Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Durham scientist explores Sichuan fault

14.08.2008
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:
http://www.durham.ac.uk

Further reports about: Earthquake pipelines quake zone tectonic blocks

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Six-decade-old space mystery solved with shoebox-sized satellite called a CubeSat
15.12.2017 | National Science Foundation

nachricht NSF-funded researchers find that ice sheet is dynamic and has repeatedly grown and shrunk
15.12.2017 | National Science Foundation

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>