Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Earthquake observatory in Northern Chile to monitor the last seismic gap

16.03.2010
German-Chilean monitoring of high-magnitude quakes

The high-magnitude earthquake of 27.2.2010 in southern Central Chile closed one of the two remaining seismic gaps at the South American plate boundary. After the quake of Concepción, the remaining gap in the north of Chile now holds potential for a comparable strong quake and is, thus, moving more and more into the focus of attention.

The GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, has been monitoring this gap with the Integrated Plate Boundary Observatory (IPOC) in Chile since 2006. In a festive ceremony on March 15, the Chairman of the Board of the GFZ, Professor Reinhard Huettl, is handing over this Observatory to the Universidad de Chile with the seismological service of Chile and to the Universidad Catolica del Norte.

"Together with our Chilean colleagues and other partners we have developed and operated the IPOC. The transfer to the Chilean Earthquake Service will further strengthen this cooperation" explained Reinhard Huettl in Santiago de Chile. "The observatory will continue to be jointly operated, GFZ will finance the German share. The location for this observatory has obviously been very well selected, as the quake of 27 February shows. This last non-ruptured segment of the Earth's crust off the Chilean west coast is highly interesting for geosciences in the whole world". It is, however, not simply a question of earthquakes. The aim is to continuously measure all processes in connection with the dynamics of this plate boundary.

Approximately one-third of the world-wide seismic energy has discharged during the last century in earthquakes with magnitudes of over M = 8 along the South American-Pacific plate boundary. The repeat-time between two large earthquakes is shorter here than almost anywhere else on our planet.

The IPOC project investigates the area around Iquique on the South American Nazca Plate Boundary. One expects that within the next years a strong to devastating earthquake will occur in this area. Within the framework of investigations, deformation, seismicity, and magnetotelluric fields in the subduction zone will be monitored, i.e. in the periods before, between and possibly also during a quake.

The equipping of the observatory began in close collaboration with the Universidad de Chile (Santiago), the Universidad Católica del Norte (Antofagasta), the IPGP (Paris) and the GFZ (Potsdam). Professor Onno Oncken, Director of the Department "Geodynamics and Geomaterials" at the GFZ (Helmholtz Association) is coordinator of the IPOC activities and explains the construction of the observatory: "Currently the monitoring network consists of 20 seismological stations, equipped with broadband seismometers and acceleration sensors". In order to do justice to the requirements for dissolution and efficiency of the sensors and data capture, special care was given to choosing the exact location. Thus, at each station a lug of approx. 5 m deep was blown into the rock bed, in order to ensure stable site conditions for the monitoring instruments. All seismic installations are equipped with the new-generation GPS-instruments. Seven measuring points were furthermore equipped beyond that with magnetotelluric measuring instruments and serve for the measurement of electric current in the Earth's crust.

Professor Oncken has been leading research on geodynamics in the Andes since 1994. These investigations are not only of geoscientific interest. "Due to the numerous expeditions and measuring campaigns over the years in this subduction zone, the GFZ now holds the densest data set world-wide for such an area" says Onno Oncken. "When we monitor the conditions before, during and after a large quake this serves to help develop a hazard model for this and similar regions.

A strong quake in this region can have consequences for the global economy: the earthquakes here develop through the subduction of the Pacific-floor under South America. The same process also leads to the formation of ore deposits in the Earth's crust. Thus, the largest copper deposit of the world is to be found on the western boundary of the Central Andes. A strong quake could interrupt or even endanger the global supply of copper and lithium.

Illustrations in printable resolution can be found under: http://www.gfz-potsdam.de/portal/gfz/Public+Relations/M40-Bildarchiv/Bildergalerie+Chile-Erdbeben

Further information about the IPOC-Observatory is available under: http://www.ipoc-network.org

F. Ossing | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.gfz-potsdam.de
http://www.ipoc-network.org

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Heidelberg Researchers Study Unique Underwater Stalactites
24.11.2017 | Universität Heidelberg

nachricht Lightning, with a chance of antimatter
24.11.2017 | Kyoto University

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New proton record: Researchers measure magnetic moment with greatest possible precision

High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons

The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

IceCube experiment finds Earth can block high-energy particles from nuclear reactions

24.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 'half-hearted' solution to one-sided heart failure

24.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

Heidelberg Researchers Study Unique Underwater Stalactites

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>