Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Trapped water cause of regular tremors under Vancouver Island

05.01.2009
University of British Columbia researchers are offering the first compelling evidence to explain regular tremors under Vancouver Island.

The Cascadia megathrust fault, named for its massive but infrequent earthquakes, runs along the length of North America's western coast from northern Vancouver Island to northern California and is the boundary between two of the Earth's tectonic plates.

An area on the fault line – approximately 35 kilometres under Vancouver Island – has also seen surprisingly regular "slips," accompanied by small tremors – roughly every 14 months. The last tremors recorded in this area were in May and lasted for about month, although none were strong enough to be felt by humans.

Megathrust fault lines in the region where episodic tremors occur are structurally weak and prone to slip and slide, but until now scientists have been unable to explain why. In a study published in today's edition of the journal Nature, UBC researchers Pascal Audet, Michael Bostock, Nicolas Christensen and Simon Peacock demonstrate how water trapped in a portion of the fault area escapes periodically after pressure build-up, which in turn lubricates the tectonic plates and causes them to slip and slide.

"Scientists have offered different theories but this is the first detailed glimpse at the geological mechanics beneath the island," says lead author Audet, who conducted the study as a PhD student at UBC's Dept. of Earth and Ocean Sciences.

"While scientists are still a long way away from being able to predict earthquakes, this study brings us one step closer towards understanding the physical state of the megathrust fault and the earthquake cycle as a whole," says Audet, now a Miller Research Fellow at the University of California at Berkeley.

"Additional sensors on the Island, or expanding the sensor array into the waters west of Vancouver Island, could help researchers determine whether fault properties change over time, and where changes are most significant along the fault line," says Peacock, UBC Dean of Science and an expert in subduction zone areas, where tectonic plates dive into the Earth's mantle triggering great earthquakes and explosive volcanism.

Pascal Audet | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.berkeley.edu

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

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.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

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.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Gold shines through properties of nano biosensors

17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Greenland ice flow likely to speed up: New data assert glaciers move over sediment, which gets more slippery as it gets wetter

17.08.2017 | Earth Sciences

Mars 2020 mission to use smart methods to seek signs of past life

17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>