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 Sea ice extent sinks to record lows at both poles
23.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Less radiation in inner Van Allen belt than previously believed
21.03.2017 | DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

When Air is in Short Supply - Shedding light on plant stress reactions when oxygen runs short

23.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Researchers use light to remotely control curvature of plastics

23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Sea ice extent sinks to record lows at both poles

23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>