Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Durham scientist explores Sichuan fault

Durham University expert, Alex Densmore, is to explore the fault lines that caused the May 12th earthquake in China that killed 69,000 people.

Dr. Densmore, Director of Hazards Research at the Institute of Hazard and Risk Research at Durham University, is the first UK scientist to visit the region to research the faults and the effects and causes of the Sichuan earthquake since the disaster.

Dr. Densmore said: “We’ll be looking at the effects of the earthquake on the ground and for evidence of what actually happened during the earthquake. We’ll be looking very closely at how the tectonic blocks actually moved in relation to each other.

“Much of what actually happens during earthquakes is difficult to view because it occurs deep below the surface. By looking at the way in which roads, pipelines, rivers and other man-made markers are affected, we can map out how the earth moved, what faults were responsible, and what kind of activity we might expect in future events.”

Dr. Densmore leaves for China on Wednesday 13th August and will be working alongside colleagues from Shell UK Ltd, the Chengdu University of Technology, and the Seismological Bureau of Sichuan Province. The research team will study:

1/ which faults were active during the earthquake and what actually happened;
2/ how the tectonic blocks are moving relative to each other in this part of the India-Asia collision; and

3/ what is expected to happen in the future the next time an earthquake happens

It is thought that two main faults were involved in the May 12 earthquake, out of four or five active faults in that part of China. At least 22,000 aftershocks, measuring up to 6.9 in magnitude, have been monitored in the quake zone, according to the China Earthquake Administration.

Dr. Densmore said: “Aftershocks are expected after every large earthquake and this has been no exception. Earthquakes release stress where they occur, but they also cause increased stress in the surrounding rock, and this additional pressure has to be released. Peak aftershock activity is generally in the first few days after the main quake, and the number and size of aftershocks decreases rapidly after that.”

18,000 people are still officially missing and a further 374,000 people have been classified as injured following the Sichuan disaster. Beichuan town has been completely evacuated following the earthquake. The Chinese authorities are looking at building a whole new town for the former residents.

Dr. Densmore said: “We are conscious of being as sensitive as possible while working in this area. There is still a lot of recovery work going on and there are obvious long-term infrastructural problems. We hope to be able to visit the town of Beichuan which was decimated by the earthquake, but this will depend very much on the local authorities. We’re very thankful to the Sichuan provincial government for granting us access to the earthquake zone at such a critical time.

The location of the active faults is crucial. We want to see if the faults that we’ve previously mapped were activated during the earthquake, or if the quake occurred along a new set of faults. Knowing where the active faults lie, and how much they are likely to move in future events, can help the Chinese authorities in planning new buildings and towns to reduce the likelihood of future casualties.“

Dr. Alex Densmore’s research in China is funded by The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

Alex Thomas | alfa
Further information:

Further reports about: Earthquake pipelines quake zone tectonic blocks

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht UCI and NASA document accelerated glacier melting in West Antarctica
26.10.2016 | University of California - Irvine

nachricht Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere
25.10.2016 | American Geophysical Union

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>