By analysing data on the distance between consecutive earthquakes, Dr Corral has concluded that the area of influence of seismic activity could be larger than was thought until now. The result of his work has been published in Physical Review Letters.
According to Corral, this work could lead to support for the idea of long-range earthquake triggering. It has always been thought that the influence of an earthquake was restricted to the rupture zone created by the earthquake at a geological fault, but the researchers now suspect that an earthquake may produce "aftershocks" much further afield, even on the opposite side of a tectonic plate to a main shock.
The diffusion of earthquake occurrences could be like a drop of ink in water. When the ink drop is added (the type of problem usually studied in statistical physics), an ink molecule collides with the water molecules at certain moments and in certain positions; similarly, a series of earthquakes are said to appear in time and in space. However, the reality is that the characteristics of these two cases are very different.
The expansion of the ink molecules occurs on a characteristic scale: that of the ink molecules colliding with water molecules (ie, they always collide after moving a relatively set distance in a relatively set amount of time). Yet earthquakes do not spread in such a normal, regular way. The distance between one earthquake and the subsequent earthquake can be larger or smaller than in previous cases, and the variation seems to be completely arbitrary. There is no characteristic scale.
The data observed seem to imply that the boundary for the influence of earthquakes could be much further away from the epicentre than was previously thought. It is difficult to calculate this boundary, since beyond a distance of 200 kilometres, the influence of an earthquake is hard to distinguish from "background seismicity", that is, the occurrence of other, unrelated earthquakes. Dr Corral believes that more sophisticated analysis techniques could be used to overcome this problem.
The researcher has also observed that the earthquake occurrences in a certain region, such as California, could be extrapolated to the whole planet. In other words, the spatiotemporal occurrence of earthquakes in California is a scale model of what happens in the whole world. By observing this region, therefore, we are seeing a smaller version of the whole world. This shows the strange, fractal nature of seismicity, that is, that it maintains its form irrespective of its scale.
The results of this research also show that the diffusion of earthquakes does not depend on their size: small and large earthquakes spread in the same way. Therefore, small earthquakes, which are much more frequent, are the best model to use for the occurrence of larger earthquakes. This magnitude independence is anti-intuitive, and the researcher cannot yet offer any explanation for the phenomenon.
Octavi López Coronado | alfa
Sea ice extent sinks to record lows at both poles
23.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Less radiation in inner Van Allen belt than previously believed
21.03.2017 | DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory
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...
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...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
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...
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...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences
23.03.2017 | Life Sciences