awakened by a loud rumble yesterday morning and later discovered that a flat piece of grassy land on which they had walked and played the day before had been transformed into two mud volcanoes. There were reports of similar activity at smaller type craters in the neighbouring Wadell Village and up to late yesterday officials were said to be monitoring the situation.


Mud Volcano Erupts in Santa Flora | The Trinidad Guardian -Online Edition Ver 2.0 

Mud volcanoes in Trinidad – The Geological Society of Trinidad and Tobago 


Further Notes [Ramjohn 2003, Ramjohn 2004] 

The occurrence of several mud volcanoes is considered to be a significant geological feature of South Trinidad. Mud volcanoes develop from natural gas emissions along fault-fracture trends and are characterized by conical vents, flows of mud and periodic eruptions. The mud flows form due to the presence of trapped hydrocarbons under supranormal pressures in underlying rocks. Mud volcanoes associated with the Southern Anticline of Trinidad are present at Islote, Anglais Point, Palo Seco, Chagonaray, Coora, the Los Iros Coastal Mud Mound, and the Chatham Mud Island. The Erin Group of mud volcanoes has at least 12 eruptive centres located close to the coastal area from Palo Seco to Los Iros. The periodicity of activity related to these mud flows is highly variable. For example in the marine area immediately south of this recent event (October 2008), a temporary island of mud occassionally forms in the sea at the Chatham Mud Island (off Erin Point in the Columbus Channel). This is related to the activity of mud volcanoes in the nearshore area and has occurred four times over the past 100 years – in 1911, 1928, 1964 and 2001. An event which occurred at Point Radix off the South East coast of Trinidad in July 2007 is also believed to have been related to mud volcano activity (along offshore extension of the Manzanilla Fault). Note, however, that these mud volcanoes are not associated with “normal” volcanic activity, which occurs throughout the island arc of the Eastern Caribbean. 

Notes Source: 

Karl Ramjohn 2003. “Mud Volcanoes of South Trinidad”. In Environmental Sensitivity Atlas Volume II: Southeast and South Coasts of Trinidad. On behalf of BHP Billiton (Trinidad-2C) Ltd as part of oil spill contingency plan for Greater Angostura Field Development, Offshore Block 2(c); Study Manager / Primary Author. March – June 2003; September 2003 

Karl Ramjohn 2004. “Mud Volcanoes”. In Environmental Impact Assessment for Proposed Exploration Drilling, Production and Maintenance Operations: South Quarry Farmout Block, Santa Flora. On behalf of Los Bajos Oil Ltd to support Certificate of Environmental Clearance (CEC) Application. Principal Consultant (EIA Process). May – August 2003; April 2004.

Magma Energy – Feasible since 1982 !?

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Submitted by: Karl Ramjohn


This is a report that was published in 1982, representing research from the late 1970’s – i.e. during the previous “energy crisis” when the elevated oil prices had created much interest in the field of alternative / renewable energy (like in the present). This is one of the many initiatives that seems to have been forgotten when the oil prices crashed in the mid-80’s, but it is very interesting to read from the perspective of our present circumstances…

John L. Colp. 1982. Final Report – Magma Energy Research Project. Sandia National Laboratories, U.S. Department of Energy; 42 pp.

Link to report: Information Bridge: DOE Scientific and Technical Information – Sponsored by OSTI


  • The DOE-funded, 7-yr research project conducted by Sandia National Laboratories to assess the scientific feasibility of extracting energy directly from buried magma sources in the upper 10 km of the earth’s crust have been completed successfully.
  • Two methods of generating gaseous fuels in the high-temperature magmatic environment – generation of hydrogen by the interaction of water with ferrous iron, and hydrogen, methane and carbon monoxide generation by the conversion of water-biomass mixtures – have been investigated and show promise.
  • Scientific feasibility (the demonstration, by means of theoretical calculations and supporting laboratory and field measurements, that there are no known insurmountable theoretical or physical barriers which invalidate a concept or process) was demonstrated for the concept of magma energy extraction.
  • The US magma resource is estimated at 50,000 to 500,000 quads of energy – a 700- to 7,000 year supply at the current US total energy use rate of 75 quads per year.
  • Existing geophysical exploration systems are believed to be capable of locating and defining magma bodies and were demonstrated over a known shallow buried molten-rock body. Drilling rigs that can drill to the depths required to tap magma are currently available and experimental boreholes were drilled into buried molten rock at temperatures up to 1100 °C.
  • Engineering materials compatible with the buried magma environment are available and their performances were demonstrated in analog laboratory experiments
  • Studies show that energy can be extracted at attractive rates from magma resources in all petrologic compositions and physical configurations.
  • Downhole heat extraction equipment was designed, built and demonstrated successfully in buried molten rock and in the very hot margins surrounding it.
  • Two methods of generating gaseous fuels in the high temperature magmatic environment – generation of hydrogen by the interaction of water with ferrous iron, and hydrogen, methane and carbon monoxide generation by the conversion of water-biomass mixtures – have been investigated and show promise.