Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New Research Reveals Hidden Earthquake Trouble Spots

08.11.2006
A team from the University of Leicester has used a powerful laser mounted on an aircraft to uncover earthquake fault lines that are hidden by forest cover and never before seen by earth scientists.

The 2005 Kashmir earthquake was a terrifying example of how faults in mountainous regions that pose serious seismic hazards can go unnoticed because they are hidden by forest cover and thus are not easily identified.

Now the scientists from the Departments of Geology and Geography at the University of Leicester in the UK have developed a technique that can be used in mountainous terrain to virtually deforest the landscape and reveal details of the forest floor topography, including the traces of active faults.

The scientists have pioneered use of the laser probe to map active fault systems in Europe and made the first ever use of the technique to survey high-relief alpine landscapes.

The Leicester team has demonstrated that airborne LiDAR (an acronym for light detection and ranging – essentially a powerful laser mounted on an aircraft), can detect traces of active faults.

Dr Dickson Cunningham in the Department of Geology and Dr Kevin Tansey in the Department of Geography collaborated on a NERC funded project to map the distribution of recently active earthquake-prone faults in the southeastern Alps in Slovenia.

Their key research results are now published in the latest issue of Geophysical Research Letters. The work was further supported by a Masters student in Geography, Mr. Stephen Grebby.

Dr Cunningham said: “Locating earthquake-prone faults in forested mountainous regions and understanding the potential seismic hazard they pose to local population centres has always been a problem to geoscientists.

“Many regions of the world have undiscovered seismically active faults hidden by dense forests, including Indonesia, India, NW North America, all Andean nations and the alpine countries of Europe. Unfortunately for people living in these regions, these faults can be ticking time bombs.

“We have demonstrated that airborne LiDAR can be used in mountainous terrain to virtually deforest the landscape and reveal details of the forest floor topography, including the traces of active faults.”

Dr Cunningham reports that the research involved collaborative efforts with Slovenian geoscientists and InfoTerra, a global geo-information supplier based in Leicester.

The topographic images derived from LiDAR data of two major plate boundary faults, the Idrija and Ravne strike-slip faults in Slovenia, reveal geomorphological and structural features that shed light on the overall architecture and movement history of both fault systems.

He added: “For the first time, we are able to see how the faults connect at the surface and cut the landscape. This allows us to assess whether the faults are likely to produce large earthquakes or small events in the future. The images also allow efficient identification of sites suitable for detailed fault analysis to calculate the recurrence interval of major earthquakes and make probabilistic estimates of the timing and magnitude of the next major earthquake.“

A field excursion in August 2006 verified the remote observations. Dr Tansey said: “As we trekked through the forest we found overwhelming evidence for previous fault activity, never before seen by earth scientists. We are now building on our initial results with follow-up research and have established the UK’s first inter-disciplinary LiDAR research unit here at Leicester with support from the Ordnance Survey and the British Geological Survey.”

| alfa
Further information:
http://www.le.ac.uk/geography/research/unit_llru.html

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie

nachricht Modeling magma to find copper
13.01.2017 | Université de Genève

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A big nano boost for solar cells

18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Glass's off-kilter harmonies

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>