“This earthquake is the fifth largest megathrust earthquake to be recorded,” said Roecker, professor of earth and environmental sciences at Rensselaer. “As such, it presents scientists with an unprecedented opportunity to study the aftershocks and related geologic phenomena.”
The research is funded by a Rapid Response Research (RAPID) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
The aftershocks, which range from minor vibrations to substantial earthquakes such as the 6.9-magnitude aftershock that occurred on March 11, could go on for more than a year following an earthquake of this magnitude, according to Roecker. The array of seismometers to be installed over the next several weeks will record all seismic activity along a 500-kilometer zone stretching south of the city of Santiago.
“We are looking to capture as much seismic activity as we can,” he said. “What geophysicists know is that the Earth does substantial readjusting right after an earthquake, so quick monitoring in the aftermath is essential. Seeing these geologic modifications in real time gives us the chance to study the normally slow physical changes that occur under the earth extremely fast. We can acquire a wealth of knowledge on some of the most basic, million-year processes of the Earth in a few months.”
The scientists can also start to pull together important clues about what exactly occurred under the earth in Chile on Feb. 27, Roecker said.
The overall goal of the project is to produce an open source of data on the earthquake for a large range of existing scientific projects. Some potential uses for the important data include studies on the potential for other earthquakes in the region, the development of seismic images of the fault zone and how that is changing over time, the identification of stress patterns in the surrounding portions of the fault zone, and comparisons between other active geologic zones in the world.
“A large earthquake was not unexpected in Chile. But, what we already know is that the exact location of this earthquake was a bit unexpected,” Roecker said. “The northern portion of this fault was expected to slip first. The fact that the southern portion was the part to rupture leads to many questions about the additional strain that has accumulated at the already tenuous edges to the north.” The data being provided by the research excursion could provide important clues about the stability at the edges of seismic zone.
Roecker and members of the team expect to return to Chile several times over the next six months to continue their studies and equipment setup. He hopes that Rensselaer students will have the opportunity to travel with him on these future trips.
Roecker, who is also an active teacher at Rensselaer, focuses his research on the gathering and analysis of geophysical data. He utilizes information from seismometers as well as Global Position Systems (GPS) and studies of gravity to learn how the earth moves over time. His research takes him frequently to Tibet and Central Asia. He began a partnership with scientists in Chile more than 20 years ago and most recently received a Fulbright scholarship to continue his study of the subsurface geology in the country.
Gabrielle DeMarco | Newswise Science News
Predicting unpredictability: Information theory offers new way to read ice cores
07.12.2016 | Santa Fe Institute
Sea ice hit record lows in November
07.12.2016 | University of Colorado at Boulder
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine
07.12.2016 | Life Sciences
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine