Several large earthquakes with magnitude higher than 8 on the Richter scale have already occurred along the margins between the Nazca and South American tectonic plates, under the ocean off Ecuador and Colombia. This region is vulnerable, all the more so because since the 1980s, Ecuador’s oil export terminal is sited within it. More information is needed on this zone of extremely high seismic risk. For this reason, two scientific campaigns, “Amadeus” and “Esmeraldas” were launched on 3 February and will run until 6 April 2005.
These campaigns, conducted by the mixed research unit (UMR) Geosciences-Azur (involving the IRD, CNRS, Universities Pierre et Marie Curie and Nice Sophia-Antipolis) working jointly with the University of Bordeaux, the Marine Technology Unit of the CSIC (Higher Council for Scientific Research) at Barcelona, and its international partners: Canadian (University of Victoria, PGC), Colombian (DIMAR, EAFIT and Caldas Universities, and INGEOMINAS) and Ecuadorian (INOCAR, EPN, Petroproduction) have the objective of studying the natural hazards associated with the large subduction earthquakes, submarine avalanches and tsunamis they trigger. The ocean-going campaigns are being conducted on the IFREMER research ship Atalante.
In 1906, a strong earthquake of 8.8 magnitude shook this part of the world. It was induced by the slipping of the Nazca plate under the North Andean margin. The two plates converge at an average rate of 5.5 cm/year. The slipping is expressed as a fracture zone about 500 km long. Reactivation occurred by earthquakes in 1942, 1958 and 1979, of magnitude 7.7 to 8.2, which provoked large tsunamis and submarine sediment slides.
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Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
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A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
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Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), and the Instituto Geofisico--Escuela Politecnica Nacional (IGEPN) of Ecuador, showed an increasing volcanic danger on Cotopaxi in Ecuador using a powerful technique known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR).
The Andes region in which Cotopaxi volcano is located is known to contain some of the world's most serious volcanic hazard. A mid- to large-size eruption has...
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