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May 28, 2015

Immortal Guardian Free promotion and print versions available

Taking a break from the wonders of Italy for a few days, a couple of things to report and a favor to ask.

(1) Wings of the Guardian and (2) Eye of the Sphinx are FREE on Kindle through Saturday, 30 May 2015. All Kindle outlets. I've only put in the links for a few below.


DE (1) (2)
CA (1) (2)
AU (1) (2)
IN (1) (2)
UK (1) (2)

And I'm also proud to announce that there are print versions of both stories (and as part of the Kindle Matchbook program including a free ebook with purchase):

ISBN 978-1495962318


ISBN 978-1512262520


Lastly, My fantasy short story titled, Teller entered in the Inkitt EPIC Worlds short story contest. It's free to read online along with all the other fine entries.If you like it, please give it a vote with a:

Thank you and happy reading! If you'd rather give me feedback privately, just send me an email. I'd love to hear from you.

May 25, 2015

Ah, Italia! Part Three : Ground Truth

Our visit to the villages of Paganica and Onna, Italy constituted a form of 'ground truth'. The phrase used in this sense means walking the streets and making an (albeit, informal rather than scientific) photographic catalog of the damaged buildings. It was a sobering learning experience for me.

While still a doctoral student, I had the opportunity to do this just once before, a couple of months after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake (Mw 6.9) that flattened a portion of the Nimitz Freeway and was responsible for triggering mass wasting events and resulted in liquefaction in, among other places, the Marina District of San Francisco.

The city of L'Aquila, although hard hit by the 2009 earthquake (details reported in: Falcucci et al., The Paganica Fault and Surface Coseismic Ruptures Caused by the 6 April 2009 Earthquake (L'Aquila, Central Italy) Seismological Research Letters, November/December 2009, v. 80, p. 940-950) was not the only place to receive significant damage from the earthquake. Both Paganica (the earthquake was located on the Paganica fault) and Onna suffered heavy damages. Parts of Paganica and the entire village of Onna are still in an abandoned state.

Paganica, 24 April 2015



Irises flourish near the abandoned church

A small wine tavern near the entrance to the abandoned areas

The rotated war memorial.
A newly erected testimonial placed next to a war memorial
that had been rotated during the earthquake (see right).

Onna, 24 April 2015



May 13, 2015

Ah, Italia! Part Two: The Imprint of an Earthquake

Our first destination on our trip through Italy was Pescina.The main reason for our trip to participate in the Sixth INQUA Workshop on Active Tectonics, Paleoseismology, and Archeoseismology with the theme of Quaternary Geology and Paleoseismology in the Fucino and L'Aquila Basins.

Both the Fucino and L'Aquila basins are the source of devastating earthquakes with faults running parallel along the length of both basins and in the bordering Abruzzo-Appenine mountain range. The meeting commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Avezzano earthquake was located in Pescina, one of several cities destroyed by the 1915 earthquake (est. magnitude of between 6.8 and 7.0). The town still has not completely recovered.

abandoned dwellings in Pescina

As well as extensive loss of life (estimated at 30,000 casualties), much cultural tradition and diversity disappeared in the wake of the catastrophe (Galadini, personal communication).

We were privileged to be shown one of the faults close-up and personal in a trench dug specifically for the field trip which culminated the workshop.

As a geophysicist used to working mainly with remotely sensed earthquake data (seismograms) and that of other geophysical phenomena, I am usually not able to 'see' the faults well in one of these (paleoseismic) trenches. Even when a patient and knowledgeable paleoseismologist points them out to me. In this case, the clear visibility of the fault structure (accompanied by lucid explanations from Paolo Galli and Fabrizio Galadini) was astounding and obvious, even to me.

Slip on a part of the San Benedetto dei Marsi fault, amazingly clear in this trench

One of the really interesting things about the Fucino basin is that it is a drained basin. It used to be called Lake Fucino and was partially drained by the Romans (a few ruins of the drainage efforts still exist) and then again completely, in the 19th century, by an Italian prince (Torlonia) whose engineer managed the task in a mere thirteen years. The basin today is one of Italy's most fertile regions.  Off the cuff estimate by Fabrizio Galadini: without constantly maintaining the drainage, the lake would refill in about twenty years.

Panoramic view of the Fucino Basin

The interesting and intensive field trip across both basins included a visit to L'Aquila, the site of the disastrous 2009, MW 6.3 (for publications: start here, for example and here) earthquake which occurred in the early morning hours on April 6, trapping many people in their beds. The earthquake will likely continue to remain notorious not only because of the tragic loss of life but also for the legal dilemma from the botched communications that ensued just prior to the earthquake.

Stitched photo of L'Aquila Basin from above

 Unfortunately, due to time constraints, we had to leave early and could not participate in the L'Aquila tour. But we made two quick side trips before making our way to Perugia, the next stop on our trip. The towns of Paganica and Onna received extensive damage from the 2009 L'Aquila earthquake. The parts of Paganica hardest hit are still in an abandoned state. Onna is a ghost town. Some visual reminders of the calamitous remains of the towns via pictures will be presented in the next post.

Photos: Klaus-G. Hinzen

May 3, 2015

Ah, Italia!

Part I of....I don't know yet.

We just returned from our two week trip through Italy, my first real visit to the country and its culture. It was a road trip par excellence, starting in Cologne, going as far south as Pescina, where we attended a geoscience meeting (#FUCINO15). Beginning our return trip, we stopped at Paganica and Onna, two towns with extensive damage from the recent devastating earthquake (L'Aquila 2009). As we worked our way home, we stayed in Perugia, Florence (Firenza), and Piacenza.

Alps from the highway just after the Gotthard tunnel


climbing Lady Banks (?my gest guess) rose at Boboli
View from Boboli Gardens in Firenza (in the rain)

I'll be talking about parts of the trip. But as a warm-up, here is just a taste of Italy in springtime.

Wisteria everywhere in April in Italy

The reward for a hard day's work
Some kind of caterpillars

(Cercis siliquastrum) Judas tree in bloom

Looking across the fault near Pescina

Wallflower living up to its name

Irises near an abandoned church in Paganica

All the good photos by Klaus-G. Hinzen
inner courtyard of Il Magnifico's Basilica in Firenza

crossing the bridge to Firenza's center