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 Long-distance travels complicate conservation of migratory birds
23.10.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

nachricht Mineral discoveries in the Galapagos Islands pose a puzzle as to their formation and origin
19.10.2018 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: memory-steel - a new material for the strengthening of buildings

A new building material developed at Empa is about to be launched on the market: "memory-steel" can not only be used to reinforce new, but also existing concrete structures. When the material is heated (one-time), prestressing occurs automatically. The Empa spin-off re-fer AG is now presenting the material with shape memory in a series of lectures.

So far, the steel reinforcements in concrete structures are mostly prestressed hydraulically. This re-quires ducts for guiding the tension cables, anchors for...

Im Focus: Goodbye, silicon? On the way to new electronic materials with metal-organic networks

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz (Germany) together with scientists from Dresden, Leipzig, Sofia (Bulgaria) and Madrid (Spain) have now developed and characterized a novel, metal-organic material which displays electrical properties mimicking those of highly crystalline silicon. The material which can easily be fabricated at room temperature could serve as a replacement for expensive conventional inorganic materials used in optoelectronics.

Silicon, a so called semiconductor, is currently widely employed for the development of components such as solar cells, LEDs or computer chips. High purity...

Im Focus: Storage & Transport of highly volatile Gases made safer & cheaper by the use of “Kinetic Trapping"

Augsburg chemists present a new technology for compressing, storing and transporting highly volatile gases in porous frameworks/New prospects for gas-powered vehicles

Storage of highly volatile gases has always been a major technological challenge, not least for use in the automotive sector, for, for example, methane or...

Im Focus: Disrupting crystalline order to restore superfluidity

When we put water in a freezer, water molecules crystallize and form ice. This change from one phase of matter to another is called a phase transition. While this transition, and countless others that occur in nature, typically takes place at the same fixed conditions, such as the freezing point, one can ask how it can be influenced in a controlled way.

We are all familiar with such control of the freezing transition, as it is an essential ingredient in the art of making a sorbet or a slushy. To make a cold...

Im Focus: Micro energy harvesters for the Internet of Things

Fraunhofer IWS Dresden scientists print electronic layers with polymer ink

Thin organic layers provide machines and equipment with new functions. They enable, for example, tiny energy recuperators. In future, these will be installed...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

Conference to pave the way for new therapies

17.10.2018 | Event News

Berlin5GWeek: Private industrial networks and temporary 5G connectivity islands

16.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Weighing planets and asteroids

23.10.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Fiber-based quantum communication - Interference of photons using remote sources

23.10.2018 | Information Technology

'Mushrooms' and 'brushes' help cancer-fighting nanoparticles survive in the body

23.10.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>