Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists design the first map of active faults in the Gibraltar Arc to prevent earthquakes

06.02.2008
Africa and Europe get about 4 mm closer every year in a northeast convergence direction. The exact position and geometry of the boundary between the African and Eurasian plates is unknown, but it is located near the Gibraltar Arc — an area of intense seismic activity which was not studied deeply until now.

A group of researchers from the Andalusian Institute for Earth Sciences (CSIC) and the Department of Geodynamics of the University of Granada described for the first time the physical and mechanical properties of the uppermost part of the Earth’s crust — to a depth of 30 km which is where the highest magnitude earthquakes occur. This study has made it possible to establish the exact position of the active faults of the Gibraltar Arc area which cause earthquakes, thus obtaining valuable geological information which could help determine the areas in which earthquakes are most likely to occur.

The author of this study is Fermín Fernández Ibáñez, whose doctoral thesis Sismicidad, reología y estructura térmica de la corteza del Arco de Gibraltar (Seismicity, reology and thermal structure of the Gibraltar Arc crust) was directed by researchers Juan Ignacio Soto Hermoso and José Molares Soto. This study, which was carried out within the CSIC project entitled The Gibraltar Arc System: Active Geodynamic Processes in the South-Iberian Margins (SAGAS), made the most comprehensive radiography so far in the faults of the Alboran Sea, the westernmost portion of the Mediterranean Sea.

The researchers characterised a region of intense deformation in which the relative movement of blocks is caused by left-lateral strike-slip faults known as “the Transalboran fault system,” which expands from Murcia (Spain) to Alhucemas (Morocco). The other significant fault of the Gibraltar Arc area, which crosses the Transalboran fault perpendicularly, is called Nerja-Yusuf and goes from Málaga (Spain) to the Algerian coast.

Study of oil wells

Fernández and Soto assure that the south of the Iberian Peninsula and the north of Africa are very similar in geology. In order to characterise the way the Gibraltal Arc is being deformed due to pushing plates, the researchers studied oil wells, analysing the disfigurations caused by these forces.

This doctoral thesis could help to prevent natural disasters like the one that occurred in Indonesia in 2004, when a tsunami killed more than 300,000 people and flooded entire cities. In any case, researcher Fernández stated that although the Gibraltar Arc is an area of intense seismic activity and the movements of the faults could produce tsunamis, it is almost impossible that such a phenomenon would occur.

In addition, the study conducted at UGR related for the first time the temperature of the Earth’s crust to its seismic activity, thus determining that the probability of earthquakes is significantly lower in areas of higher temperature. Therefore, the western area of Sierra Nevada and Alhucemas (which are located within the Gibraltar Arc) is the area in which most earthquakes occur due to low temperatures in the Earth’s crust, while the area of Almería (Spain) and the eastern area of the Alboran Sea will probably experience fewer seismic movements.

Results from this interesting study were published in renowned scientific journals like the Journal of Geophysical Research or Tectonics. The research group in which researchers Fernández and Soto participate is a member of Topo-Iberia, an important project which aims at creating an unprecedented temporal seismic broadband net in Spain, composed by a minimum of 80 seismic stations 50-60 km apart and which will have simultaneous and homogenous coverage in different regions. Furthermore, Topo-Iberia will create the biggest Spanish GPS net ever created.

Antonio Marín Ruiz | alfa
Further information:
http://prensa.ugr.es/prensa/research/verNota/prensa.php?nota=465

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past
28.04.2017 | National Science Foundation

nachricht Citizen science campaign to aid disaster response
28.04.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>